The Whiteboard: How tech brands might reinvent the humble home
For just about every material item in our lives, there is a well-known, leading brand or brands.
Our cars, food, clothes, phones, computers, furniture — everything in our house is branded except, ironically, the house itself. While there are several large homebuilders in this country with assets in the billions, none have established a top-of-mind national brand for homes, apartments or condominiums that would be the equivalent in awareness of Coke, Nike or even Scrub Daddy.
The lack of a truly dominant housing brand makes me wonder if there’s an opportunity for an established brand to swoop in and create premium options. So, imagine with me for a moment if three of the hottest tech-driven brands in the world decided to build their own branded residences.
Google House™: Google would build the most connected, informational house ever conceived, right? The entire house would have voice-sensitive receptors to help you through the day. “OK, Google, where did I put my car keys?” or “OK, Google, it’s a little warm in here. Turn down the thermostat and put on my favorite music.” Lights, appliances and climate control would all reply to your whims. And, if you allow it, you could ask your house for its advice on the best vacation spots, how to find a reliable plumber, recipes for appetizers for the party you’re planning, or to summarize the day’s news with the political slant that you prefer. All information, all the time, at least as long as the internet connection is working.
Amazon Abode™: Amazon would build a house that runs itself. Every last consumable item in your house would be inventoried, tracked and replaced as needed. Homeowners would authorize automatic replenishment for staples like milk, bread and other favorite foods, while requiring confirmation to replace other items that are only for special occasions. The Amazon Abode would track your clothing and remind you of ideal combinations of shirts and ties, or dresses and blouses. It would even note that other women who wear this dress often choose these earrings. “Would you like a pair?” your house asks. “They can be delivered by drone in time for tonight’s party.”
Apple iHome™: Apple would create a home with simple, yet elegant, design and give homeowners the ability to customize and continually change their environment to their hearts’ content. It might include a sub-brand like the iWall, one wall or more in each room that consists entirely of a super-HD screen where the owner can change images, watch any kind of entertainment, draw, paint or just view photography. In any room, you could bring up your app library and run the latest games, or place yourself in the virtual reality of a rock concert, your employer’s conference room or the middle of Yellowstone National Park. The Apple iHome could make the experience of being at home so amazing that you would never have to leave the house. Which is good, because it would likely cost about three times more than a regular home and you won’t have any extra money.
It would seem that the emergence of branded homes is only a matter of time. And the choices could be limitless — an L.L. Bean Cabin, the BMW Ultimate Residential Machine, the Patagonia Eco-Yurt …
David Taylor is president of Lancaster-based Taylor Brand Group, which specializes in brand development and marketing technology. Contact him via www.taylorbrandgroup.com.