New communications channels have changed how brands and their customers interact, making it a necessity for businesses to adapt and create stronger digital relationships that extend and strengthen their customer connections. Where and how consumers spend their time online has changed. They're choosing aggregators and social media over individual company sites and are increasingly accessing content and information via the mobile web using smartphones and tablets. In fact, to put the explosion of mobile usage in perspective, according to the Mobile Marketing Association of Asia, of the 7 billion people on the planet, 4.8 billion have a mobile phone while only 4.2 billion own a toothbrush.
Online marketers who syndicate branded experiences in destination sites can ensure a strong brand presence within the market space. With the help of Facebook and its 900 million active users, social media has quickly established a track record of successfully connecting digital brands to an ever-growing fan base.
Marketers were quick to launch branded pages on Facebook that linked out to their own websites. The traffic to their Facebook pages quickly took off, but consumers didn't need to leave Facebook to click to the individual company's site — the brand had been brought to them.
Successful brands today go where consumers congregate rather than wait for consumers to come to them. They build up an extensive brand presence within consolidated sites. In essence, they syndicate their brand experience on digital properties outside their own domain. Brands such as Coca-Cola, Disney and Starbucks have been successful at creating powerful brand destinations within Facebook, with ever-growing fan bases of more than 20 million each.
Connecting to the fragmented consumer
Taking social media's cue on how to bring the brand to the consumer, a new type of consumer destination site is emerging. It's called the digital mailbox — an online consolidation of mail along with powerful interactive features.