Establishing Collective Brand Value
Written by: Kyle Lin
Everyone’s got their own, self-proclaimed great metaphor to describe brands and branding. I tend to look at any brand, small or large, as a collection— a lot like something you may have collected in your youth like comic books, barbie dolls or stamps.
I was a rock and fossil guy. I loved the idea of stumbling across a great find. Whether in my own backyard or at the museum gift shop, there was something special about that feeling of adding something new and interesting to my collection. The hope that my dusty drawer of rocks would some day be worth a lot of money sometimes crossed my mind, but I mostly did it because I loved rocks and loved the idea of a set of things that were in some way connected. My dad hoped the day would come that I’d stop bringing dust in to the house.
My love for rocks faded and looking back, they were probably never worth anything more than the ground they came from, but my interest in collections as a concept only grew and I later found that it translated well into my career in advertising as an art director, visual designer, and storyteller.
Every brand, like a collection, is a set of things. These things are as much a brand’s products and services as they are a brand’s website, messaging, and advertising. And like any collection it’s silly to think that a brand’s advertising would be judged any differently than the product they’re selling, it’s all part of one large system.
Like any collection there are gems and odd balls and some of them work better than others. My drawer was filled with “cool” rocks like obsidian and pyrite, but I also had a few outliers that worked well in the set like a random clam fossil and a piece of petrified wood. Admirers would usually forego the clam fossil for the shiner quartz crystal, until I explained what the brownish, clam-shaped oval was and where I had found it. The crystal was beautiful, but just a compulsive museum gift shop buy. Once they hear the story of the clam, they understand it’s true value and were often interested in hearing others’ stories.
I later systematically boxed and labeled each rock and the clam fossil became the star of the show. Friends and family were always selecting it over others because I learned how to tell its entire, mysterious story with a few simple words, “Clam Fossil / Age: Unknown / Found: Backyard.” Looking back, the crystal was probably necessary for connoisseur street-cred but I found that people reacted most strongly to my rocks when they had an interesting story to tell.
These days, digital technology allows anyone to start a business and build a brand. To understand the impact, if you look at any parody business website, you’ll agree that the barrier of entry in terms of brand quality is unfortunately lower than ever. Your website is your storefront and might be the first and potentially the only brand engagement that anyone ever has with your product or service. For this reason you should take the utmost care in using it to tell a compelling brand story. And within your brand story each piece—product, service, advertising, or otherwise has a sub-story to tell that should ladder up to a specific emotional idea or a relatable human concept. The art of how you tell this story is the magic that makes or breaks your collection.
Sparkling quartz crystals are great and often shiny prerequisites to grab people’s attention, but once they’re in, if you can’t communicate how your brand fits into your customer’s life as a whole, it may be time to reassess your collection’s story.
How AWS helps NASCAR delight its fans
AWS needs no introduction to readers of Technology Magazine but we rarely get an opportunity to look closely at how it serves the sports sector. All major sports draw in a huge supporter base that they want to nurture and support. Technology is the key to every major sports organization and enabling this is the driving force for AWS, says Matt Hurst, Head of Global Sports Marketing and Communications for AWS. “In sports, as in every industry, machine learning and artificial intelligence and high performance computing are helping to usher in the next wave of technical sports innovation.”
AWS approaches sports in three principal areas. “The first is unlocking data’s potential: leagues and teams hold vast amounts of data and AWS is enabling them to analyze that data at scale and make better, more informed decisions. The second is engaging and delighting fans: with AWS fans are getting deeper insights through visually compelling on-screen graphics and interactive Second Screen experiences. And the third is rapidly improving sports performance: leagues and teams are using AWS to innovate like never before.”
Among the many global brands that partner with AWS are Germany's Bundesliga, the NFL, F1, the NHL, the PGA Tour and of course NASCAR. NASCAR has worked with AWS on its digital transformation (migrating it's 18 petabyte video archive containing 70 years of historical footage to AWS), to optimize its cloud data center operations and to enable its global brand expansion. AWS Media Services powers the NASCAR Drive mobile app, delivering broadcast-quality content for more than 80 million fans worldwide. The platform, including AWS Elemental MediaLive and AWS Elemental MediaStore, helps NASCAR provide fans instant access to the driver’s view of the race track during races, augmented by audio and a continually updated leaderboard. “And NASCAR will use our flagship machine learning service Amazon SageMaker to train deep learning models to enhance metadata and video analytics.”
Using AWS artificial intelligence and machine learning, NASCAR aims to deliver even more fan experiences that they'd never have anticipated. “Just imagine a race between Dale Earnhardt Sr and Dale Jr at Talladega! There's a bright future, and we're looking forward to working with NASCAR, helping them tap into AWS technology to continue to digitally transform, innovate and create even more fan experiences.”
Just as AWS is helping NASCAR bridge that historical gap between the legacy architecture and new technology, more customers are using AWS for machine learning than any other provider. As an example, who would have thought five years ago that NFL would be using ML to predict and prevent injury to its players? Since 2017, the league has utilized AWS as its official cloud and ML provider for the NFL Next Gen Stats (NGS) platform, which provides real-time location data, speed, and acceleration for every player during every play on every inch of the field. “One of the most potentially revolutionary components of the NFL-AWS partnership,” says Matt Hurst, “is the development of the 'Digital Athlete,' a computer simulation model that can be used to replicate infinite scenarios within the game environment—including variations by position and environmental factors, emphasizing the league's commitment to player safety.”