Many you have probably read that Forrester believes that online experiences of the future will be: customized by the end user, aggregated at the point of use, relevant to the device and to the moment, and social as a rule (CARS). We've been seeing a number of companies — Avis, eBay, USAA, Weather.com, and many others — developing experiences that demonstrate attributes of our CARS model today. And we expect to see more and more given trends in consumer behavior, technology development, and the number of potential competitive threats companies face.
All that said, yesterday, I saw a commercial that was decidedly un-CARS-like. One of the things several of us who are thinking about CARS have found is that the A (standing for aggregated) is really a critical attribute. Not only are consumers getting more savvy about the online research they do (using multiple sources), but also the availability of data is allowing them to comparison shop more than ever before and the number of competitors that enable this type of comparison shopping is growing too. What we think this means is that companies' Web sites are no longer going to be the only go-to places to experience their brand — instead, they're going to have to be creative about how their content (or product) is aggregated elsewhere. But I digress . . .
So this commercial from Southwest Airlines wants consumers to know that its fares are ONLY available on its site. In fact, Southwest is so jazzed up about it, it filmed a musical of sorts to convey this idea.
So despite the large and growing number of sites allowing consumers to search for the best flight for a specific set of travel criteria, Southwest expects its consumers to go to its Web site to find their flights. Interesting brand play for a brand trying to be a cost leader. What do you think?