What’s that brand on the horizon coming to change our lives? Or that idea so intricately ingrained into our world we hardly notice its significance? Our team of creatives and strategists eat, sleep, and breathe brand culture—so who better to ask about the biggest of the next big things?
Some months ago, few of us had even heard about the image-browsing site Pinterest. Now it’s the third-most visited social media site after Facebook and Twitter, with over 17 million visitors every month, and it directs more traffic than Google+. But can this meteoric rise continue—and what really is the value of a pin?
For some big brands like Gap, who have established a presence on the site, being "pinned” means reaping the rewards of a referral that prompts followers to click on product pictures to learn more. This empowers brands in the social space, engaging communities within communities, which in effect may be smaller but far more focused. It’s a trait that Facebook was more than aware of when it purchased Instagram for $1 billion. While a picture may be worth a thousand words, it could be worth a great deal more when handled correctly by brands through Pinterest.
Dominik Prinz, Interbrand New York & Graham Cox, Interbrand London
Founded in 1997, Japan’s leading price comparison website has transformed the electronics retail environment. It enables complete price transparency, coupled with extensive user-generated reviews of both products and stores, as well as lively discussion boards. This combination offers smaller retailers the opportunity to compete directly against the big players, and win. With over 30 million users in March 2012 alone, Kakaku.com has grown far beyond PCs to embrace a wide variety of products and services including home electronics, broadband contracts—even insurance, interiors, and cosmetics. Its influence is now so widely felt that it provides price data to the Bank of Japan.
One of its strengths lies in the depth and detail of user-generated reviews and discussions that add a human element. The brand actively tries to safeguard its neutrality - early this year one of its sister sites specializing in restaurant reviews threatened to sue companies offering paid review services. As it grows to cover more categories, it will be interesting to see its impact on other traditional sectors ripe for revolution.
Alex Murray, Interbrand Tokyo
There’s no stopping the rise of a digital-based sharing economy, with communities of interest or activity growing constantly. Gidsy, a start-up founded and based in Berlin, harnesses this emerging social movement. Gidsy is a digital event marketplace selling guided city tours, cooking classes, photography workshops, and much more. Since their founding in November 2011—supported by investors like Ashton Kutcher with $1.2m—they have spread their offer to New York, Amsterdam, San Francisco, and London.
For the hosted experiences, they rely on local influencers and individuals who offer new perspectives and share their special insights. For May, they teamed up with Jamie Oliver to support the “Food Revolution Day.” Overall it is a great example of how digital is constantly woven into our daily lives.
Christoph Meyer-Roscher, Interbrand Hamburg
In our dynamic and digitally savvy world, traditional maps feel as archaic as the flat earth they once depicted—yet tourists still walk the streets of New York, Paris, Chicago, London, and other destinations, fumbling with these clumsy guides. CityMaps, the web’s first socially branded map, will quickly put those artifacts to rest.
This interactive “social map” features globally recognizable brand logos, and integrates restaurant and retail locations, daily deals, public transportation, and social media feedback from Twitter and Foursquare, resulting in a richer experience at the point of engagement. The CityMaps tool guides you through your locale of choice literally from the palm of your hand. In March 2012, the platform was selected to be the “Official Tourism App of New York” and will be the foundation for the Department of Tourism’s mobile strategy moving forward.
Lauren Gallo, Interbrand New York
The creators of Luxe Box, a membership service that delivers 4-5 deluxe beauty samples in a chic box every month, Loose Button has revolutionized the way consumers experience beauty products. Each month a selection of cosmetics, skincare, fragrance, body, and hair care products are sent to subscribers based on their individual beauty profile.
Beauty addicts love the concept – particularly the element of surprise – because they can experiment with new products every month without a huge financial commitment. And if success is measured by the length of the rope line, the good news for Loose Button is the growing waiting list to join.
Kelly Frances, Interbrand Toronto
A new entry into the TV category, Aereo (originally Bamboom), provides a solution that redefines the use of a TV antenna to capture the broadcaster’s free service. By making TV antennas unbelievably small, hosting them in offsite data centers, and adding a UI service that enhances access, Aereo has expanded users’ options to watch antenna TV on all their devices. With lightning fast internet and razor sharp HD reception, this solution may be enough to make some viewers cut the cable cord.
But here’s the static: Major networks NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox responded by requesting a court injunction to block Aereo’s service on the grounds that they do not have the rights to their copyrighted content. Aereo claims that its streaming service is the equivalent of subscribers having their own rooftop antennas to receive the broadcaster’s free service. If this scenario is legal in the U.S. without paying a TV license fee, Aereo contends, what’s the problem? Regardless of the outcome it is clear that an evolved consumer is creating demand for a new way to interact with television content and the brands who figure out the best and simplest ways to deliver that, will redefine TV forever. As for Aereo, well, stay tuned.
Alan Roll, Interbrand San Francisco