The Threat the Internet of Things Poses to your Brand
In 1999, Kevin Ashton a British Entrepreneur coined the term the Internet of Things (IoT) to describe things in our everyday lives which are embedded with electronics of some type that allow them to exchange information over the Internet.
In a paper from 2014, from Brand Perfect, it was stated:
“When you buy things that are embedded in the internet of things, it changes your relationship with the company you buy it from.” This directly ties to branding and the relationship between the company and the consumer.
A Matter of Trust
It really boils down to trust. When a consumer buys a smart product, they are giving up control of the device to some algorithm which will drive the device to behave on the customer's behalf. It's the same when you're a passenger in one of those driver-less cars. You gain a deep understanding of the complexity. The sensors that exist in the vehicle's infrastructure as well as sensors installed in other vehicles would plan the best and safest route, updating the route as needed and notifying the passenger of the estimated time of arrival.
No Room for Mistakes
For example, Target thought they had identified the signs related to someone having a baby. They just made the mistake of sending a 17 year old congrats which was intercepted by her parents. They were not too happy. In the age of big data, companies need to be extremely careful what they do with it and how they use it to engage consumers. Companies that do a good job with this data will be winners, those that slip up and the word will spread, will have a difficult time with customers.
Data needs to build trust. Brands need to know what they want to stand for. A brand that ventures into the World of IoT needs to be extremely cautious. There are certain concerns that exist for those wanting to venture into this space. When consumers buy a product that is embedded within the IoT, it changes their relationship with the company they bought if from.
You might have trusted them to this point with buying a toaster or a clock radio, but with IoT things get a tad more personal. They now have the access to user data about you. They'll uncover everything from how you go about your day, your schedule, your heart rate, your location at certain times. It really can't be anymore invasive.
Consumers will feel as if it is more of an intrusion up on their lives than anything. When that happens, they are likely to trust a brand less and perhaps brands that are doing it the wrong way, will notice the churn effect, as more fans leave than come on board.
Take insurance providers for example. Insurers are offering rebates and discounts and low premiums if they can monitor your driving and your habits. Everything from your tire pressure to your mileage, from your average speed to how many right turns you make. But, pretty soon, Cars will enter the IoT world in a big way, that these device will even be needed. They'll just know. How do consumers deal with something like that? Who will have control of the data. As smart as the IoT can be, it is up to us humans to be smarter and protect our data.