Last week, the good folks at Resource Interactive sent me a copy of The Open Brand, a new book written by Kelly Mooney, President of Resource. I first met the agency when they previewed their Digital Millenialsstudy to the Teen Expert Network (TeEN) at P&G last year. I’ve always been extremely impressed with their work, so I was really excited to read what they had to say in The Open Brand. After finishing the book over the weekend, I can say that they didnt disappoint in this great, quick read.
In the authors’ words, The Open Brand “shows how marketing and branding are being transformed by the technology-inspired power shift from brands to consumers, and tells marketers how to embrace the future as it unfolds today.” While the book is filled with great insights, a few parts really jumped out to me. First and foremost was the main framework of the book, the concept of O.P.E.N., which stands for:
O…Is for On-Demand
P…Is for Personal
E…Is for Engaging
N…Is for Networked
While a simple framework, I really like the concept. Of particular help was a chart on pg. 21 that further defined a closed brand versus an open brand. For instance, a closed brand is about “Target Consumers” and “Brand Management” while an open brand is about “Fostering Communities of Consumers” and “Brand Stewardship”. It is about accepting and embracing the fact that a brand today is not what you define it to be…its what your consumers define it to be. I think this point is so dead-on that maybe I should change the title of this blog to “A Brand Steward Blog” instead of a “A Brand Manager Blog”?
Second, I really liked the way that they segment the iCitizenry into 4 groups of consumers based on their primary motivation for leveraging online networks. These groups are:
Competence / “I Can” (74% of iCitizenry) – Use web tools for fun, learning and efficiency
Collectivism / “I Connect” (16%) – Connect and share with people who have similar interests
Cultural Change / “I Am” (7%) – Effect change that improves companies, products, or the experience of others
Celebrity / “I Matter” (3%) – Seek recognition or some degree of fame
Finally, my favorite quote in the book was the following:
“The best brands propagate a lifestyle. They are passports to a social realm…where belonging becomes more important than buying.”
This is a key point. Think about brands that are consisently at the top of favorite brand lists. Brands like Apple, Nike, American Apparrel, Method, etc are all about a lifestyle. Using these brands makes you part of a club. You are no longer just a consumer. You are something more because they are your “passport” to sense of belonging. There really isnt a more powerful branding concept than that.
Overall, I would highly encourage every marketer to pick up a copy of The Open Brand. The book really summarizes the new world of marketing that we are all facing as turn our closed brands into open brands. It easily earns a spot in my “must read list” for any aspiring marketer or Brand Manager….i mean, Brand Steward.