“The medium is the message” is a quote included in Marshall McLuhan’s brilliant book that was published in 1964, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. 

In a nutshell, the quote says that the most important aspect is not the content transferred by the medium but the medium itself and the means by which the content is transferred. In other words, it is not the content of TV programming that is significant, but the fact that every home has a TV that allows people to watch programs. Beyond that, it argues that the medium shapes society.

The meaning of Marshall McLuhan’s prescient words is that communication between organizations and consumers will be reshaped around the new medium of messaging!

3 ways messaging will transform B2C engagements

Today, we can already see how messaging has changed personal relationships. The impact on brands may actually be even more meaningful and may transform brands. Possible implications and challenges:

  1. Consumers will expect that brands will be available 24/7. Consumers will contact brands 3X the number of times they contact today.
  2. Consumers will expect to receive VIP service in their preferred, day-to-day communication app. Sales, service and technical support will no longer be segregated, consumers will expect one “brand persona” to handle everything.
  3. Innovative brands will upgrade their relationships with consumers, to the level that the brand can contact customers also at any time, without the communication being considered spam.

Even more far-reaching implications: clothing frontiers may be replaced by personal, digital fashionista, computer manufacturers may be replaced by technical personas that will take care of all home or business computing needs, and sites such as Orbitz and Booking may be replaced by personal travel agents (yes, history repeating itself).

Providing VIP experiences at scale via messaging

Banks may not be replaced anytime soon, because they have “the regulator” that has allowed them not to change for the past 200 years :-(, but if they will, they will take the form of a personal finance advisor over WhatsApp or Messenger 🙂

In fact, this is happening today. If you are a very rich and an important customer, you are already communicating with your Personal-Relations Manager via WhatsApp or Messenger whenever you like. If you are a VIP, you are not looking for flights online.

The main challenge facing large brands wishing to offer their customers the option of conversing with the brand via messaging is – how to provide, consistent and cohesive experience at scale.