Widgets are back in the news, and brand builders have new options in using widgets to create customers. Startups in widget marketing and aggregating and widget management will create larger markets for widgets, helping them move mainstream. Nokia is bringing out a mobile widget format. And Yahoo continues to push the widget envelope with new offerings, in concert with business partners such as Honda.
Compact brand interfaces
Widgets, of course, are those clever little window-on-the-world web apps that bring you updated information on topics of your choice. They are compact brand interfaces. Each one has its own visual style and presence. While widgets began as cute, visual data displays like a weather report, or a world clock, they are rapidly gaining expressive power. Behind their happy face on your computer screen is the power of RSS feeds, which automatically pump the widget with updated info. Thanks to RSS, widgets can invoke “persistence of context.” Via widgets, you can “publish your brand,” assuming your brand has something worth saying that customers (and not your own marketers) care about.
Platforms for shared passions
Fairly soon, widgets will gain the rich media power of micro-sized interactive ads. But brands work by touch, not by trumpets. Widgets are perfect platforms for shared knowledge, shared values and shared passions. Their small size makes them inviting, and intimate. They can be a way to mass-customize brand dialogues with customers.
While widgets can pack a punch with HTML and CSS, we might see even more interactive widget firepower via programs such as Flash and Laszlo. The simple widgets we see today are Tin Lizzies on the innovation curve.
(I’ve written about the brand-building power of Widgets before.)
Hat tip: Richard MacManus