"Brands exist in people's heads" goes his premise - and here everyone's
brand-related tags are collated and rendered as a swarm, creating a graphic
illustration of the brand as socially-constructed collective
perception, with each perception proportionally scaled by it's
importance to the group. [Interestingly, as participation with the site
has increased, Brier's noted more "noise" being introduced - profanity,
brand bashing, etc.]
How does it work? Brier's site shows you a logo, and you free-associate a word (that becomes a tag) into the handy blank field. Then the next logo appears. It's shockingly simple, and irritatingly addictive. So people come to you to tell you about your brand. Contrast this with Summize, the Twitter search tool that searches public twits/tweets for brand mentions and aggregates them, or their "sentiment"
He's cobbled together a single player Google Image Labeler, only now instead of help Google tag every image using your free labor, you can help Brands get a gut check. And make Naked look brilliant. Sweeet.
What I really liked was the gaming aspect of the site - Brier lets you try to guess the brand based on the swarm and see the tags posted by referral URL (so you can ferret out any domain-based swarm biases :-)
Melissa conjectures that the site coding may reveal potential Brier-based brand bias in the order in which brands were entered - Nike is #1 (ID=1), Google is #2 (ID=2), etc. - but his numbering scheme skips from #9 (H&M) and doesn't pick up again until #25 (Yahoo!). Perhaps this has something to do with their client list? Or maybe he's leaving room to put them in later?
Check these swarms for W+K partners:
If Brand Tags sits at one end of the spectrum of collective brands (where people are required to go to a destination to create and experience collective perceptions), Summize sits at the other.
Summize positions itself as a provider of "conversational search", and it searchs public twitter streams for keywords. Enter a brand, get a slew of brand-relevant tweets. In aggregate, it's a pretty interesting snapshot of what people are saying, right now, about your brand. You can even sift for sentiment.