The paradigm of brand is worn out. Marketing and strategy must now be about shaping the competitive ecosystem.
Globalization, at its core, is about a new operating theory of the world based on connectedness between, across, above, below and through preexisting political, social, economic, thematic, geographic and security boundaries. The connections and interactions can be so intense and transformative, says the author, that we can no longer distinguish between actors and their environments. Advances in telecommunication have linked the information and economic domains of customer, competitor and collaborator as never before. And, because all players have access to virtually the same information and information technologies, and can therefore equally target a demographic with precision, there is no compelling competitive advantage in any digital marketing capability. At the end of the day, marketers confront the same dilemma they turned to the Internet and information technology to solve: consumers opting out in ever greater numbers. To grow a business today, says the author, companies must take a marketing ecosystems view, which shifts away from the logic of “brand” as the primary unit for business strategy. Citing Microsoft, Google, AT&T and McKinsey, among others, the author suggests that the only sensible way for a company to compete is not by offering new products with similar functional attributes, but by being better than its rivals at molding the ecosystem in which the competition takes place.