Living This Branded Life: The Opportunities and Pitfalls for Brands as Facebook leads the charge on branded verbs

This_branded_life_adidasthe evolution of the brand as demonstrated by adidas: branded products, adverts, content, conversations and now living

in the beginning was the thing.  and so that we could determine origin and provenance of the thing, there was the branded thing.  very soon after that businesses wanted to tell people about their things so they made ads, which were often of 30 seconds duration.  in time this branded content became as long as a movie, or even a permanent experiential space from which you could buy the product.  and then, at some point near the start of the 21st Century a curious thing happened.  brands went a step further and started branding our lives.

social media and brands go together like cookies and cream.  its impossible to discuss one without the other.  and so it was no surprise that amidst all the announcements of gestures and timelines and apps at facebook’s f8 developer conference – one of the biggest questions to emerge is what does this all mean for brands?

a cracking summary by Lucio Dias Ribiero of social media agency The Online Circle on Mumbrella noted that there are three main developments: (1) gestures – from now onwards, developers will have the power to create their own buttons (2) new apps – a new breed of social applications and ‘lifestyle apps’ which allow users to ‘read, watch and listen’ to media and (3) timeline – a scrapbook of your life as captured and curated by the Book.

Ribiero notes that the changes will allow brands to build their own customised buttons, and describes the significance the changes will mean for targeting:

“now that users can share what they are consuming (videos, news, music) through media partner applications, marketers can get mentions and give them wider distribution through sponsored stories – a new kind of behavioural advertising … These apps present brands with a completely new way of targeting Facebookers. Depending on what sort of content users are consuming, ads can be filtered and served accordingly”

the implications of this are far from insignificant and go much further than targeting.  by allowing brands to create customised buttons, facebook is leading the change on allowing brands to connect with and attach themselves to what we’re doing in an unprecedentedly tangible way.

and facebook are far from alone.  in fact (of all people) Aussie broadcasters are all over this … it’s hard to describe how much better Q&A is with the incorporation of observations that arrive in the studio via #qanda, but this week also saw Nine launch a live voting platform for WWOS that – via Vodafone’s Viewers’ Verdict Vote – allows viewers to take part in on-air discussions:

Wwos_vodafone_voting
WWOS’s Vodafone’s Viewers Vote

and Leckie’s dramatic presentation last week included the announcement that SMG Red will be soon launching a mobile app / online platform that will allow viewers to check into programs – encouraging interaction with on-air content but also in conversations that extend beyond the content.  and brand-funded, SMGRed-hosted community that will be rewarded for interaction.

a branded life indeed.

to which our very last reaction should be surprise.  our lives have been well and truly branded for at least half a century if not considerably longer…  yet this is far from a challenge, we are at the threshold of the age of utility.  a wave of usefulness is about to crash over us, and I for one can’t wait.  no, the challenge – God love ’em – is for brands…

because if the world wasn’t complicated enough, it just got a whole lot more so.  post-f8, if you’re in charge of a brand,  you have to ask yourself if you want a branded facebook app that – via customised buttons – will allow people to share what they’re doing via you and your brand’s app.

of course for some brands this is easy.  if you’re a brand with a clear idea of why you exist and what activities, interests and passions you want to stimulate in the world its rather straight forward.  if you’re a brand with a clear ideas of what to be in your next ad, it’s almost impossible to answer.

ah, plus ça change … and yet a gloriously simple question for brands remains: with which verb does your brand want to be associated?

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