How Brands can Create a Better Service through Mobile

It seems obvious, but as an ‘always there, always on’ channel, mobile gives brands the opportunity to give their customers a better, more frictionless service. Mary Meeker has highlighted the media shift from traditional channels to mobile and tablet devices. Google has shown that mobile is used at every stage of the consumer journey, and 80% of users are doing that in conjunction with other media. For example, their recent in-store study found that customers often use their smartphones as an assistant to check information whilst they are in-store.

Mobile service may seem obvious, yet many brands fail to do it. An IAB study found that only 63% of the top 100 brands have a mobile optimised website. Even where there are mobile sites, there is a limited mobile experience. A recent DMA study highlighted an often over-looked area for brand service. Making a phone call! Simple services such as click-to-call buttons or scheduled call-backs were top of the consumer priority list.

In spite of this, some brands have understood the need to create a mobile-optimised experience across their whole service – from Marks and Spencer to Nike to Starbucks. The following Slideshare shows the issue and how brands can gain some quick wins from a simple, yet optimised mobile service:

The Mobile Campaign that’s Anti-Mobile

Besides bringing great benefits, smartphones are also a scourge. Look in any bar and see how many groups of ‘friends’ are stuck on their phones, ignoring each other and not speaking. One of the most useful things that brands can do (especially leisure brands) is to give users a break from their devices. Here’s a concept to make people put away their phones and talk to each other, the Offline Glass.  The glass has a section taken out at the bottom. It will only stand up if a phone is propping up the glass. Clever.

How Kenneth Cole is Changing Fashion through Mobile and Social Media

‘During the @kennethcole runway show, out of respect for other members of the audience please make sure your phones and tablets are switched ON. This show will embrace the intrusive nature of social media.’

It wasn’t long ago that fashion shows were largely private affairs, where photography and video were tightly managed. Yet  the opening words above, greeted the audience to Kenneth Cole’s 2013 New York Fashion Week show.

The advent of smartphones, with high megapixel cameras and social media apps has challenged the highly controlled world of fashion shows. That challenge is similar to many retailers, where consumers are able to search, photograph and share products instantly. Whilst most runway shows barely tolerate smartphones, Kenneth Cole clearly embraces it. His front row was littered with fashion bloggers all using their smartphones to Tweet, Instagram and Vine (if that is now a verb) the event. He went a step further though, and at the end of the show the models came down the catwalk sending live Tweets from their phones. It was in the name of charity, as each Tweet sent resulted in a $1 donation from Kenneth Cole to an Aids charity.

By embracing smartphone driven social media in this way, Kenneth Cole has shown how brands can:

–       Use mobile social media to connect brands from the physical world to online channels

–       Bring amplification through sharing these events in social media

–       Create a long-tail of brand awareness through user generated content or co-creation

I previously blogged about how mobile social media were disrupting fashion and retail, but Kenneth Cole’s show takes it much further than that. Whilst it creates an opportunity to reach a global audience previously unavailable, Kenneth Cole is using mobile and social to challenge the traditional dynamic of fashion. With fashion bloggers using the new tools of the trade, it brings immediacy to a global audience. With models Tweeting down the catwalk, they are no longer simply ‘hangers’ for the clothes but now active participants in the event. And with celebrities populating the front rows, alongside the journalist and bloggers, are mobile and social creating a new form of reality fashion show?

Aviva insurance use mobile app to offer reduced premiums to good drivers

Aviva has created a new ‘behavioural driving’ app, called Aviva Drive, for UK motoring insurance. The app is available for Android in Google Play. Drivers install the app and use it for 200 miles  of driving. Using the GPS and accelerometer, it assesses their driving and discounts up to 20% of the price of their next insurance, based on the results.

Motoring insurers have been looking at in-car telematics for a while, and some have considered linking this to insurance premiums. However the Aviva app not about delivering this kind of service. It is much more about creating brand engagement and new customers, rather than monitoring drivers’ behaviour. Aviva have taken a sensible test and learn approach to the app. It was first released in beta in the autumn, and besides ensuring the success of the functionality, they added a couple of additional features for the full release. These include hints and tips on better driving as well as a bit of gamifaction in the form of score sharing and social media integration.

The strength of this app in terms of the Aviva brand is that it is being used to acquire new customers by rewarding good driving, rather than punishing those who are less careful. Interestingly though, in the test version fewer women downloaded the app than men. Although Android has more male users in the UK, the disparity seemed to be greater than handset ownership. This could present an opportunity to address the change in the EU insistence on equal premiums for women. A spokesman for Aviva said: ‘We would call on safer women drivers to try out the Aviva Drive app as we believe it could reduce their premiums which would be helpful, particularly with the EU Gender Directive coming in to force next month.’

It remains to be seen if the app users want to engage with an insurance brand by winning badges and points. There are certainly further opportunities though. Once engaged with the brand through this app, Aviva could continue that experience through mobile, post purchase. With additional functionality has the potential to become a brand platform or service app beyond the initial insurance quote. The app can be downloaded here.

Two Reasons Why Baumgartner’s Jump was Significant for Brands

Felix Baumgartner’s jump for the Red Bull Stratos project created a number of records. Besides the significance of the feat, it was also important for brands for two reasons:

Firstly, it was not broadcast through television, but on YouTube (gaining nearly 8 million live viewers). Whilst there have been live events on the internet for a number of years, nothing of this nature has ever been broadcast in this way. We are moving away from traditional TV formats, to internet-based viewing on a range of devices – from TV sets, to tablets to mobile phones. Could the jump mark the start of a new way of broadcasting?

Secondly, the jump was not orchestrated by an agency, such as NASA or a private adventurer with brand sponsorship. Adventurous though it was Baumgartner’s feat was about creating brand content for Red Bull. Ironically it also created plenty of data for NASA to sift through. For many brands, the future of engagement is around content. Red Bull have been doing it successfully for some years and the jump was the pinacle of this approach.

There’s more here on Forbes Magazine

Not to be outdone, Nestle sent a KitKat into space the following day. Whilst it only attracted 33,000 views, a fraction of the Red Bull visits, the budget was considerably less. A nice piece of guerrilla marketing.