Back in 2008, Noah Brier, a digital strategist at Naked Communications, had an epiphany: Why not use the Web to get immediate feedback on how people really think of a brand? After all, a brand is what a company is in its consumers’ minds, not what the brand says about itself. The result was Brand Tags, a site that flashed brand names in front of people and asked them to choose the word that first sprung to mind. It then created a tag cloud of these tags. Wal-Mart’s cloud, for instance, was dominated by “cheap.”
Brand Tags captured that attention of many at the time, when the ad industry was waking up to the incredible changes digital empowerment was wreaking on brands. At just 26, Brier became something of an industry celebrity, landing on Fast Company’s list of the 10 most creative minds in advertising a year later, along with industry luminaries Dan Wieden, Jeff Goodby and Alex Bogusky.
Now Brier is out of the agency business but again trying to capture the marketing zeitgeist. The talk these days is less about consumer empowerment — that’s a given — but about how brands can act as publishers in their own right. Percolate, a publishing tool Brier built with co-founder James Gross, is his play at converting the world’s biggest brands over to the gospel of content curation