Editor’s note: The following is a guest post by Billee Howard, managing director of the brand innovation group and creative development officer at Allison + Partners. Howard has more than 15 years’ experience in brand development, strategic media relations, CEO brand building, corporate positioning, business-to-business strategy development and economic and investment promotion.
With experience emerging as the foil to technological innovation, communications continues to emerge as among the most powerful and potent tools in the CEO arsenal. As such, programs that influence outcomes and drive business performance trump those that merely illicit approved awareness. As the year unfolds we see all of these principles unfolding broadly across the business landscape. The commercialization of many leading brands is being driven by the notion of Art + Commerce = Innovation (and winning experiences).
In the recent months, we have seen a change in the business model from a product-centric notion to an experience-driven culture. Experience continues to emerge as the defining factor of competitive differentiation, and the new cornerstone of the supply chain, as the age of total experience management unfolds. We see this everywhere, with brands from McDonald’s (multibillion-dollar investment in complete re-design of restaurants) to eBay (pop-up stores aimed at demonstrating their role in overall next-gen retail) investing significantly in re-imagining winning experiences as much as innovating beloved products and services.
With experience at the forefront it is also important to acknowledge the growth on an innovation-centric corporate culture. The notion of specialization continues to sweep the landscape working to define more unique and memorable experiences in every way, from the proliferation of niche businesses to the emergence of specialty focused roles inside leading organizations.