If you work in brands, you have to be excited about the brand potential of widgets and gadgets. These are the live, highly visual icons that reside on your desktop and do important things for you. They are quick to access, and persistent. They are little friends, always there when you need them.
Widgets and gadgets are icon-like, mini-applications designed to provide information, lookup, and functionality via a quick glance or click on your computer screen. They can be designed to receive live data from the Web, increasing their power. Current examples deliver basic information, such as weather, time, news headlines, RSS feeds, computer system performance, and specialized information such as local team schedules. Using their rich visual interface, they also provide a slew of functions: calculator, radio station tuners, live charts, news readers, etc.
By design, widgets and gadgets are fairly easy to develop. Examples can be found here, here, and here.
Widgets and gadgets are brand interfaces.
Widgets and gadgets are new. Currently, they give only a faint hint of their potential power as brand interfaces. Most are geeky and one dimensional. Given a decent shot of brand imagination, however, they can open up a multitude of new connections, many of which can extend far beyond the product. The context of widgets and gadgets is a wide open field. On a basic level, they are interfaces to the brand. On a deeper level, they are interfaces through the brand. It’s at this deeper level that widgets and gadgets can build real brand connections.
Widgets and gadgets are tools for brand innovation.
Think of them as mini-platforms, bundles of relevance that can advance your customers through your brand. In a year or two, I’d fully expect that all new cars will come with a package of widgets. Download them to get basics such as service information and reminders, owner’s information, driving tips, mileage calculators, etc. Beyond that, it’s left to the brand to initiate any type of relevant, persistent connection that the customer can use. The widget is a portal of relevance with a customer power far greater than its diminutive size.