Ultimately, I think I am headed to a position where most of the planning of marketing will stay in the hands of the marketers, but some (or much) of the execution of marketing will take place in the hands of non-marketers.
Because, if you want to find the exploit the opportunities that will present themselves (as I touched on in part 2) and rapidly exploit them to try and create the viral forest fires (part 1), then you will need to empower others to act rapidly on behalf of your firm.
This could be Raving Fans, of course, as in the case of Community Driven Marketing, but for now, let’s focus on employees of your company.
The big concern and question that people have (both as it relates to fans and employees) is: “how do I maintain a consistent look for my brand?”
The answer is: you don’t necessarily need to.
Somehow, over time, we’ve come to associate the look of a brand with the experience of the brand. These are not the same things.
The brand is an ephemeral feeling which sums up the aggregate experiences which sit behind it. The visuals evoke that feeling, but don’t determine that feeling.
Olivier Blanchard had a post a while back where he quoted Jack Spade (of Kate Spade) from a Fast Company article about brand advice. Of the five, the one I latched onto was:
3. Brand consistency is overrated.
The brand doesn’t have to look the same, but it has to feel the same. An element of newness and surprise is important for any brand.
My friend, Mike Bonifer, author of the book Game Changers (review here), reminds us that in a networked economy, brands are “improvisations.”
This is a HUGE paradigm shift, since for so long, we have been brainwashed (almost) to think of brands as images that are force-fed to us via advertising and we have a really difficult time imagining a scenario where the look of the brand isn’t consistent.
But, take it down to the micro level, the Global Micro Brand level, that is.
You have a personal brand that has many different parts.
You might be a marketer, an athlete, a bassoonist, a dancer, whatever…
You don’t always wear the same outfit, do you?
Sometimes your hair is neatly combed and sometimes, you just put on a baseball cap.
The look of your brand varies.
BUT, the feel of your brand (for the most part) is consistent. It’s you.
Your company is the same.
I’m not minimizing the massive shift in thinking and execution that is required in order to make this adjustment, but I think it’s coming. Frankly, I’m not sure what it looks like or how to fully explain it (which is part of the reason why I’m blogging it…to get your feedback.)
If, however, we can provide that vision to our employees/vendors/fans about what the "feel” of the brand should be and then empower them to experiment with various “looks” themselves, I suspect we’ll have more dandelion seeds out there…which will lead to more chances that your brand story will go viral (also in part 1).
That viral leads to breadth of customer awareness, to attention and the attention can be monetized.