Modern brands 2.0: revenge of the corporation.
I mentioned a while back that I thought big corporations were starting to adopt Modern Brand strategies with a twist. Since then, we’ve found some more examples of innovation from big companies that adapt the principles of Modern Branding, but which take advantage of the specific attributes and strengths of large companies.
Some context before I launch in: I think Modern Branding evolved through necessity rather than by design. Small, innovative startups, faced with larger, better funded competition, decided they had to be more resourceful and smarter about using what they had to compete.
As a result, they developed strategies that enabled them to use their existing assets in creative ways in order to offset the fact that they had no money to spend on outbound marketing. However, this is actually a strategy that favours those who have more assets. And, if you have more to work with and you have money, this is a strategy that can take you even further. That’s what I think these examples show:
While it’s questionable whether B&N can compete with Kindle and iPad in the e-Reader market (or even survive), I think the idea of using their one advantage – brick & mortar stores – as a place to sample content is really smart.
On the surface this feels like a giveaway but buried deep in the article was this nugget:
“… owners will be able to use the iPad to schedule a service appointment online and arrange for a pickup to take the car in for maintenance.”
Because service is one of the best places for dealers to get additional revenue, it’s clear that the real goal of this was to create an on-going channel for dealer/brand to customer communications. Essentially this turns the owner’s manual into a revenue stream and takes advantage of the fact that big companies like Hyundai have diverse partners and revenue streams to spread costs over.
Through relying upon their partners to innovate for them, P&G reduced their R&D expenses by 30% and created over 100 new products. Big companies have more partners and they have more leverage.
You probably know about this but I think that using IP around sustainable practices to generate marketing and revenue is brilliant.
Subaru has an owner base that is large and loyal; one that includes lots of repeat buyers. And one that is arguably more interesting and diverse than its product. This is a genius way to use it.
Like Seti@home but for solving human problems. This is IBM using its reach and customer base to connect people together to do something amazing.
Creating change by forcing vendors into transparency around their sustainable lifecycle. This is big bad business, but for good.
While Andaz is a line of hotels, it’s also a real-time lab for customer service innovation for Hyatt. When you’re as big as they are you can do a lot of experimenting.
Large companies can also create startups inside themselves. Cisco did this in 2007 with the Emerging Technologies group that behaves like a startup but can tap into the resources of a behemoth.
What these examples how are the ability for large companies to use the strategies of disruptive upstarts against them:
- They have many assets in place that they can re-imagine.
- They can use their scale to increase the impact of their actions.
- They can leverage their many properties to create lab locations and test new programs.
- They can harness the power of a large work force to generate innovation internally
- They can tap into their large customer bases to help develop their marketing
How will small companies respond?