What do you see?
An icon? A piece of critical infrastructure? An engineering marvel? A rush hour headache?
All of these answers are right, but there’s one more that sums up the shift towards inside-out marketing and an owned-media first approach to communications. You see, the bridge was built 88 years ago and, since then, it’s gone about the function of linking the north and south sides of Sydney harbour, for the most part, extremely well. But it took 66 years for someone to spot a different way to use the bridge.
One bloke looked at the bridge and didn’t see infrastructure or engineering – he saw an experience.
That man was Paul Cave, founder of Bridge Climb. It was a radical idea at the time, one that required huge grit and dedication on his part to realise. Now, over 3 million people from 137 countries have experienced the bridge climb and a number of other iconic bridges around the world have created similar experiences.
Bridge Climb now makes over $10m in profit every year.
When you think about it, Paul Cave simply took an existing piece of infrastructure, something that had been built and paid for many years ago, and changed the lens. In doing so, he identified a whole new way to extract economic and commercial gain from an existing asset. And that is, in essence, what an owned-first approach to marketing does for a business.
Look at the assets you have in your business. Now change the lens, think about how else they can be leveraged for commercial and communication effect. Somewhere in your business there is a Sydney Harbour Bridge, an asset that has been created, doing a good, albeit one-dimensional, job that is waiting for someone to change the lens and use it differently. It could be your packaging, your website, your real estate or your data. Change the lens from function to experience and it will become apparent.