Business ideas from the least expected players will disrupt your brand faster than advertising can save it.
The proof is clear no matter what industry you are in:
AirBnB books more rooms that the W Hotels
ZipCar has more daily engagement than Hertz
For each of these brands they have challenged common conventions and made the marketing shift from, 360 degrees of channel interruption and "integration" to creating ideas that deliver 365 days of customer connection.
Ever since I began writing this blog in June 2006 we have conversed about convergence of the digital and physical and Transmedia Brand Expereinces. Now that almost every marketer on the planet has a laser focus on the customer expereinces I think that it is safe to say that product, campaign and business ideas should be looked at and measured with the same lense. There is no dicernable difference between the brand idea and the action a brand takes to endear customers its business.
Moreover when we look at our own customer/client landscape, we know that marketers are now resposnible for leading the C-suite to solve real business problems, not just communications problems.
I think that its safe to say the world has convereged and the new equation for marketing and creative sucess is no longer 360 degrees of one channel idea - but an enduring idea that inspires 365 days of customer connection.
Every once in a while I stumble on to a new tool. This one found me when I was looking to use a neighbors fax machine to send a video production estimate. (yes in the digital age - when we are making digital videos - production estimates still go via fax) The neighbor was not home - and the B&E charge simply was not worth it. A quick google search uncovered HelloFax. Yes! Rage against the machine! HelloFax is a great tool.
You can use your browser to send free faxes sans machine: just enter a phone number, upload a doc (PDFs, JPEGs, etc.), and HF'll deliver it to your desired destination, which, considering it's a fax machine, is probably somewhere the 1990s.
Word Lense is one of the coolest apps in the iTunes store. The app takes an image stream from the iPhone's camera, applies real-time image processing and pattern recognition tricks to it, and it then "plays" with any text it finds in the scene before displaying it on the iPhone's screen. The PLAY part is the interesting bit. The app developer, Quest Visual, calls it a "real time translating app" and begs you to "turn your iPhone into the dictionary of the future--now!" The app comes with a toy option that lets you reverse words it recognizes in the scene, or delete them altogether.