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Think Zero Degrees of Separation

Digital technology has taught us more about our customers than ever thought knowable before. Modern-day marketers are armed with insights that reduce the space between the brand and the consumer from what was once an “arm’s length” relationship to “zero degrees” of separation.

For marketers, it is the most significant trend of the past 50 years. You can develop an entangled customer relationship that adds significantly to the value provided in purchasing a product or service. The distance separating what works for the brand and what works for the consumer disappears.

Update June 29, 2016

Taking Entanglement to a New Extreme

GoPro and Red Bull signed a partnership agreement last month to make GoPro the exclusive action camera used at more than 1800 future Red Bull events.

GoPro has proven itself as the tiny camera thrill-seekers can take anywhere or affix to anything. According to C3 Metrics, the nail-biting footage of GoPro and the merging with Red Bull ushers in a new age of being witness to incredible events around the world.

Now these two extreme sports giants will collaborate in meeting the needs of the next generation to test the limits of going to the extreme.

Red Bull founded the energy drink category. From day one, there was a unique lifestyle entanglement approach. The brand was made synonomous with the extreme sports culture prized by adventurous young men.

With Red Bull, the distance between the brand and the user of the product disappears. The relationship, arguably, comes closer to zero degrees of separation than what can be found anywhere else in today’s business world.

“Red Bull gives you wings.” is more than a slogan for an energy drink. It is the rallying cry of a belief system shared by millions of people in 169 countries around the world. Wherever you turn in the global sports culture you are assaulted by Red Bull’s presence in one form or another.

The brand hosts events like the "Red Bull Flugtag" (German for "flight day" or "flying day"). This exciting competition will be coming to Boston in August. Flugtag competitors are challenged to construct a uniquely built flying machine. Then on “flight day”, the daredevil designer steps inside his or her creation and launches the “thing” off a 28-foot high platform.

In the past decade, more than 100 Red Bull Flugtags have been held worldwide, attracting 300,000 spectators. The Flugtag is just one of many unprecedented events Red Bull puts together each year.

During 2015 there was “Red Bull Barnstorming” where two British pilots became the first in the world to fly planes in formation through an opening in a building; the Wings for Life World Run had 100,000 participants in support of the Wings for Life foundation spinal injury cure; the biker Kenny Belaey was the first to pedal along a high-line wire suspended between two outcroppings in the French Alps.

Red Bull owns football teams, with clubs in Austria, Germany, the United States and Brazil featuring the Red Bull trademark in their names. For PlayStation, Red Bull developed its own in-game island, promoting the energy drink and the Red Bull Air Race event.

Red Bull (the energy drink) and Red Bull (the extreme sports phenomenon) are inextricably connected. Result: more than 60 billion cans of the energy drink sold over 28 years.

Zero degrees of separation between what the brand does and what the intended user values can pay off in a big way.

Update May 12, 2016

Being Close to 450 Million Fans

Forbes announced today that the Real Madrid Club de Futbol, commonly known as Real Madrid, is the most valuable soccer club in the world with a value of over $3.6 billion. That’s 12% more than last year. For the eleventh year in a row Real Madrid had the most revenue, $694 million.

Real Madrid’s financial success and the winning of 10 Champions League titles are driven by an extraordinary degree of closeness to 450 million fans worldwide. The Microsoft Cloud empowers Real Madrid to create a more personal connection with every fan from Madrid to Mumbai.

Microsoft Dynamics helps Real Madrid manage information about their admirers around the globe. Power BI reveals insights about the fans, enabling targeted delivery of specialized messaging. Cloud technology delivers a unique experience regardless of where a person may be located.

For the team’s most intense fans there is the International Madridista Club. More than 80,000 supporters have paid $35 or more to join. Members get a variety of benefits including the official club card, the Hala Madrid magazine, priority access to tickets, the newsletter, contests, discounts when visiting Madrid and more.

Madridista membership entangles fans in a rewarding interactive relationship. It’s similar to the way Amazon entangles online shoppers with the benefits of membership in its Prime program.

Real Madrid knows the importance of winning over each new generation. There are soccer training clinics offered by the Real Madrid Foundation that give teenagers in the U.S. a chance to live an adventure while playing their favorite sport.

