Smart Brands Integrate, Spot Trends and Tell Stories on Social

It takes more than a crack development team and a robust product to be revolutionary

Social media platforms provide a variety of mediums for creative storytelling
Michail_Petrov-96/iStock

The brand landscape is littered with countless examples of products that sparkled and faded—or just faded—while other companies have blazed a trail that keeps them on solid footing in their core space while attracting entirely new audiences. It takes more than a crack development team and a robust product to be revolutionary, although neither of those hurt.

Here’s the truth: Most brands that have consistently been on the leading edge know that it’s not about shortcutting the hard work, but about leveraging a calculated risk without losing their identity. “Not true in my industry,” some brand leaders might say. But the rules of attraction for new audiences apply to more businesses than most would thin. From the traditional to the emerging, the key is the right creative approach.

Rule 1: Inventive integration

Smart appliances represent a market that remains largely untapped, with 59 percent of respondents reporting that they didn’t have any, according to a 2017 survey conducted by ReportLinker. While the consumer market remains up for grabs and has yet to approach critical mass, Amazon lists 45 companies under “smart thermostat” and has nearly 1,000 product results for “smart doorbell.”

With so many smart home device manufacturers, differentiating a leader from a has-been can be difficult. SkyBell is an example of an inventive brand that’s established a solid position in the category. CEO Joseph Scalisi and co-founder Andrew Thomas have put SkyBell in a strong position thanks to more than 100 issued patents. These patents give the company a strategic advantage, but it hasn’t stopped there.

Earlier this year, the company announced that its products have been added to the shortlist of those that work with the Google Home platform, a leading voice assistant-centric smart home platform. Now, consumers who have made other Google Home purchases will be selecting their add-on products from a shortlist—and SkyBell is on it.

On social, these integrations can be highlighted via Facebook ads and sponsored ads, ensuring that those who are in the decision-making process get an informative pop-up that just may tip the scales. Some companies integrate social platforms with their applications, allowing customers to share their daily brand-driven activities just like a running app would.

Rule 2: Trend convergence

Tech brands might seem more agile as they try to branch out, but there are plenty of examples in other industries. Take real estate: Can a single home attract the buying interest of millennials, baby boomers and investors alike?

The answer lies in two key trends. First, roughly one-third of millennials live with their parents, according to 2017 data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Second, somewhere between 25 percent and 90 percent of those approaching retirement have no savings. Combined with rising housing costs, this has left members of different generations looking for affordable alternatives to housing that don’t necessarily require adult kids to be roommates with their parents—or vice versa.

As the recovery from the Great Recession has continued, multigenerational houses haven’t decreased. “Many thought this trend was synced with the recession and would lose velocity as homes became more accessible,” writes Jennifer Castenson in Builder. “However, many builders continue to focus in this area, working with designers and product manufacturers to create innovative floor plans and solutions that will help these multigenerational homeowners live more comfortably, along with fitting their goals of taking care of each other at a lower cost.”

Enter the “home within a home,” which offers a second private living space—complete with separate outside entrances and a lockable door off the main living area. By constructing the homes with a similar footprint to other houses on the market, builders have provided an attractive solution. With creative design, a builder can construct a home that appeals to adult children who want space for parents, parents who want room for their adult children or savvy buyers who want to use Airbnb hosting to help pay the mortgage.