Tuesday, 27 May 2014

'Share of life' - the new marketing metric?

Not a week seems to go by without a piece of research focused on major brands.  The latest is the BrandZ list of the world’s most valuable brands. In a shock move, Google has displaced Apple as the world’s most valuable brand while Ford has re-entered the list after some time in the wilderness.

One of the keys to Google’s success appears to be its ‘share of life’ – its ability to connect with customers by having many stakes in their lives through a proliferation of products and services.

I’m sure the marketing teams at Google are delighted with the result.  Meanwhile, the rest of us are left pondering what on earth this means for our brands and marketing activity.

From my point of view, ‘share of life’ is just a new, catchy way of saying that to be truly valuable brands need to be relevant to their customers - both now and in the future.  Brands need to keep pace with changes in customer needs/wants and behaviours.  And they need to ensure that their messaging resonates with their target audiences.

It’s a case of ‘adapt or die’ as far as I’m concerned.  In fact history is littered with examples of brands that have failed to keep pace with change.  Perhaps the most notable casualty in recent years was Kodak. With its long history, Kodak was synonymous with photography in much the same way as Cadbury is with chocolate, Hoover with vacuuming and Google with web searching. With the advent of digital photography, I would be amazed if the senior team at Kodak didn’t debate what it would mean for their business.  The reality is they either chose not to act, or failed to act quickly enough. The brand’s demise should act as a wake up call to all brands.

Google has spent a lot of time, money and energy in recent years in building its portfolio of products and services.  I dare say there was a major commercial imperative here – to build a revenue stream and commercialise its free search offer.  In doing so, according to the research, Google has managed to touch the lives of many people in many different ways and thereby grow its ‘share of life’. 

Growing a product portfolio is not an option that all brands have. So, let’s not get hung up on ‘share of life’. The key is remaining relevant your audience.  Something that marketers have known for some time.