TransBrands – The future of business – lessons from Pandora and the blue Na'vi

My friend Carol had to go back and see the Imax version of Avatar in 3D a second time last Saturday.

Carol, Glenn and I had gone to the morning show and it was awesome.  I think it represents the future of entertainment.  It is a true TransBrand.

A what?

Turn the clock back one hundred years.  Farmer John used to take his eggs and milk into town.  His neighbors brought their produce and they traded with each Avatarother or exchanged dollars.

Then the world got sophisticated.  It certainly got bigger as the cities grew.  No longer did the luxury exist of knowing each individual producer.  So instead Farmer John “branded” his products.  He built trust with the number of years he was in business, the quality of his product.  While he was doing that, other were following his lead in soaps, clothes and all things “branded”.  It was the golden age of products and manufacturing.  Tide, Levi’s,  Coke, Kleenex, Nike, Band-Aid, Gillette, Formica and, in keeping with the Farmer John and produce theme; Chiquita.

Then the world got sophisticated.  Why not brand our services?  People are copying our products and creating competitive brands.  For every Tide, there was a Cheer or a Gain.   For Coke there was Pepsi.  Each diluted the profits of the catagory so organizations started looking at branding their services as well.   The 1970s through the 1990’s saw the emergence of the service brand.  McDonalds, H&R Block, Bank of America, Mastercard/Visa, Mr. Goodwrench.

Then the world got sophisticated.  My acquaintance Jim Gilmore (co-author of The Experience Economy) points out that by combining a product brand and a service brand you can create an Experience Brand.  No longer did dinner entail soup and salad, now we had to have eatertainment at Rain Forest Cafe.  The Starbucks coffee was replaced with the Paris side walk cafe experience.

But what comes after product brands, service brands and experience brands?

Trans Brands.  

These are products and organizations that guarantee change.  They are agents of transition, hence TransBrands.  You don’t buy them because you think that maybe, perhaps, you might get a great purchase.  You pay more, a lot more, to get to a different place.   Does Oil of Olay Regenerist remove wrinkles?  You bet.  Will Red Adair put out your oil well fire?  Absolutely!  Does the TV show Biggest Loser prove that heavy can be replaced by thin?  On national TV it can.

So when you “absolutely, positively have to get it there overnight” (FedEx) you move to a Trans Brand.  A transformation and transition product or service.

Come and join the ranks of the future.  Come and change your world, and that of your clients with the qualities shared with Steve Jobs, Avatar – the movie, your hairdresser (hopefully yours is a TransBrand), the Statue of Libery, Gillette, Disney and Harley Davidson.

So how do you create a TransBrand?

Hang on, the journey begins.

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