Forrester Research believes that online experiences of the future will be "customized by the end user, aggregated at the point of us, relevant to the device and to the moment, and social as a rule."
All of that has implications for brands, not the least of which is that brands increasingly are experienced on a screen, ranging from smartphone to tablet to PC to TV.
Customized, aggregated, relevant and social also means it will be increasingly easy for the brand experience to include third-party information such as comparative prices, user reviews and other information that can reinforce or weaken a brand promise.
And that sort of thing is difficult to shape and control over the full range of social mechanisms that already exist, not to mention what will increasingly exist in the future. All of that is just a way of noting that brands genuinely have lost control of their brands.
It used to be that a firm could shape and control its end user and prospect touch points. These days, those touch points include comments shared by customers all over the Web. Brand management therefore has to actively include all the major ways people talk to each other on the Web.
That is every bit as hard as it sounds.