OFF + ON

UK’s Trendwatching gives us OFF=ON. Everything offline takes on characteristics of the online (esp Web 2.0) world. Indeed this is a trend many of us have pushed with clients overly investing their brands in one medium/world or the other, but not both effectively. The primary vector in their article is mapping online features, design, and interaction modes to the built and ID product world. Extending consumer products with an interdependent web identity. Some of this can be meaningful – looking at the Letterman list of 10 ways though, much of it is also Web 2.0 add-on (my comments in red):

10 ways to apply OFF=ON

It doesn’t take marketing genius to apply OFF=ON and ON=OFF to your own brand. Here’s what you can set in motion today:

  1. Incorporate online symbols into one of your next designs. (Great, add Digg icons to print? But a Flickr link might add value to a print advert.)
  2. Have customers design something from scratch online, then bring it into the real world. (Customized Webkinz?)
  3. Add any kind of online functionality or access feature to existing physical products.
  4. Study and then incorporate winning characteristics of living and doing business online into your offline processes. (How about making in-person banking easier with web interaction while waiting in line?)
  5. Infuse your campaigns with the language of the online-versed. (OMG, this could really suck!)
  6. Give your online brand an offline presence. (Seeing this everywhere on Toronto billboards)
  7. Partner with any kind of relevant meet-up venture. (But don’t stretch “relevant” too far, please)
  8. Introduce a ‘warm bodies FEEDER BUSINESS’.
  9. Hop on the mobile-meets-web bandwagon. Start with an iPhone app. Hey, if British Airways can do it…
  10. Look beyond the next 6 to 12 months and dive into leading online gurus’ visions. After all, even if their exact timing is sometimes off, their predictions so far have all come true. (If not actually profitable, meaningful, or successful …)

Trendwatching’s article surfaces and links opportunities for you and I to use their piece in conversations with (your) organization’s design + business stakeholders.  Speaking of which, one of the trends not mentioned, but appearing soon on this page, is the web-enabled (interactive) organization. I don’t mean just improving intranets with social networks, or something like Organization 2.0, but rather the logical trend toward organizations that are:

  • Customer-energized
  • Interdependent, distributed decisionmaking
  • Self-organizing teams taking initiative on strategy
  • Listening and exchanging in new ways
  • Creating markets, not studying them

These trends are all “close enough” to show us a vector of OFF+ON organizational development. The Cluetrain guys pointed us toward  this direction (was that really 9 years ago?) and have been talking about it ever since, in case you haven’t checked recently. So what happened? Why did we have a resurgence of the “clueless corporation” after 2001? Did we really think our ideas were wrong just because our web business models were unsustainable? So why do we let the situation continue?

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