Ben Wise on Branding

Watching the world through the lens of the brand

Decoupling From Your Brand

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The reality of today’s inter-connected economy is that all brands are reliant on a variety of partners to be able to deliver their brand proposition. For an airport to provide a good experience, the airlines have to be on time. For my car insurance to live up to their promise, the independent tow truck operator has to treat me well. These factors are often out of their control.

For a long time, the mobile phone brands were relatively free of this problem. While the likes of Nokia and Blackberry had to rely on the network carrier, this was rarely a differentiating factor for them.

The rise of third-party applications has drastically changed the brand proposition for mobile phone manufacturers and turned the brand model on its head. Mobile phones aren’t just appealing for the gadget you buy, but also because of the thousands of third-party applications that are available, any of which can drastically increase the value of the device to a consumer.

The manufacturers can no longer just market their brand to consumers. They must provide a compelling brand proposition to the army of developers around the world that impact the value of the handset. Apple has been a leader with this, as can be seen by their huge lead in the number of third party apps available.

People still buy the iPhone because they want the iPhone, not because they want a certain iPhone app. But that may change. People used to buy a Nintendo for the Nintendo but now choose their video game console largely based on the games available.

While the iPhone brand is all-powerful today, it could quickly become dependent on more powerful app developers.

What do you think? Will apps become more important than the phone itself?

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Written by benwisebranding

March 5, 2010 at 6:14 am

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