In the near future you’ll be able to build your brand with an app. No, check that. In the near future your brand will be an app. It will re-define itself as a personal brand application on a smartphone or similar device, where it can deliver unique brand value to customers 24/7. Apple’s current iPhone ad campaign, “There’s an app for that,” provides a glimpse of this brand future.
In other words, there’s a new brand game in town. Can your brand set the agenda here?
The era of personal brand applications (PBA’s)
As I’ve noted previously, we’re now entering the era of personal brand applications (PBA’s). Personal brand applications are software applications on portable digital devices that enable customers to do more, and to be more, through the brand. They represent the intersection of high technology and brands in the palms and pockets of people, everywhere, and the chance for brands to be closer than ever to customers.
Why personal brand applications are important
Personal brand applications are important because they forge a new 1:1 brand/customer relationship. Through this relationship they have the potential to create new classes of customers from the ground up, in new market spaces. In this process they can undermine traditional brands built on ad campaigns, images, messaging and mass media saturation. Most importantly, personal brand applications free brands (and the brand team) to use the full fruits of their imagination—and to use the brand to lead.
PBA’s can accelerate brand trust
As applications, PBA’s are immediate and direct. They deliver results customers can use, now, and they build core brand trust in the process. While traditional brand campaigns may work wonders in building awareness and shaping perceptions, they’re not engines of brand trust. Personal brand applications are. They can accelerate and energize brand trust, compressing what used to take years into shorter time frames.
Technology advances make PBA’s possible
Since I first wrote about the concept of personal brand applications two years ago, we’ve witnessed amazing advances in wireless technology, digital handsets, user interfaces, online services, and software systems and platforms that tie everything together. With Apple’s iPhone, App Store and iPhone developers leading the way, we’re now are seeing a first flush of innovative smartphone apps that foreshadow the personal brand applications to come.
PBA’s: the ultimate brand relationship
In many ways a personal brand application is the ultimate brand relationship, where the brand operates as both a trusty sidekick and a trusted advisor, as close as a second skin. PBA’s do more than “connect” the brand with customers. They transform the brand into a proactive customer platform of choices, directions and actions, helping the customer at a personal level to accomplish objectives and deal with life’s challenges. The brand becomes a central means (and platform) for customer growth and development.
Personal, portable and persistent
Because they operate on hand-held devices that are wireless, Internet enabled and “always on,” PBA’s are personal, portable and persistent–the critical three P’s for brands going forward. In many ways they’re the ultimate brand presence. Think of them as perpetual touchpoints where the brand plays an active role in the culture, context and creativity of an individual’s life, day in and day out.