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Your Brand Communication is Now a Button

April 7, 2015

How Amazon’s Dash is just the start of a brand new world of brand communication

Amazon’s launch of its Dash Button took everyone by surprise, as it seemed to be a little too much rampant “consumerism” for many and for others, it was a wake-up call that “The Internet of Things” had finally arrived.

A button in someone’s homes is what every brand dreams it could be when it grows up, but not every brand can, just yet and it’s interesting to see P&G being the first to do this with some of its strongest brands.

The likes of Bounty, Tide and Gillette are certainly huge brands and importantly need fairly regular replenishment. For the type of customer who buys these on Amazon, coupons and discounts aren’t going to be that important, they are already buying on Amazon because it’s more convenient, so this just takes it that step further.

Obviously, this just isn’t going to work for every consumer, but for some of the most valuable and loyal it certainly could.

What’s going to be interesting here is the data.

What will P&G and Amazon collect on these customers?

What will Amazon give P&G?

What opportunity will P&G have to collect additional insight, upsell- cross-sell etc…?

That’s where it could become very interesting, if P&G has the opportunity to create deeper relationships at a one-to-one level with these core loyal customers, there could be lots of possibilities.

It would be a failure just to treat it as a simple replenishment tool and not go any deeper; the button has to become an app-like thing and more.

In addition, the presence of a button in the home has to be worth a lot to P&G, especially if they can do beyond the core loyalists and find interesting ways to use them to bring new users into their brand. How much could a button be worth to get a lifetime of loyalty? Could they develop an attractive subscription model for certain consumers?

Sadly, P&G’s big problem is they don’t own the technology and they still have to give up lots of margin to Amazon as a retailer, but they don’t really have much of an alternative.

It doesn’t take much of a visionary to see how “Dash” helps us to see what the “Internet of Things” could bring to brands. The idea of replenishment is an obvious one and works for so many categories and we probably don’t want, or need lots of buttons everywhere in our home to make this happen, obviously this is something of a barrier. Very soon it will be easy to put chips onto regular packaging that do the same kind of thing, eliminating the need for buttons and creating instant ubiquity.

One retailer that should be worried about Amazon is Costco, for whom a huge part of their business is bulk shopping for the essentials that need regular replenishment, so they’ve made a business out of large product packaging. In an Amazon “Dash” world of immediate replenishment, that goes away.

More importantly, Dash allows us to imagine a world where consumers have direct relationships with their brands through some kind of mobile interface. This interface could be used to easily replenish, but it can also be used to deliver coupons, provide information etc.

In short, it becomes the new marketing communications gateway between brands and consumers.

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