Time as a Platform

Here’s an idea for every brand looking for innovation: make it about time.

You know who you are—you’re the ones looking at what everyone else is doing and wondering how to catch up. That’s the problem with time. Once you are behind, it’s hard to catch up.

However, consumers are a forgiving group and they will work with you if you can save them something. That “something” is generally defined as money, in a value-oriented economy. However, right now the world is defining value differently. It’s not how much money you can save. Instead, it’s about how much value you bring to my life. Ask yourselves these questions.

Do I bring value by protecting the planet?

Do I bring value by making my consumers feel good?

Do I bring value by providing something they can’t get anywhere else?

And, the one that you should be thinking about, if you aren’t: Do I bring value by saving them time?

Time, in today’s culture, is a commodity. Sure, we have new devices meant to save time (instapot, anyone?). We have people to help us save time, navigational systems that show us the fastest route, and devices that are happy to tell us how many minutes we are spending doing various activities (including wasting time). None of these things really give us more hours in a day; they just help us, when used judiciously, figure out time management.

Then, just as the holidays hit last year, along came Chick-fil-a’s reminder of how to make time count. The company’s campaign around the “Time Shop” allowed users to download and personalize a “gift of time,” giving everything from time to cook together to time to catch up on favorite TV shows together. The brand quoted a survey they had commissioned which reported that 73% of respondents said “they want more time together with people they care about.

The campaign got a lot of attention, although we don’t have the numbers on how many actually took the time to create a gift of time. The brand’s efforts hit a mark, though, causing people to think about how they spend their time, and how to ensure they make the most of it.