Monday, April 30, 2007

Brand experiences and social networking

+ The LA Times reports on brands creating social networks offline.
Both events are classic examples of "experiential" branding — making the companies into more than just sellers of commodities. Instead, they support and communicate with core customers, creating communities that ideally lead to higher sales.

Leading consumer brands are seeking to deepen this experiential element by creating similar communities, with retailers in particular augmenting events at their traditional bricks-and-mortar stores with online efforts aimed at striking up a "conversation" with customers.

Mark G. Parker, chief executive of Nike Inc., told analysts this year that the new power of the consumer was "the most compelling change we've seen over the past four or five years. They are dictating what the dialogue is, how we're conducting it, and it's definitely a two-way conversation."

While intense attention is being paid to online community building, retailers are continuing what Jeff Smith, head of consulting firm Accenture's global retail practice, says is a tradition of using the store as a focus for delivering "brand experiences."

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