Digital News

The Tech Treat to Brand Value

by Julian Tanner

One thing beyond doubt is that during the past decade, the volatility of brand value has increased inexorably. And a primary cause is the effect of technology in both undermining and building brands.

In an unconnected world, a buying decision would be based on the law of best evidence if I wanted to buy a new TV, did I buy a household brand name or a no-name alternative? The answer was simple–I bought the brand name because it came with brand reassurance. In the connected world it is not that simple; brand value can be overturned and reversed by influencer articles on social media. Who in 2015 would buy a new TV without checking out the online reviews and Amazon recommendations?


We live in an age where buying decisions require independent validation rather than brand awareness and the result has been tough on companies who relied heavily on brand differentiation to sell themselves. Particularly vulnerable to the increased volatility of brands have been social sites such as MySpace and Second Life, which have come and gone in a flash of pixels.

In a bid to protect themselves from this volatility, brands have increasingly turned to social engagement through digital channels, but many of the efforts have fallen short as mail campaigns just look like spam, the Twitter feeds of brands have become excruciatingly boring and free games on a brand’s Facebook site are just not that engaging.

Consumers are wising up with technology tools of their own. Customer complaints are now at record highs as Twitter and other digital channels enable the public to voice their frustration. Increasingly, consumers are gaining control over what they receive with tools such as, providing a one-click control over our inboxes.

To overcome these technology challenges, smart brands are turning to new technologies and opening new ways of engaging with consumers. NTT DoCoMo has worked with 3D mapping company eeGeo to create incredible cityscapes in Japan that really help people navigate and locate services, while Eveready has turned its website from shop front to a means of assisting consumers who want to recycle batteries. These are not the same old exercises in brand vanity, but a move to create a deeper, more persistent and stickier relationship with consumers.

This article was first published in Issue 56 of adobo magazine. Julian Tanner is the Global Technology Leader of Cohn & Wolfe.

Partner with adobo Magazine

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