The folks over at Organic posted a great presentation about widgets on SlideShare. In my eyes:
widgets are one of the least understood but highest potential tools of the digital age.
So what is a widget? Well as Organic puts, a widget “is a small application that does one simple thing, but does it well.” Love that description. Right now widgets exist on the desktop, mobile phones (think iPhone) and on the web (Facebook, etc). But in the near future, they are going everywhere (the Chumby is just the tip of the iceberg).
So why should Brand Managers care about widgets? Couple of reasons come to mind:
- Widgets are the ultimate expression of Brand Affinity: In most cases, widgets are being displayed in a highly visible social space (Facebook, blog, etc). If you or your friends are going to be looking at a widget on your personal page, you want that widget to be say something about you. A widget is a brand badge that a person is wearing for the world.
- Widgets deliver relevant information on the go: If there is one thing all experts agree on, it is the fact that time is the most valuable commodity around. Despite all the talk about multi-tasking, you can’t make, create, grow, or find more time. But widgets can deliver information quickly and at your fingertips…giving time back that could be wasted searching. That is a brand delivering value to a person.
- Widgets can insert a brand into a person’s interactions with their friends: Back to point #1 where widgets are an expression of you. The right widget (usually games like Scrabulous or SuperPoke) create interactions between people. A brand that is properly integrated into that widget becomes part of the social interaction.
- Widgets keep your brand top of mind: How many times have discovered a great site on the web but then completely forgot to go back to it? Or you heard about a new band you wanted to check out, but then couldnt remember the name. Widgets keep your brand, website, or band “top of mind” to a person. They won’t forget about you!
Now I’m not going to get into rules for widget success (the presentation does that) but I will toss out a call to action. Right now most brands are content with letting developers create the killer applications and then the brands buy the media/partnership from a company like Slide or Playfish. The argument is that they are then the ones doing the hard work of getting the install base and the users. But I fundamentally disagree with this. If you are just buying ad space/placement on a widget, you aren’t building brand affinity. You can be replaced.
Brands should be investing in building the future generation of widgets…not just buying ad space
We as marketers need to stop applying the interruption model of marketing to new tools like widgets. Let’s start trying to get an invitation to the party by bring something meaningul to the party. An ad won’t do that…but a great application/widget that gives people something they want sure will.
Check out the presentation below. See if it inspires anything for you. Do agree about the future potential of widgets?