Are you ready to open?

If so, we've put together a strategic framework that capitalizes on both the social web's traits and technologies and the icitizenry's power to be both medium and message.

Two trends in particular anchor the open brand framework:
  • The first is the emergence of consumer notoriety through the increased visibility of individuals -- as data, as consumer profiles, as artists or entrepreneurs no longer reliant upon paid third parties to be "known" to the world. This is in contrast to what historically has been relative consumer anonymity with regard to brands and the world.
  • The second is the emergence of creative production, the opposite of simple, uncritical consumption. This is evidenced by the dazzling array of engaging online activities that few twentieth century consumers enjoyed.
These two trends are on their way to becoming macrotrends whose impact will be felt beyond the digital universe. When we cast them as x- and y-axes on a grid, they frame four types of essential and interconnected consumer experiences -- on-demand, personal, engaging and networked. Optimizing these consumer experiences in alignment with a brand's business objectives constitutes the way to open up to a web-made world.

Mapping this quartet of consumer experiences across the landscape of the social web also helps brands move away from the single, all-things-to-all-consumers "consumer experience" that makes brands seem closed and boxed in by their own rigid, often analog standards.

The On-Demand Experience is inspired by the digital competence-seeking icitizen -- that time-starved consumer who views the internet as a life management tool and prefers relative anonymity as she seeks speed to information and task completion. This experience is characterized by efficiency, ease, control, findability and instantaneousness.

The Personal Experience takes its inspiration from the more celebrity-minded icitizen, who would expect a brand to foster a relationship with her. Within this experience, the brand enables individualized interaction, caters to her preferences and boosts her ability to influence others -- and be recognized for doing so. This experience is characterized by acknowledgement, dialogue, customization, privilege and popularity.

The Engaging Experience takes its cues from the collectively-motivated icitizens who want to be diverted and engrossed, and who develop an emotional attachment to brands that provide the means and occasions to shore up their social identities. An engaging experience satisfies consumers' desires to do more than acquire or observe. This experience is characterized by participation, belonging, immersion, entertainment and inspiration.

The Networked Experience is inspired by icitizens driven to effect cultural change, and who would expect a brand to do the same, primarily by engaging the social web's nodes of sharing and its seemingly limitless, unencumbered and portable paths to opportunity and innovation. The networked experience is valuable to those seeking creative and influential interactions, and would appeal to both the individual icitizen and icitizen communities. It also recognizes those icitizens' sense of entitlement about cocreating the brand's messages and offerings. The earmarks of the networked experience are self-expression, ego gratification, portability, community and meaningful change.

While the networked and personal experiences are shaped by the motivations of the elite icitizens, who are in fact a small portion of the icitizenry, the influence of these individuals is relatively greater because they're the new tastemakers -- opinionated, passionate and iconoclastic. They shape improved experiences for everyday icitizens and even the rest of the online population because they're the de facto standard-bearers for open branding.

Copyright © 2008 by Resource Interactive