Will the IoT Shift Branding?

Will the IoT shift branding? Will we pay for where a car is instead of what it is?

Read a very illuminating piece today from Accenture on how the IIot (Industrial Internet of Things) could be the most transformational technology of the next decade. Interesting enough. But, the article also discussed an “outcomes economy” where we pay for the value of things, i.e. what the things deliver to us in useful value, not the “nuts and bolts” of things.

The example the article gave: a car manufacturer delivering value by enabling customers in urban environments to use one of its cars by the mile or the minute. You simply check your phone for the location of their nearest vehicle, go to where the car is parked, gain entry through a membership card or code and drive off, only to leave it parked and locked for the next user. All made possible by the IoT.

So if the IoT can change how we think of transportation, how might it change the way we think of brands, B2B or otherwise? It’s interesting to consider building a brand not on the nature of a product or service, and not on the culture of the brand, but more on the brand’s utility to the customer or user experience. The brand is developed on what it allows the customer to do personally or professionally because of the brand, not because of its intrinsic value.

So, think of software that you pay for only when you need to use it. Or, think of selling energy not by the kW but how much you save or how much you don’t use. Certainly not farfetched when you consider open source or pricing building controls on the basis of how much energy-dollars the equipment saves. However, the effect on branding could be profound, bringing how we structure brand purpose and promise ever closer to the customer or user. Imagine preferring a brand for how useful it is rather than how cool it looks or how efficiently it might operate or that it costs “X” versus a competitor’s “Y”.

Are we fast approaching a new era of branding where brand personalization or brand-experience-outcome is the focal point? In B2B, where often it’s the Nuts and Bolts of Things, will the IoT bring to brands more of a Heart and Soul of Things? I hope so because great branding always begins and ends with customers and/or users and grows through our ability to see brands through their eyes.

If you’d like to read the Accenture piece, find it here: https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insight-highlights-auto-industrial-iiot-technological-change?c=glb_acnemalert_10002725&n=emc_1015&emc=21037092:emc-122315 . Thanks to blog.surveyanalytics.com for the image.