Over the last few weeks I've been lucky enough to have some conversations with the rather smart and talented copywriter (and all round good bloke) Marc Lucas. During one of these he uttered a phrase which I think is a fantastic way to sum up what marketing communications need to be today. That phrase was "the brand defining gesture."
I just think this perfectly sums up what brands need to be doing today, whether it's doing stuff, making helpful stuff (utility) or making bits of interesting communication. It just ties them all together under a bigger theme, and gives a better goal to shoot at than 'communications' or 'marketing'.
It's also I think a timeless thought about great marketing communications. Brand defining gestures used to be ads or retail experiences - typically one way (and a little selfish) in nature. Now they tend to be stuff that is a bit more generous and reciprocal in nature.