The shrinking brand: marketing in a small world
The world is small. Life is short. But brands still want to be big and have a long life. That's no longer viable. Given the atomization of audience size and behavior, they will need to "shrink," too, if they want to remain able to connect with consumers.
Here's another trend for 2008: From micro-loans to micro-vacations, micro-celebrities to micro-trends, speed dating to speed cooking: the "long tail" world of consumers is becoming smaller and shorter. Products, services, and experiences are being deconstructed in easier-to-digest, easier-to-afford bits, allowing consumers to collect even more experiences, as often as possible, in an even shorter time frame. Shrinking attention spans have prompted the rise of what Wired Magazine calls "snack-size media," and the hyper-personalization of online communication has led to new formats (micro-blogs, widgets, feeds, texting, etc.) that challenge long-held marketing conventions.
The emerging "economy of micro-scale" renders the traditional consumer segmentation obsolete and has major implications for brands that distribute content. The smaller the format, the bigger the chances, it seems, to become the next big (small!) thing. If "selling less of more" is the future of business, communicating more to fewer is the future of marketing.
In a nutshell, you could also put it this way: The world is small. Life is short. But brands still want to be big and have a long life. That's no longer viable. Given the atomization of audience size and behavior, brands will need to "shrink," too, if they want to remain able to connect with consumers. Small brands don't need to be small companies. And it doesn't mean they need to be humble. It just means they understand and embrace the small containers, the micro-media, in which they take place and come to life (blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Twittergrams, Kyte.tv, widgets, etc.). With everyone else vying for the premium attention space above-the-line, maybe brands are better off relying on the small worlds of micro-formats and snack-size media below -- if they manage to be really eye-to-eye with consumers, there will be enough room to make a lasting impression.