In cooking, deconstructing a dish is a technique that only great chefs can do well: The process involves taking a familiar recipe apart ingredient by ingredient and reconstructing it in a way that delivers the essence of the original dish, but is plated in a new and exciting manner. Imagine an apple pie where you see the crust, the apples, and perhaps a sauce with all of the spices otherwise found in the original pie, arranged separately and artistically on a plate. It allows you to combine the individual attributes of the original dish according to your own sense of taste, while never forgetting the experience of eating an apple pie.
The secret to deconstructing a recipe successfully lies in the chef's fundamental understanding of the original dish -- a difficult task to master. It is the reason why only great chefs can plate a deconstructed dish that is better than the original. Taking a recipe apart is one thing. Putting it back together is a completely different matter.
In much the same way, today's internet is deconstructing your brand. The only problem is that your customers are putting it back together -- brand attribute by brand attribute -- without your supervision, and serving it to themselves. Five or six years ago, you were able to present your brand through a single website. You had full control over the design, the images, and the information you presented. You controlled how your brand was perceived as soon as someone logged on to your URL.
Today, customers' interactions with your brand are very different. If people want to see your up-to-the-minute news, they look for you on Twitter or Facebook. If people want to see a copy of your latest commercial, they log on to You Tube. If people want to find out about your product, they Google you and add the word "review."
If you are a fashion brand and people are looking for your latest runway video, they are more likely to search for you on You Tube or WWD.com. If you are a car company, your customers might prefer to read other customer reviews rather than find out about the benefits that your homepage highlights.
When people find you online, they are typically finding your brand one piece at a time, based on the specific element they are interesting in seeing. Just like a chef who has deconstructed an apple pie, you need to worry about more than just your website when you think of your brand. You need to worry about how each aspect of your brand's story and image will fare on its own, as well as when it is reconstructed. For some, this poses a tremendous problem, but for others, it presents a tremendous opportunity.
Let's say your company makes cough medicine. You might have one product, but you have a range of brand attributes and product benefits that influence your customer's purchase decision. Some might care about finding the strongest product available. Others might prefer an all-natural product. Others still might be more concerned about price point. They might all like your product, but for very different reasons.
If it were 2006, the easy solution for promoting different brand attributes or product benefits would be to create a new page on your website. You might just revise your site's navigation to highlight core aspects that are in demand. However, today's deconstructive nature of the internet creates an incredible opportunity -- if you can use each of your product benefits as a way to reach out to individual niches within your customer base.