In writing our book Wikibrands, we had a number of credible competing models for a new paradigm in building better brands for a more connected and tech. advanced audience.  And while we believe we effectively built a roadmap 10-step FLIRT model on how to build a great brand for today’s marketplace, we still left the question open on what  criteria might comprise a great brand in 2011  and beyond.

I’ve collapsed them into the 13E model above.  Thirteen sounds like a lot you say? Interesting you mention that. Every time, I chat to Don Tapscott he talks about how brands used to be so much simpler and now have become a considerably more  complicated construct that are difficult to manage, lead and now share. Enter Wikibrands and our 13Es.

We’ve identified the 13 key levers that make brands hum in this new connected world. The culture and tools have irrevocably changed for a new marketplace, so should our marketing thinking (I hesitate to call it marketing given the impact of this paradigm change).  So out with Niel Borden and Eugene McCarthy’s 4P Marketing Mix from the ’50s, out with Trout and Ries’ Brand Positioning models from the 80s and Kotler’s MegaMarketing, out with David Aaker’s 12 Attributes of Brand Equity from the ’90s, out with Kevin Robert’s Lovemarks of the early 2000s. Love them all, but we need a new brand model for the 21st century.

The Wikibrand 13Es – the 13 key elements for branding in a participation age – attributes from basic to advanced pyramids tiers (bottom to top) and from company-driven to user-driven (left to right) are as follows:

Basic Drivers:

  • Esthetics – design, image, identity
  • Entegrity – authenticity, honesty, living the brand
  • Exposed – awareness/top-of-mind, distributed/accessible, everywhere you want
  • Education – solves problems, easy to use, shares knowledge
  • Exchange – fair value, dynamic trading, recriprocity

Premium Drivers:

  • Entertainment – excitement, emotive, meaningfully differentiated
  • Ennovative – speed to market, creative, experimental
  • Equity – established/trusted, quality, positively perceived
  • Entimate – interactive, customized/personalized, dialogue/feedback driven

Advanced Drivers:

  • Experience – positive interactions, consistency pre-to-post process, support/service
  • Escape – exploration, discovery, customer immersion
  • Effiliation – community-built, shared values/tribal, collaborative

Mission Driver:

  • Evangelism – advocacy/badging, word of mouth, co-ownership

Sure we cheated grammatically on 5Es but we’re attempting to set a new frontier for marketing and business people here, take the leap of faith with us!

And for the social nerds who believe a brand is fully customer-owned, it may be a nice aspiration and platitude, but it’s never really been true. Even in a Twitterized world of the individual, a customer-dominated brand model doesn’t capture the reality for three different reasons: 1) customers don’t want full control – it’s too messy and taxing, 2) customers want to be romanced too – they don’t want a reflection of themselves in the mirror, they want some aspiration as well, perhaps something larger than themselves and 3) customers want something exciting, provocative to believe in (and for the best brands, something not to believe in too).

We’re genuinely excited about codifying the post-modern brand and would love to practice what I preach and ask for your help. We’ll attempt to describe this more deeply over the next few posts, but please help improve and shape our thinking here.

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