Being a marketing guy, today I was reading an article on branding by Bill Horan (@bresslergroup) called “Branded Interactions: Trends and Strategies for Digital-Physical Products.” It’s a short article, but very insightful on the new ways consumers interact with brands.

In a nutshell, the author talks about how, in the last five years, the accelerating adoption of technology has transformed both product design and product branding. Previously, a company would create branding associations with its customers through “physical” elements like form and shape. They were strictly “visual.” hyperculturemia

Today, however, there is a lot more to the product experience than visual design. There is now a “digital” aspect to the brand experience. Think Internet of Things (IoT) – smart appliances, devices you talk to, and on and on. Because of the increase in technology, products are more sophisticated, and therefore there’s a whole new branding aspect when it comes to the customer experience.

I really liked his description of “disruptive interactions:”

Disruptive interactions change the way people fundamentally interact in a space or with aspects of a product or service. When successful, these interactions become the new standard, leading people to wonder, 

Bill used the example of Uber, AirBnB and Moen. Uber, obviously, disrupted the way people hire cars. AirBnB disrupted the way people travel. And Moen’s motion-sensitive faucet disrupted the way people activate one of the most-used household appliances.

It made me think of the latest generation of online quotation systems that some custom plastic injection molders are now using. They’re online, interactive systems for giving you fast quotes for plastic injection molding projects. You simply upload your 3D CAD model, specify your part quantity, plastic material and other characteristics, click Submit and voila – you get a quote for your plastic injection mold and parts. Some even provide the quote instantly. Some also provide the ability to add secondary processes to your parts like painting or chrome plating. And if you make any changes to your options, the quote updates instantly to reflect your changes. It couldn’t be any quicker or easier to get a quote.

Of course, it wasn’t always this fast and easy to get a quote. It used to take weeks of manual computations to put such a quote together. It took spreadsheets and emails. But today, thanks to technology and huge databases of past project quotations to draw from, the quotation process has been automated and it’s all done online.