Coco Chanel once said: “don’t spend time beating a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.” There comes a time when change needs to be made, and that it needs to be done properly.
I often talk about the “transformational” potential of mobility; partly because this bold promise commands attention; and partly because I see evidence – mainly outside large brands and corporations – in health, education and SME commerce, where the ability to bring the world to the palm of the hand, and the ability to broadcast to the world from the same palm has extraordinary, transformative power. Transformation is something worthy of attention.
Last week I spent 3 days with a client and 40 brilliant minds to identify 6 transformational programs that leverage mobile innovation – it was, as one participant observed, “a bold agenda”.
The problem with such workshops is that they either deliver brilliant “solutions” in need of a good business problem, or that they are so channel centric that they can never really sit comfortably within the overall communication program. What is the best approach for transformation? As Picasso said: “Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun”. As long as one option is chosen with conviction, then either approach could work.
The mixture of attendees, 20 internal from business and marketing experts and 20 external mobile, technology and mobile ecosystem experts, helped surface some meaty business issues that needed to be addressed; and there were sufficient specialists, and senior IT partners to be able to apply the technology to those problems and achieve scalable solutions over a cup of tea.
Working together helped illuminate where the business value needs to be unlocked, and to demystify the technology. While 3-days sounds a lot, we left that room having distilled 100 ideas into 20 and then filtered and polished 6 ideas that could be termed “transformational”. People that walked into the room as mobile innocents left as mobile visionaries. We actually achieve months of work in just a few days.
What struck me most however was the process of filtering the ideas to our “transformational list”, and the core disruptors of digitized mobility surfaced. We came up with three drivers of transformation.
Firstly, that relevancy and personalisation are supreme when it comes to delivering cut-through communications that drive bonding, advocacy and action. This brings us full circle to the pre-advertising age of commerce where knowing your customer, what they need and over delivering on that promise counts for everything. Leveraging Big data via partnerships with mobile operators, platform and media partners will help create those insights and delivery systems.
Secondly, geographic targeting of audiences, and of crafting specific communications dependent on location really help to drive engagement, frequency of purchase and deep social bonding. Location and time of day plays such a fundamental narrative to our lives, as we commute, or “escape” from work or school; when we at work, or at home, or travelling – that it is a huge creative opportunity to deliver new brand experiences and fulfill a radically different set of needs.
Brands must learn to carve out and target “tribes” of people dependent on geographic “fences” or zones. That enables brands to create “theatre” within a university campus – or across a more dispersed urban zones to help target “packs” that roam the city – like a bunch of kids who “inhabit” certain places like the walk home from school via sports grounds, skate parks or shopping malls
The third set of ideas revolved around the ” internet of things” – the ability to make objects, products and places “interactive” and intelligent. From cars, to books, household heating to vending machines and products everything is capable of being connected to a brand experience or promotional sale. And the cost to do so is affordable: small RFID tags, or clever lines of code such as the Gimbal SDK put extraordinary power into the marketers hands at an affordable cost.
Mobile has the power to bring brands closer than ever before to their consumers. Brands need to embrace bold transformation. As the Chinese proverb says: “If we don’t change our direction we’re likely to end up where we’re headed.