A comment in my earlier post raised a really good question about "packets" and referenced an article by Matt Zucker in AdAge who writes about including packets in social media strategy. Zucker defines packets as:
Brand experiences created expressly for networked groups of people with which to engage. They are useful, they are shareable, they support and sometimes they even advance the brand message.
While Zucker cites several Facebook apps and certain types of sharable content, the big idea for brands is to, "Consider how your brand can help meet a real need or real behavior by a small or large intimate group." This convergence of product and marketing to create "packets" (a concept we continue to explore), is an innovative strategy that continues to deliver success. As companies increasingly need to market through content and services -- packets are tools that provide a tangible value to the customer, not unlike branded utilities, which are becoming the cornerstone of what's next in marketing and advertising.
Benjamin Palmer, CEO/Owner at The Barbarian Group, sees the branded utility as when:
"the brand creates a commitment to a relationship. It's where the brand creates something useful to you, something that's a utility in your life. The consumer will feel more confident with the relationship if the brand will continue to be part of your life."
Utilities like the Nike+ experience or even the Domino's pizza builder are setting the standard in creatively delivering a valuable, branded tool that does more to promote the company's brand that an onslaught of forced, one-way marketing.
Paul Isakson's widely circulated presentation beautifully captures the concept of the branded utility and how companies that continually seek to provide value for their customers are the brands that continue to succeed in fostering their brand loyalty.