Brand Experience : Analysis of a merger

It’s been some time since I was inspired to do an analysis of something I’ve read elsewhere, but Nussbaum’s latest posting titled Crispin Porter + Bogusky Plus Fuseproject ==? [I would have used just one equal sign though :)] has provided me such an opportunity. It also helps me as an academic exercise to evaluate the possible interstitial spaces for revenue generation opportunities between fuseproject’s offering and CPB’s offering. Pure design strategy 🙂

Let’s take fuseproject’s scenario first,

Yves Behar is really good at brand strategy and translating that into
real product by telling a great story about the product. When he
revived the venerable Birkenstock brand, Behar was able to get to the
emotional essence of the brand–the eco/ergonomic core of why its
consumers loved the brand so much–and leverage that into different,
more modern lines of shoes.

What we are talking about here, as a core competency, is Behar’s ability to perceive a brand’s essence and then interpret that brand experience into tangible products. Commendable. But, as strategies go, extremely dependent on the skills and ability of one individual. Now let’s take a look at CPB, Nussbaum certainly isn’t able to give a concise brand story as he was able to with Behar. After all, they are an advertising firm, and they do what all advertising firms do, figure out ways of capturing the audience’s attention long enough to tell a story. They’re just better at it than most. I remember when I worked for McCann Erickson, my sister for Ogilvy & Mather and her husband at J.Walter Thompson. Talk about tense family dinners when a major pitch was on 🙂

Anyway, back to this merger of core competencies, how does it strategically play out and what areas are there still vacant. For example, between these two firms they are able to launch a brand, build it, enhance the experience with tangible products and make it shine. However, I’d say that in a good many products today, the brand experience is most often in the interaction. For example, take your mobile phone. What brand is it? How do you answer – Nokia or Motorola, Sprint or Cingular or even Voice Signal Technologies?

All of these brands/companies compete for mindshare in the same square inch of screen, where the customer really interacts with the phone and decides whether it’s a pleasure to use or not. Quality interaction experience coupled with clear brand message would be such a powerful touchpoint. But who is doing this now in the market?

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