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Alexa’s breath of fresh air – and the curious comfort in a full shopping basket

Alexa’s breath of fresh air – and the curious comfort in a full shopping basket

"We do what we say we're going to do." This is called coherence, and it’s linked to commitment and responsibility. It’s an attribute that can apply to people – we see this philosophical statement in the works of Aristotle and Seneca. And it applies to some brands.

How coherent a brand is has much to do with the strength of the brand, how it was built in the conventional world, and how it behaves in the digital and social world in which we work today.

In that sentence, "We do what we say we're going to do", “doing” means everything from selling to problem solving. Consistency and coherence create credibility, and in a digital world, that’s gold for a brand because it creates loyalty.

You may be thinking, "Tell me something I don’t know". In my department, which we humbly call “intelligence”, that is our role. We are here to discover for brands things they do not know, and to remind them of what they may have forgotten.

We provide insights, and this enables vision. I declare myself an obsessive practitioner in seeking to understand something from all possible dimensions and go beyond the conventional gaze to generate ideas, insights and vision.

We all know that:

- TV has been traditionally the medium for building large brands

- Young generations watch less TV and consume more digital media

- There’s an entirely new way of consuming media

- TV was passive, consumed in masse, and quickly reached large audiences

- The digital world is active, individual, and not always visible or audible

- The strength of TV has allowed us to use each media for different purposes: TV fundamentally for branding, and digital for performance.

But what happens if TV no longer reaches certain target audiences? Can digital media replace TV as a brand-building tool?

Without doubt, digital media can be a great brand builder. But we must use it well, defining specific objectives for new formats and insisting on quality, with strict policies to reduce fraud.

We know we can make it work. But we must talk about other aspects of digital consumption that can put the brand in danger.

Many consumer decisions are already being automated. We are automating purchases and delegating decisions, not to other people, but to devices and algorithms. Think of Alexa, and how it opens the door of your home to passive purchase via AI assistants, smart buttons and more.

The breath of fresh air brought by Alexa has delivered relief from the stress of having a shopping basket with so much to choose from – but so little time to decide what to put in it.

But with this comfort has come a potential danger to your brand. Most people’s online shopping basket hardly changes from order to order. You chose a brand once and if you’re generally happy and don’t actively change your chosen brand, the machine simply repeats this decision.

So, how does a great brand fight its way into the comfort of the shopping basket? How does it get the consumer – or the robot – to break with routine and choose something new?

By uniting emotion and data, and by applying philosophy to the practice of internal and external brand management.

That is the vision. Digital is a perfect way to build brands and give them the visibility they need in order for consumers to choose them.

But remember the sentence this article began with, and draw on three Aristotelian virtues in order to let your brand shine: virtue, (the coherence of doing), disinterest (adapting to others’ needs before your own) and practical wisdom (taking advantage of the favorable winds of change brought by digital technology, such as Alexa), so that your brand sits comfortably in the shopping cart.

This probably explains why the most valuable brands in in the BrandZ 2019 ranking have a technological and digital heart that beats in accordance with Aristotelian virtues.

Jon Artolozaga

General Director of Intelligence