WPP and MillwardBrown have just come out with the 7th annual BrandZ™ analysis of the Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands for 2012. It’s 100+ pages, chockablock full of delectable insights: what’s hot where, who’s cooling down and where the smart money goes next.
I’ve only just started my study of the study, but I want to linger for a moment on the report’s Take Away #10:
TECHNOLOGY: In almost any category, technology seems to be at the center of the conversation.
Technology might make things cheaper and more powerful. It may speed things up or slow them down enough for the human eye to perceive. It may translate, calculate, triangulate and over-communicate. But what technology is mostly doing is letting the customer drive.
So that customer shopping for a birthday present in Home Depot doesn’t have to guess anymore which cordless drill is the best buy for the money. Fire up the ol’ smartphone and browse through the thousands of reviews waiting there. And if Home Depot doesn’t carry that best brand — or if Lowe’s has it on sale this week? The customer knows all.
And that customer who listens to Pandora’s Broadway Tunes channel for hours in her dorm room? Now that channel rides in the passenger seat on every trip, thanks to her Ford’s onboard internet. Not much need anymore for local radio, with geo-located weather and traffic reports a touch or voice-command away. The customer gets only what she wants, exactly when she wants it.
Which bank is going to let me charge dinner directly to my virtual wallet? When is my library going to invite me to a discussion with folks who are reading the same book I am? Which apparel company is going to ask me how my jeans are holding up — and whether I need the same pair in black? Which tax-preparation firm is going to collect my receipts and compile my return all year long?
It’s likely that all these things — and better, more useful things — are already happening.
You don’t have to be one of the 100 Most Valuable Global Brands to ask: What tools can you develop today that allow the customer to tell you exactly how to custom-fit your service to his needs? With a relationshp like that, shouldn’t you be able to win his business for life?