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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

"The Long Tail" and Brand Communications

Mohammed Iqbal of O&M has written an interesting white paper on how Chris Anderson's long tail theory can be applied to brand communications.

In crafting his argument, Iqbal challenges theories such as Maurice Saatchi's One Word Equity (+), which claims that the essence of a brand should be boiled down to just one word-- Coke: Refreshing, HP: Invent, etc.

Iqbal's stance is that, in today's world, brands need not be defined by a singular proposition, but because they mean different things to different people, they should be expressed as such.

Old brand thinking:
New brand thinking:
Iqbal's key steps for utilizing The Long Tail in building a brand (peep the full paper for more depth):

  1. Seek help in populating the curve (consumers, people who interact with your brand).
  2. Time is a natural elongating-agent of a brand communication market.
  3. Recognise that ones and twos can add up to quite a few.
  4. Employ recommendation and word-of-mouth for your brand-building efforts.
  5. Don’t try and predict. Measure and respond instead.
  6. When you have infinite choice, context is more important than content.
  7. Build negative databases of your brand communication.
  8. Trade control for influence.

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