As the Vice President of User Experience and Executive Creative Director of Bottle Rocket, I’m deeply invested and interested in the trends happening throughout the mobile industry. On the recent Social On Us webinar that I hosted, I presented many of these latest trends and touched on their wide-ranging impact across a number of industries.
As the digital products and services we use continue to evolve, so must the analytics that marketers are privy to. It’s no longer good enough to simply know how many downloads an app has, or how many views a page has. And analytics for mobile devices are, rightfully, rapidly improving. We’re starting to be able to know things like what angle someone usually holds their phone at. As with all data, overload is a real possibility. As the data gets deeper and more complex, the impetus is ever more on brands and marketers to figure out which data is worth collecting.
Brick and Mobile
The retail industry has been a bit slow to respond to the growing mobilization of the world, but we’re starting to see progress. The mobile and retail worlds need to be better brought together, the two separate worlds blurred together more than complements to one another. What will this look like? Infusions of augmented reality use and beacon technology—allowing a store to tell where a customer is, by the inch—will help usher in the new “brick and mobile” era. Imagine a world where a customer can hold their phone up to a product, customize it to their liking, get instant, live-streamed video feedback from their friends or someone in an online community who has the product, order it, and have it on their doorstep when they return. If this sounds unrealistic, you may just be unprepared.
Although they have been very slow to adapt to the times, airline companies are a shining example of what brand currencies can do for loyalty. A lot of companies who have adapted well to mobile would be well-served to create their own brand currencies and make them accessible to consumers. With Google Wallet and Apple Pay becoming more mainstream, the opportunity is there for brands to use these services not just to accept payments, but to accept their own currencies, too. It doesn’t take a ton of effort to create, and once it’s up and running a brand currency helps create brand fanatics.
Inventing brand currencies for consumers to collect and share opens the opportunities for consumer-to-consumer conversations about the brand. A small effort on the part of the brand, but potentially a great return.
Tech is outpacing brands
Brands have to understand that technology is no longer an experience in itself. Technology today comes with base expectations, and brands cannot trail behind the modern uses and the value it can bring to consumers. Something that might be forward-thinking for a brand, but behind consumer expectations, can be deadly. So brands have to stay abreast of the latest uses and consumer value that new technology is bringing, and decide where and where not to play.
There’s a great quote by Charles Eames, the furniture designer: “The details are not the details. They make the design.” The detail for mobile brands and marketers should most consider is context. If one thinks about the mobile phone as a box of sensors, there’s so much data that we can glean from a user. This is all context that can be used to create a highly personal and highly relevant experience.