Eight points to remember when building mobile brand experiences


Wavelength’s Dr Darren Coleman outlines the eight points marketers need to keep in mind when building brand experiences so they can make the most of mobile.

I’ve been involved with mobile for over 20 years yet marketers still struggle to make the most of mobile. The reality is, mobile provides marketers’ with an oasis of opportunities when it comes to building brand experiences. Increasing consumer acceptance of mobile, the growing familiarity of CMOs with mobile marketing – in addition to device penetration and network advancements – are driving this change.

In my experience, there are eight points marketers need to keep in mind so they can make the most of mobile.

1. Consider mobile as an enabler

Mobile is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Most customers or other stakeholders aren’t interested in mobile capabilities but in how mobile can help them accomplish certain tasks. Think about it, how many people are really interested in 5G?

Public and private healthcare services are using mobile to enable wonderful, potentially life saving, medical experiences. AliveCor can read a patient’s heart rhythm to check if that person is having a heart attack, whilst Babylon uses artificial intelligence to augment doctors’ diagnostic capabilities at scale. Granted it’s early days, but the potential for these solution-based uses of mobile is profound.

2. Think creatively about location

Many moons ago location-based services used ‘cell ID’ to identify a phone’s location. Location data accuracy ranged from tens of meters in urban areas to tens of miles in the countryside.

Around 2002, I showed the Head of Content Marketing at Orange UK a map of central Bristol on a Nokia 6210. The small, poor resolution monochrome screen delivered a map that wasn’t exactly marvellous. He said, ”Darren, please tell me I haven’t just invested €12m in a dead spider.” Ouch. GPS and advanced mapping capabilities are now the mainstay of new smartphones and these have opened up a number of location-based opportunities.

The folks at Gordon’s Gin & Tonic used location to alleviate commuter frustration at the station when their train was delayed. Rather cleverly, they sent pre-qualified target customers within a 200m radius of a station they frequently used an SMS showing them how they could pick up a can of Gordon’s premixed Gin & Tonic. Pre-qualified customers were over the age of 18 and were known commuters due to the habitual data that had been gathered on them. In the fast food space, Burger King used geoconquesting to run a campaign that offered people a Whopper for 1 cent if they opened the Burger King app at a McDonald’s location.

3. Respect peoples’ privacy on mobile

A mobile device is incredibly personal because it is seldom, if ever, shared. Opt-in should be a core requirement. Granted, this is a word to the wise for those who understand GDPR, but even beyond the shores of the European Union it is a best practice.

Ford got privacy on mobile right when it launched its new Escape and Taurus models. If a potential customer wanted to learn more about either car, adverts prompted them to send a text with the word ‘FORD’ to a short code. Follow up texts then asked the potential customer to state which car they were interested in, along with their name and postcode so a local dealer could contact them. Each text message was punctuated with “STOP=quit” so the potential customer could opt out at any point. Ford’s approach was spot on. It put the potential customer in control of the process, was transparent about how their location data would be used and delivered a highly personalised experience.

4. Deliver personalised experiences

Building brand experiences that are akin to blunderbuss blasts are a thing of the past. Personalised experiences are the new norm.

Powered by artificial intelligence and augmented reality, Sephora’s Virtual Artist app lets its customers personalise their shopping experience by trying on a variety of facial products prior to purchase. Domino Pizza’s Pizza Hero app guides customers through process of making a hand made pizza. This includes kneading dough, spreading tomato sauce, sprinkling cheese right through to adding toppings before giving customers the opportunity to order their culinary masterpiece.

5. Deliver timely content

Most people keep their device with them at all times. This makes mobile a powerful means of delivering brand experiences at highly relevant times. Marks & Spencer’s ongoing “Dine in for two for £12” promotion entailed the brand sending multimedia messages to customers late in the afternoon, when people were either just about to leave work or on their way home. Either way, it’s likely their stomachs were rumbling and they were thinking about what to cook, M&S used mobile to solve that problem in a timely manner.

6. Capitalise on mobile as a direct channel

Mobile helps brands communicate directly with an end customer and so cut through the clutter in ways other direct response tools cannot. Customers of New York-based Saks Fifth Avenue can use iMessage to inquire about and purchase products whilst in South Africa, Hellmann’s connects consumers with chefs via WhatsApp who provide personalised recipe recommendations based on the food they have at home. Adidas’s Tango Squad is a carefully curated community of 100–250 football fanatics, aged 16–19-year-old from around the globe. Squad members receive exclusive content before product launch and are invited to meet players at invite-only events so they can take photos to share on social media. This adds currency to their social cred and makes them feel like valued insiders rather than mainstream consumers.

7. Leverage mobile commerce

It’s now the norm for mobile devices to enable payment. The Starbucks mobile app helps customers pay for their daily dose of caffeine, whilst brands like Burberry have been quick to captialise on WeChat’s gifting capability by facilitating the transfer of ‘red packets’ (monetary gifts) during the Chinese New Year.

8. Make the most of mobile’s visual capabilities

Large, high-resolution screens and megapixel cameras on the latest mobile devices have fuelled Instagram’s astronomical growth and allowed visually-engaging campaigns such as #MyCalvins to thrive whilst B2B brands such as automotive supplier Faurecia is using AR to showcase its sophisticated products’ otherwise hidden capabilities in intricate and engaging ways.

Summing up: Fulfilling mobile’s promise

To make the most of mobile think holistically. This entails considering the points raised above and more importantly thinking about how mobile dovetails with the broader brand experience you build. Thinking in this way will ensure mobile is an integral part – and not an afterthought – of your brand experience building efforts.

When building brand experiences it’s essential you think about what your customer is trying to achieve and how mobile is uniquely positioned to make that happen. Delivering personalised, timely and location-sensitive brand experiences is where the value of mobile really shines through.

To deliver the best experiences with mobile, ensure you have consumers’ permission to engage with them. Respecting customers’ privacy and being transparent about how their data will be used is key.

Do this, and you’ll really start to make the most of mobile.

This is an extract from “Building Brand Experiences: A Practical Guide to Retaining Brand Relevance” by Darren Coleman is ©2018 and reproduced with permission from Kogan Page Ltd.

Download the first chapter of Building Brand Experiences for free here.

This article first appeared in www.warc.com

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