Innovation today: public, political brands
This is the first part in our series of short articles that explore the ways in which brands are disrupting the status-quo and evolving in the modern world. Here, we discuss how brands are entering into public conversations, becoming political and social.
An innovative app being innovative: Tinder’s involvement in the 2016 Brexit campaign – using their gaming-style platform to test users on their political knowledge.
Today, with the advent of technology, the internet, and social media, consumers are living a public life. They are exposed, and brands have access to them on an unprecedented level. However, brands too are expected to reveal themselves in this environment.
As a result, there is a transformation taking place in consumer-facing businesses. Where before, the product was enough, now we are seeing brands emerging as multi-dimensional, complex entities where they can proclaim company ethos, construct public identities, and hold opinions on social matters. In an attempt to become relevant to audiences and their target markets, they take part in cultural and global narratives, weighing-in not only in trends and culture but also in politics and news.
Indeed, it appears that the very concept of a ‘brand’ is blurring. With new social media platforms emerging on a daily basis, the public are becoming increasingly familiar with how the construction and maintenance of a ‘personal brand’ is an important part of everyday life.
2016 has provided some interesting examples of this. We have witnessed some major political controversies that have left many fingers pointing at the role of public figures in how they managed the situation, and corporations and businesses are not exempt from that. From Trump to Tinder, there has been a noticeable shift in how companies are choosing to market themselves. No longer is advertising and marketing covert. Instead, businesses are making their way into the public conversation in plain sight by building social media presence, sponsoring public events across sport and culture, and by aligning themselves in public debate over news and politics.
However, companies must think very carefully about the effects of this shift. Consumers now are realising the influence of brands and it won’t be long before their questions around this turn into action. In choosing to enter into public spaces and conversations, they must be conscientious about engaging responsibly. As the political events of 2016 have shown, the public sphere is a delicate and turbulent environment where poor media decisions can have very detrimental repercussions – not only to the business but to the wider environment, too.