Thursday, 2 July 2009

‘Two-faced’ brands shaking hands, making peace... awww

Stanley and Livingstone, The Russians and Americans in Berlin, The French and English in the Channel Tunnel – all great meetings from history... I found myself chuckling to myself yesterday to hear that Coke and Pepsi had finally shaken hands with each other – digitally of course.

In this age of distributed identity, where actual product experience more often than not seems an abstract expression of a corporate personality – I sometimes have to pinch myself and smile at the weird and wonderful things that just happen.

Yesterday, for the first time Coke and Pepsi shook hands... Aaawwww isn’t that nice. Aaaawwww, isn’t that a wonderful expression of how new communications channels are revolutionising the world.

Beyond this though it raises two interesting thoughts, the first a theory on what brands are, the second to do with how brands should communicate.

A brand for me is an abstract accumulation of every touch-point a consumer can make contact with. At the core of these clouds of experience, a nucleus of actual product experience burns bright. In the modern world of 1’s and 0’s we all inhabit (to some extent) it’s important for each brand to behave in the right way, in the right channel – if not you end up with a contradictory personality... two-faced brand identities if you like.

Occasionally I’ve found myself (on a professional basis), wondering how a particular brand should behave in a particular communications space. Normally these discussions get to a point where someone sitting around the table says ‘Oh but such and such a brand does that, we can’t possibly...’ And a very useful avenue of inquiry is blocked. And this is all well and good in most cases.

The problem is of course, that if you genuinely want your brand personality to be conveyed properly, there probably are occasions where two brands bump into each other in cyberspace and say ‘hi’ -Places where personalities overlap.

And yesterday, I was pleased to see that the biggest meeting of this kind passed of in the spirit of friendliness you’d expect from the public personalities put out by the two brands in question

The first big meeting of this kind took place yesterday on Twitter: Essentially a ReTweet challenge was set out, to see if the two auld enemies could be friends in cyber space... and apparently they can. The full post drawn from amnesiablog is here.

Made me happy.