The Foundation’s 5-day training camp is designed by the Real Madrid youth academy. Coached by professionals, the program fosters healthy nutrition, social development and, most of all, a lot of fun playing soccer. Clinics take place all over America in North Carolina, Seattle, Illinois, Washington, New York, Georgia and Virginia.

Proud graduates earn a signed Real Madrid diploma at the conclusion of the camp experience. It is the first of many memorable interactions with the team’s culture likely to happen over a lifetime for the campers.

There isn’t a sports team anywhere else that creates closeness to followers on the level Real Madrid achieves. With zero degrees of separation between the brand and devoted fans, it’s no wonder Real Madrid is the world’s most valuable soccer franchise.

Update April 12, 2016

Playbill’s New Theatre Going Experience

The iconic Playbill program has always provided an emotional connection to theatre goers. Many admirers keep copies as mementos of the occasion. There is a natural affinity between Playbill and the Broadway theatre. However, prior to the digital era, the depth of closeness was limited by Playbill’s printed format.

All of that changed early this year when the Playbill Passport mobile app was launched. With location-based entanglement, there is zero degrees of separation between the patron and the guide.

The app enhances your involvement before, during and after the show. You are automatically greeted upon entering the theatre. Useful information about the show’s running time, production, plot and cast as well as the theatre’s concession access, assisted hearing and other services are a tap away.

The show is brought to life with fun facts and photos you can share on social networks. Playbill Passport sends a notification to power down your phone before the performance begins and knows not to send messages once the show starts.

For your enjoyment later, the app finds nearby bars and restaurants. Ratings are displayed and reservations can be made. Excited by the performance? Grab an actor’s signature at the stage door with the touch of a fingertip on a smart phone. If you have stacks of Playbills at home, you can scan past covers to create a personal digital keepsake with all your favorites.

Transformation of the classic Playbill into a vital experience is gaining traction rapidly. Theatre goers like the shift in focus from one-to-one printed communication to becoming a one-with-one twosome doing remarkable things together.

Welcome to the new world of value-added entanglement.

Update March 22, 2016

Join the Fun at the Netflix “Make-it” Site

Netflix has been able to hold off the challenge from Amazon Prime by building a remarkable degree of closeness to users. The streaming pacesetter comes up with various ways to keep its community of believers involved with the brand.

A year ago Netflix introduced the “Make It” website, a satirical play on the do-it-yourself craze. The site features complex plans for making ludicrous gadgets that could increase viewing enjoyment. There are weird schematics, tutorials and templates to aid an electronics genius in assembling the helpful device.

The first Make-it gadget introduced was a big button in a wooden casing called The Switch. Press the button and it dims the lights, activates your phone’s Do Not Disturb feature and gets Netflix ready for streaming.

The fun is in imagining what it would be like to put all parts of The Switch together – an Arduino-compatible development kit, a bunch of LEDs, an IR transmitter, a Philips’ Hue lighting system and more.

Members are invited at the website to submit equally wild ideas for gadgets that might enhance the ease or pleasure of watching Netflix.

This month, plans were posted on the “Make It” website for making “Smart Socks.” Slip them on and the socks know if you’ve fallen asleep while binge watching. Your socks pause the show if you happen to doze off.

Like a joke shared between two good friends, here is Step 1 for creating “Smart Socks”: “Making Netflix socks from scratch means doing a little knitting and building some electronics. If knitting isn’t your thing, you can always enlist the help of a knitting-savvy friend or simply use socks you already own. To build the sensor, you’ll need an understanding of electronics, microcomputer programming and being comfortable around a soldering gun.”

It’s a flight of fancy that intensifies member association with Netflix. With zero degrees of separation between buyer and seller there is no limit to what can be done or dreamt of being done together. The brand and the consumer never let go of their entangled relationship.

We’ll be back to alert you to the next fantastic thing that might be presented on the “Make It website in response to a subscriber’s suggestion.

Any marketer can find inspiration in watching Netflix and Amazon compete to gain and keep zero degrees of separation between the brand and the subscriber.

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Sebastian and Stan are inviting interested advertising and marketing professionals to be part of their LinkedIn group.

If you choose to join, you become part of a community which shares great examples and personal experiences dealing with entangling the brand and the consumer in a mutually beneficial relationship. Along with the other "insiders," you can gain a decided advantage in the fierce online competition for market share.

Click here to join the Entangled Marketing™ community on LinkedIn.