For decades, the art of branding was the business equivalent of a thick coat of makeup, applied to a stage actor's face. This 'corporate makeup', created a kind of alternative reality that brands projected on to their customers. For the customer, to embrace the brand was akin to indulging in that fantasy. In an age when customers' voices were rarely heard in public, whether or not your personal experience aligned with the reality on offer was often overlooked by marketers and by customers.
Internet transparency is breaking down this artificial barrier between collective aspiration and personal experience. It is also giving voice to that personal experience.
The veneer of perfection that separated the world of marketing from the everyday customer experience has cracked.
The best brands don't fight this inevitable tide of history, they embrace it. They are bridging what Marty Neumeier called "The Brand Gap" between who they claim to be, and who they really are. They are doing the hard work of living up to their own promises. They are championing causes and ideas worth caring about. They are walking the talk by building experiences worth talking about.
It's my privilege to work with brands, large and small, for-profit and non-profit, who are fully committed to this process. It's amazing what you can accomplish once you try.