As I write this branding continues to change at a rate faster than the average cheetah can keep up with. Digital is the buzzword floating around my office at the moment, but I'm personally seeing this less as a complete direction change and more as the space in which brands now live and interact with consumers in. It's a natural progression versus a radical departure from most agencies core competencies.
Where real change is happening is communication. Branding has moved from yelling into a crowd and seeing who listens, to opening up the forum floor to anyone who wants to speak. For the uninitiated this can be quite intimidating. Transparency has taken on the true meaning of the word as regulation, within reason, is often perceived as a negative influence to the participation process.
But this is the change that every brand must embrace. Negativity is productive. Change is good. Opinions are wanted. As Microsoft's Mich Mathews stated, brands have moved into the 'Era of Customer Participation', a business space where brands must be able to organically adapt to an ever changing landscape. Successful brands must open direct channels to consumers and ask them 'Let us know how we can help you more, because this is your brand as much as ours'.
Social and rich interactive media solutions open up a new world of possibilities to both consulting and creative people. Speaking a differentiated message consistently at all touchpoints? The tradition. Providing a vehicle for consumers to shape, create and fulfill an untapped need? The change.