THINK Week in Review: The “Brand” Edition

Technology is having a dramatic effect on how people live, not least the way they experience and judge brands. This has profound implications for anyone who works with brands. Brands remain marks of trust and reputation, acting as shorthand for decision-making. They also remain the sum of all our experiences of, and interactions with, a company, service or product – but in many categories this has changed beyond recognition.

The ways customers use products have changed – but brands haven’t kept up. “Now that change has become the new normal, brands have to evolve from the power of symbolism and the power of narration to the power of reciprocity. As brands morph from symbols and stories to systems, they need to find new ways to be relevant, useful, and entertaining. They need to create hospitable ecosystems and build upon ideas that welcome and nurture consumer relationships now and in the future.”

Fintech’s Happy Plumbers. Plaid is building the pipes that connect your apps to your checking account. Will the Big Banks try to snuff it? “Plaid could help apps in hospitality, travel, and shopping understand their users' spending to make them better offers. The company is already experimenting with this approach with mortgages. And companies like Airbnb and Uber could move away from credit card transactions to pass along lower fees to their customers."Every company is becoming a tech company," Hockey says. "And we have this thesis that every company needs to be a financial services company, too."

Reinventing Loyalty in Financial Service: The Personal Pleasure Principle. “We will move away from notions of transactional relationships to something more emotionally engaging, personal and pleasurable because the consumer has explicitly agreed to share their data in the expectation of receiving services that work for them and feel good to them. When they receive rewards they will feel valued and appreciated, and if they do not, they will turn that data sharing off. They will then find someone who is using data, and aggregating other sources to understand preferences, see the potential gaps or under-served needs and deliver great experiences tailor-made for the individual.

This is the start of something far more than a battle for share of wallet or even share of mind – it is becoming the battle for the share of heart and life.”

While Bitcoin seems to face a challenging future, Blockchain is taking off. Deloitte Research confirms enterprise blockchain interest. “We are at an inflection point — momentum is shifting from a focus on ‘blockchain tourism’ and exploring the technology’s potential to building practical business applications.”

Sizing the market value of Artificial Intelligence. “McKinsey estimates AI techniques have the potential to create between $3.5T and $5.8T in value annually across nine business functions in 19 industries.”

And, why you should be journaling. “Overwork and stress are epidemic. That means we’re not at our best emotionally, physically, or mentally. The antidote is to focus on activities that help us slow down, calm down, and reflect. Doing that, and staying away from the to-do tasks, centers you on the future, hope, and relationships. It triggers changes in the brain that help us deal with the stress.”

Leaders are wise to note what a little quiet time alone with a notebook and pen can yield.”