Everything these days communicates a brand. Sidewalk conversations, like the many tweets that people write around you and about you, are vectors of images in an environment made of myriads of representations. While technology has increased the number of individuals who practice branding, the significant complexity facing every industry actor isn’t becoming any easier to grasp. If anything, more actors means more complexity. And with each and everyone now a potentially self-proclaimed “expert”, conflicting views are impossible to control.
“When you create something, there is a strong probability that one day you will have to ‘sell it’ one way or another”, says brand expert Jean-Jacques Stréliski. Referencing Bell Canada’s Senior VP for Brand Rick Seifeddine, Streliski makes the case for the necessity to tell stories. Beautiful stories. Stories that may serve as intermediaries, mediating artifacts between brands and those who engage with them. Between products and the customers that desire and purchase them.
Seifeddine gives the example of intermediated brands such as Songza, the online service that classifies music by genre, mood or occasion and allows you to listen to individual tracks within a given style, which came to the musical industry with a proposition wholly capable of displacing large players like Galaxie. “What Songza did”, says the Bell executive, “is to add a layer of intermediation which turn the user experience into a true experience”. Choosing your playlist based on time of day and mood is, indeed, a more appealing form of interaction. The same goes, says Seiffedine, when you compare the IKEA shopping experience to your typical disintermediated hardware store.
If every business is a media, then Bell is a media squared. It is only right that the company would have, at the helm of its brand unit, a mind so capable of interpreting the world as it changes, from the airline industry to sneakers, from olympic sports to hardware stores. Making things simple, reducing complexity, one screen at a time, could very well serve as a motto for Canada’s media behemoth as it delves deeper in the 21st century. If there was ever a time when Bell could strive, it is now. In that, they are indeed most capable of evolving, and perhaps even, to a certain extent, of leading the evolution.
This text is part of a series written in the context of the Fifth edition of the Montreal-Barcelona Summer School on Management of Creativity, organized by Mosaic HEC Montréal and Universitat Barcelona, July 9 to 24, 2013.
Illustration by Studio 923a. Read all posts in the series at blog.fandco.ca/yulbcn.