John Hagel, co-author of The Only Sustainable Edge: Why Business Strategy Depends on Productive Friction and Dynamic Specialization, has an interesting post about the current shifts in brands power.
In broad strokes, we are moving from product-centric brands to customer-centric brands. Product-centric brands represent promises about products (or retailers) – “buy this product from us because you can trust that it will be a quality product at good value.”
Customer-centric brands offer a radically different promise – “buy from us because we know and understand you as an individual customer and we can tailor an appropriate bundle of products and services to meet your individual needs better than anyone else.” In other words, customer-centric brands promise that, if you give them their attention, they will give you a better return on attention than anyone else.
Relatively few customer-centric brands exist today. In some cases, you might think of your personal physician, lawyer or accountant. In other cases, you might think of a local, independent retailer like a specialty music store or wine store that has taken the time to get to know you as an individual customer and recommends products to you each time you come into the store.
In the journey from product-centric brands to customer-centric brands, many consumer companies have locked in on a transitional concept – segment-specific brands. Think of Nike with its focus on physically active consumers or Disney (at least as of a few years ago) with its focus on parents with small children. This is a significant step in the right direction and it reflects growing awareness of the power of customers, but it is not the destination.
All about the subject here.