Authenticity through technology!? Who would have thought this? Not long ago, everybody was talking about technology minimising authenticity and removing the human touch and human contact. Now it’s the opposite – technology increases authenticity. It’s quite an ingenious formula: technology enables direct access (to information and individuals) and as a result creates a unique, instant, direct and – most importantly – user defined experience. Perfect.
Let me give you a really neat example: At the Leaders in Sponsorship conference last week Jed York, President of the San Francisco 49ers and Kevin Plank, Founder of Under Armour, described the future of sporting events as follows:
The individual brings their own device into the stadium and links it into their system (that also has another interesting consequence: instead of investing into hardware as it ages too quickly, the 49ers will invest into software for individuals to connect their own devices. It might help that the new stadium is in Silicon Valley, so benefits from all the brain power over there).
The system now allows the individual to choose his level of engagement, from switching it off and just enjoying the game, to receiving live updates on statistics, to all the way of receiving actual information about the physical performance of the individual athlete through the sensors in their kit and to their psychological performance through reading their social media updates. This is a close up, real time, nearly first hand, personal experience – or in other words, an authentic one. This is Sky’s player cam with full access to the individual person and the access defined by the user. Brilliant, isn’t it?
So you are in the stadium, but close to the individual player. This will cause the clubs some problems, as Lesa Ukman said, fantasy leagues and social media are creating a stronger bond between fans and individual players instead of fans and clubs. The tension is similar to that experience in ‘normal’ companies between corporate and personal brand.
Now, let’s move this out of the stadium into our world: It was never easier to create a really authentic brand. Now is the first time that individuals can really experience a brand and can choose the level of interaction. That’s exciting, but it requires trust, empowerment and ultimately liberation.