In the panel discussion “Integrating Online and Offline” on Tuesday the discussants talked about why physical presence is still important. There is now so much online clutter bombarding everyone that people appreciate an old fashioned product that has permanence.
One example is the product StickyGram that was Invented on a whim without a real expectation of success. The CEO of MintDigital indicated that they decided to develop the sticky magnets because they were inexpensive to produce and figured they could sell enough of them to break even. But, they took off and were very popular. The challenge for the brand was sourcing the magnets in China for consistent delivery.
The major takeaway from that example is that the digital media atmosphere is cluttered and more fragmented than even traditional media. As a result brands have trouble attracting attention. That is why physical brand representations can be useful. Products don’t look like communications platforms and can sneak through a brand ID or show the functionality of a product.
The session at Integrated Marketing Week also stressed the importance of brands fitting into existing customer behavior. Why try to change people, when you can build on what people are already doing and offer value? One example is a store that uses augmented reality in dressing rooms to show customers how clothes will look on them. People are there to try on clothes, why not show them at their best?
Though mobile apps are digital, they share characteristic with products in consumer usage. Mobile apps can also provide added value to consumers and some fit in well with customer lifestyles. Here are some examples of mobile apps that build on existing customer behavior:
The Parks Mobile Magic app helps customers navigate the park and avoid waiting.
General Electric Industrial
The company’s Transformer Monitoring app manages gas turbine inventory and electric
transformers globally. The app provides businesses the opportunity to reduce costs by reducing energy consumption.
General Electric Consumer
The GE Mood Cam allows customers to take pictures of a room and modify the lighting to see the effects. The app adds value by reducing the customer’s risk in the decision to purchase lighting and bulbs. GE Brillion appliance purchasers can use the GE Nucleus app to monitor energy consumption of these appliances in their homes.
IBM Mobile Systems Remote (IBM Remote) is an application that allows system administrators to monitor and manage IBM systems (currently BladeCenter and System x Rack mounted systems via with RSA2 or IMM) from the convenience of their mobile devices.
Carmel Car Service
Offers a mobile service that provides a customer’s location to its fleet and delivers a car that is already in the customer’s neighborhood, reducing waiting time.
The benefit to customers is clear. A brand should always calculate ROI when executing strategies to determine the potential long term benefit.