Curiosity Matters

An Exploration of Branding, Design and Cultural Trends

Tech Disrupt 3.0

Screen Shot 2013-06-02 at 10.43.58 AM The longer I work in mobile, the more I see evidence that technology has disrupted every aspect of our lives. There is nothing we do that hasn't touched technology from the moment we wake up to the alarm on our iPhones to the moment we go to bed, scrolling through our Instagram feed one last time before we close our eyes. In fact, Mary Meeker's famous yearly tech trends presentation predicts that 2014 will be the year of wearable computing. So we've gone beyond social media and even mobile. But as someone working at the convergence of technology and advertising in New York City, it's easy for me to taught that this is the year of mobile, wearable computing, Google Glass, or any number of exciting technologies. The real question is, what happens when businesses finally embrace these behavioral changes instead of ignoring them? And what happens to those that don't?

A few weeks ago, I decided to check out the Warby Parker store in Nolita after finally getting a new eye glass prescription (yay health insurance!). I had heard of the startup but had become friends with the owner, Paul of my previous frames supplier at Caserta (go there!) and genuinely liked our customer / owner relationships. But as I casually tried on a few pairs, my eyes lit up with excitement. How could I resist $95 frames including the lenses, a good $200 dollar difference in price from any regular frames store? In fact, the ease of the purchase and price changed my entire outlook on eyeglasses. Perhaps they no longer had to be a critical decision to labor over for days, knowing they'd be a year-long fashion statement. I could now match my frames to my mood, or my outfit! Shortly after purchasing a pair, I dipped into a chain frame store just to compare. Rows of frames by well-known designers lined the shelves with designer prices. The store clerks seemed engaged in their own conversation instead of helping me so I quickly left. I vowed to replace the lenses on my old frames from Caserta because I enjoy shooting the shit with the owner and because they're great frames.

Following my trip to Warby, I decided that once and for all, I was going to purchase a Nike Fuel band. Earlier that week, I had posed the question through my Instagram feed - Nike Fuel Band or FitBit Flex. I had done extensive research online and was told that it was mostly a toss up, but that the Flex was more accurate. But what would motivate me? Accuracy or friendly competition? The answer, according to my Instagram community, was the friendly competition of the Nike Fuel Band. I've been wearing it ever since but truth be told, haven't given up my old FitBit.

So it's clear that regardless of your business, it's going to be disrupted by technology. So how can companies adapt? Here are two quick tips from my journey but more are sure to follow.

1. If your business is "analogue," make it the best analogue experience you can possibly create. Ensure that your customer service is top notch and genuine as well as your product. A quick glance at Caserta's Yelp review shows that nothing can disrupt the efficacy of a quality product and customer service. And their customers are spreading the word, coincidentally, through technology.

2. Your brand is not a product category but an experience. Extend it through digital products that enrich people's lives.