Agile means strong stretchy and accommodating
On Friday, Orange launched their contactless payment system, Quick Tap, in conjunction with Barclaycard, on the Samsung Tocco Lite handset.
There are at least ten other distinct brands involved in Orange’s leap into new territory. Nine are working together:
- Orange, and Quick Tap’s leading partner, Barclaycard
- the providers of the handset technology, Samsung, and
- at least six retail brands supporting the initiative by taking payments via the new contactless system
In Orange here’s a brand, driven by developments in technology, assuming a new role as banking provider – virtually, as far as consumers care.
A move like this takes strength, flexibility and the ability for a brand to accommodate its surroundings. Strength, because only a strong brand can transfer its equity into a new space; flexibility, because in that new space Orange will assume a new proposition and set of values; and the ability to accommodate, because there in the new space the brand finds itself also alongside a host – hopefully a harmonious host – of neighbouring propositions and values: Barclaycard, Samsung, McDonald’s etc.
Strength, flexibility and the ability to accommodate are qualities you might find in what, at Corke Wallis, we’d call an agile brand.
VISA, who’ve tested their own mobile phone contactless payment system, is also in the mix, partnered with O2. This pair of brands, as competitors, are coincidental to the Orange initiative, and share something important in common: their trialling of new services. This is another quality of agile branding: a commitment to intelligent testing, and the ability to react.
There will have been quantitative targets that the Orange team sought to satisfy with their testing. An overall score of purchase intent is implied with the claim that, “two thirds of triallists [were] wanting to take up the service”; and no doubt both Orange and VISA have researched among their triallists some more emotional aspects of response, with questions about banking brands’ all-important sense of “trust”, or questions looking to check for impact on Orange’s treasured sense of “fun”.
This is what agile branding is about: strong brands that can stretch, and accommodate their surroundings; and that do it from the outset with an ongoing commitment to intelligent testing and reaction.