Polymathic brands and the new no borders world of digital business

Strange isn’t it?

Probably the biggest question we ask ourselves as marketers, the one definition we all learned from Kotler’s book in college, isn’t so clear anymore.

It’s been pulled apart by our ADHD, polymathic, fragmented, digitally disrupted new normal.

How do you define a brand in the 21st century?

What are the parameters and where does a brand end and begin any more?

When a taxi service can also be a food delivery service. (Uber Eats)

When publishers can be agencies. (Vice, Buzzfeed, Daily Mail)

When a hardware company can be a wireless provider and watchmaker and luxury good shopper marketing expert. (Apple)

When a headphone company can be a music streaming station. (Beats)

When media brands can be events organisers. (Digiday, Re/Code)

When a search engine can be a WiFi provider, agency, investment fund, email provider and countless other things. (Google)

When a baseball league can be one of America’s biggest digital media entities. (MLBAM)

When an Irish agency can be an educator. (Core Knowledge)

Branding has never been black and white, and it’s only getting greyer. But with that shift comes a big opportunity.

These are all examples of businesses who understand precisely what they stand for, saw a gap and thought why the fuck not? Why couldn’t we be that *and* that?

In a business world that’s so obsessed with growth, scaling and the fabled ‘innovation’, actively encouraging this sort of thinking is obviously beneficial.

Adjacencies verticals are lucrative opportunities to grow, chances to leverage what you’re already good at while move a business forwards.

Plus, they’re exciting projects to be a part of, something out of the norm, which in turn keeps staff happy.

Sure, things are a slightly less sure and a little more nebulous these days.

Business is no longer concerned with protecting your corner of the market at all costs, it’s more about understanding the fact that there are no rules any more.

But what an interesting time to be a marketer eh?