Then when mobile phones went mainstream, it was also your choice of wacky ringtone that set you apart – or simply annoyed everyone in the office.
In those days, the technology you were allocated at work – a Mac, a PC, a laptop and/or mobile phone – was at the cutting edge of technology compared to what you could afford at home.
Today, it is very different. My home Mac is significantly cooler than my company-assigned laptop and my own iPhone far more advanced than the company-issued brick I have in my suit pocket. Not only that, but your choice of laptop and mobile phone are now an accepted way of exhibiting your personality. Because of this, companies are starting to follow a ‘bring your own device’ approach to technology – they recognise that employees are happy to provide their own kit, if it makes them look cool, which saves the company money. I foresee work laptops and mobiles going the same way as the company car. As long as the IT department can cope with the security implications of all of these devices accessing the company network, what does it matter? The chief financial officer is happy if company costs go down and the human resources director is happy if employee engagement improves.
But for marketers, I guess bring-your-own creates something of a dilemma – we all want to be the coolest kid in the company, but is it appropriate to have a smarter phone than the boss, or a slicker laptop than the chief information officer? Maybe not, but I guess we are all techie geeks at heart now, and so why not?