3 Tips For Brands To Stay Ahead Of The Curve

A couple months ago my children were aware that it was Dr. Seuss’ birthday. They heard he had died and asked me a very innocuous question: When did Dr. Seuss die?

It struck me that if I had wanted to know similar information at their age, I would have had to go to…the library! Then by some miracle maybe the current version of Encyclopedia Britannica contained that information or some adult was knowledgeable enough to retain this fairly insignificant factoid.  Today, I simply pulled out my iPhone and held the home button and said “When did Dr. Seuss die?”  A few seconds later, a polite English woman’s voice  (set up as Siri, the iPhone’s digital assistant) responded with the answer (September 24, 1991, aged 87) along with a clickable blurb from Wikipedia — offering much more information than I would have found in the equivalent library volume of an encyclopedia.

The point here is that people now take technology for granted.  More than that we expect technology to deliver and get upset when it doesn’t.  Comedian Louis C.K. brings this home with the example of people getting annoyed by the fact that the Wi-Fi on their airplane flight (a relatively new phenomenon) isn’t working perfectly.

Rather than provide some social commentary on what this means for the next generation (a scary notion for sure), I simply point out that brands need to keep up-to-speed with the latest technology or they might fall behind and lose customers.

Here are three tips for brands to consider:

  1. Be aware.

    I’m not suggesting you start attending CES every year. You can, however, stay on top of new technology by following resources like TechCrunch, Wired, or Gizmodo .

  2. Think ahead.

    If you spot an innovation that can advance your business and help your customers, figure out how it applies today and tomorrow.  For example, look at brands like Starwood Hotels and Target, who planned to be ahead with the arrival of the Apple Watch. Disney is another good example – while wearable technology was developing, Disney was working on MagicBands and is leading the way in what wearable tech can do for a brand experience.

  3. Stay on brand.

    No matter how cool and forward-thinking a new technology may be, make sure it is consistent with your brand. If your brand is all about speed and a new innovation will provide more detailed information for your customer, but will take twice as long to provide it, then that innovation isn’t right for your brand.

Ask what might be (or what already is) and how that innovation can help your brand stand out or deliver a better customer experience.

The possibilities are endless. What brand innovation has recently caught your attention?