Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
The networked enterprise is a knowledge-intensive, decentralized organizational model with data exchange processes, with a global and local presence, with talent connected inside and outside the strict limits of the enterprise. The networked enterprise is defined by its capacity to adopt ICTs thanks to a profound cultural and organizational transformation when faced with a complex and demanding market.
It is a phenomenon that grows in all advanced economies and that has been described in many books and articles by Manuel Castells. Along the same lines, Juan Freire and Antoni Gutierrez-Rubí state in point 1 of Manifiesto Crowd that “markets are relationships.”
The networked organization means decentralizing: networks of semiautonomous units or strategic alliances between companies. The advantages of this model include adaptability, flexibility and coordination of objectives, knowledge and innovation in both a local and regional perspective, as well as a global one.
In short, this type of enterprise does not express itself by the inside-out, near-far or top-bottom. They missed that episode on Sesame Street, or they have just forgotten it. The search for greater competitiveness encourages them to adopt this type of logic, which are accompanied obviously by the support of cloud media.
Competitiveness moves with a click: with new distances and behavior. This logic is based on the concept of the network, which describes structures comprising people and organizations connected by one or several types of relationship. Technology has made great advances in this aspect, however from a brand perspective, some very important questions have been raised. Most are to do with balance among consistency (control, cohesion, uniqueness, homogeneity…) and dispersion (cloud, node, link, diversity, network…) Many companies are moving on these variables and their impact on the management of their brand is evident.
A brand must be the glue holding these nodes and connections together. A brand defines the horizon for the organization and acts as unifying force because it establishes the meaning, the value proposal, and the facts and behavior that sustain it. When any company is cloud-based, the brand must act as a guiding element to give consistency to all points of contact (marketing, HR, innovation, etc.) and to ensure a shared focus (objectives, corporate culture, stories, etc.)
Brands set out a journey, a reality that invites each individual to travel along through different supports, contexts and stories. Faced with a dynamic, experiencial and bi-directional reality, the brand behaves as a facilitator. More is expressed as a brand territory (an open mental space equipped with different realities) than those mythical USPs (unique selling propositions).
A tip for managing a brand in a cloud environment: everything is periferal, the brand must be the center. It is the best way to generate a memorable mental frame (that sets the brand apart from the noise), it helps the consumer to buy (guarantee and trust), and aligns the entire organization with a inspiring viewpoint.
Javier Velilla (@javiervelilla) is founding partner and director of the strategic communication consultancy company Comuniza. He is an expert in brand management, planning and social networks. He is also a professor at higher education centers, businesses and institutions, as well as an academic researcher and author of a book on branding.