8. Which brands already embrace the principles you lay out in The Open Brand?
We cite over 20 examples in the book. Here are just a few: Webkinz® from GANZ, is not simply a line of collectible stuffed animals, but a toy phenomenon triggered by the appeal of its personalized online playground. Each stuffed animal (enjoyed primarily by kids 5-11), comes with a secret code. When kids type in their unique codes at Webkinz.com, they receive a pet avatar that looks like the stuffed one they own. The kids also gain access to KinzCash to create and furnish rooms, and buy food and clothes. Kids see Happy, Healthy and Hungry meters for their “pets” that let them know if they’re taking good care of their pals. Additionally, kids can play arcade games to win more KinzCash to support and accessorize their pets, and can chat safely online with friends using stock phrases (without revealing any personal information).
NIKE, one of the most recognized sports brands in the world, is expanding beyond its long-time strategy of endorsing celebrity athletes; it’s getting personal with everyday athletes. With NIKEiD, consumers can express their personal style by customizing made-to-order shoes, apparel and accessories. Nike’s teamLOCKER site invites sports teams to collaborate on customized products, enabling voting for best individual designs for group purchase. And, Nike+ sneakers, in combination with Apple’s iPod nano, provides a personal trainer of sorts: The shoe’s sensor communicates via a receiver plugged into the nano and a voice (male or female option) describes the runner’s stats, calories burned, and distance remaining. The system even provides a motivational boost by playing (pre) self-selected power songs. Runs are automatically tracked at nikeplus.com, where discussion boards, school challenges, and consumer-recommended runs around the globe can be found.
Pontiac teamed with Yahoo! to launch Pontiac Underground, a new online destination for Pontiac owners and enthusiasts. In response to a Yahoo Autos study conducted by J.D. Power and Associates that found that 94 percent of respondents who use the web said they believe consumer-generated content is an important source when making buying decisions, Pontiac wanted to support and connect its existing but disparate communities. Pontiac Underground centralizes Pontiac-related content from various Yahoo groups such as Flickr (photos), Yahoo! Answers, and Yahoo! Video and integrates links from outside Yahoo! in conjunction with its “Inside Track” blog and other social media tools. The site also offers RSS feeds of user posts from niche advocacy groups into the broader clubs area of the site.
For more words of wisdom from Kelly, I highly recommend her blog, one of the few I regularly read.