Faith Popcorn [I know, cool name huh?] is a futurologist and trend spotter and has been doing extensive work with her company BrainReserve on mapping the 'brain waves' of new generations of Americans mostly. She's recently done an interesting interview with AdAge in which she refers to something called "branding in whispers" meaning that companies should stop yelling out their products' advantages and simply help out people. The argument seems to go that companies should focus most of their activities on adding improvements to their products and the manner in which their consumers interact with them. Interestingly she nominates Nike among the companies which are not doing enough [?]
I think this may be just another way of talking about branded utility and maybe, in the US at least, it will be turning into a trend offline as much as it is a viable theory online.
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communication is essential to business making and it involves more than the ability to name your product, write a tag line or a press release. It's an intricate, rational and scalable effort and, let's face it, not anyone can do it.