The Wearable Brand, Tracking Your Every Move
by Mitch Joel | January 16, 2013
“When did you hit your goal?” In Las Vegas for a conference last week, I heard that question more times that I could count. They were talking about their NikeFuel goals, of course. It seems like people everywhere have traded in their Livestrong yellow wristbands for Nike’s latest innovation, the Nike+ FuelBand. Much has already been written about the technology and gamification of an active lifestyle that Nike delivers with this hybrid of a watch, accelerometer, online social network, and digital physical activity drill sergeant. What I find even more fascinating is how there, on your wrist, each and every waking (and sleeping) moment lives the Nike brand. It becomes even more a part of you then when you slip on your swoosh-emblazoned sneakers for your daily jog. The brand is permanently there, jolting you into action, applauding your accomplishments — and branding you.
Regular advertising is starting to feel slightly stale, isn’t it? And yet there is no doubt that great advertising can inspire us to do more. To be more. There are only a handful of brands that have truly transcended traditional advertising to become iconic embodiments of our zeitgeist, whether it was Nike’s simple sentiment of, “just do it” exhorting us to get up off of the couch, put the Doritos down, and take on some form of daily exercise, or Apple encouraging us to “think different” by using technology to help us create and connect. When those ads hit the airwaves, it wasn’t just about selling sneakers or computers, it was about becoming something.
So what happens when brands can create something more than an advertisement to sell, engage and connect with consumers in a much deeper and more profound way? We are finding out. While the lines may not be lengthening at the tattoo parlor, it’s clear that consumers are lining up to get more personal, connected and have a moment-by-moment connection to a brand. Something more permanent. It’s something that few brands could have done without a multi-million dollar advertising campaign, but now it’s coming down to technology, social media, big data and utilitarian marketing.
From branded apps on smartphones to connected appliances, we’re now starting to see brands creep on to our bodies with robust and personalized technology that people not only don’t seem to mind, but that they are generally enthused about. Consumers love having their AmazonPrice Check app at the ready to ensure that they’re getting the best price possible while at the store level and, in doing so, seem to have little issue with Amazon capturing all of this highly personal and usable data about retail, pricing and how we flow through a store for them to capitalize on. Privacy and hacking concerns notwithstanding, brands that have emotional connections with consumers will be doing everything they can (and more) to further deepen this direct relationship as technology, data and our inherent desire to be connected continues to blossom.