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Mobile transcending the on-screen & real-world experiences divide

In the connected world we live in today, consumers are constantly seeking value in their daily interactions with people, brands and experiences. Be it via sales and promotions, content initiatives, immersive brand experiences or even loyalty rewards – consumers are more likely to engage with brands that are able to connect with them at a personal level.

What is it that differentiates one brand from another – and ultimately, one brand experience from another?

Creativity is the key.

In recent years, advancement in mobile technology has opened new avenues for brand marketers to create campaigns that invite consumers to become part of the brand story. With mobile, the power of choice is shifted to the consumer. Audiences now have the authority to choose the messages they interact with, when traditionally, most of that control was with the brand. Marketers who understand this shift in power are then faced with the task of creating campaigns that are relevant to the intended audiences and give them content they want.

Furthermore, brands that push the boundaries of mobile marketing as they exist today will find that there is much to do around the medium. There is an opportunity to get closer to customers through campaigns that embody the spirit of the brand.

With some creativity and innovation, brands will discover unique ways to engage with their consumers on their path to purchase and create a compelling brand experience that extends beyond the campaign.

Coca-Cola, Nescafe and McDonald’s are some of the brands that have recently executed campaigns that are able to connect with the audience through real-world experiences.

The Coca-Cola (South Africa) initiative
In South Africa, Coca-Cola partnered with BT Global Services, a telecommunications service provider, to provide WiFi connectivity at Coca-Cola branded vending machines. Tapping into the increasingly need for WiFi connections to operate mobile devices and smart phones, Coca-Cola was able to engage with consumers, even if they did not purchase the product.

Coca-Cola’s campaign shows how limitless the boundaries of mobile marketing can be – as long as marketers challenge the status quo.

The Nescafe (Croatia) experience
Taking inspiration from ‘love locks’ couples shackle onto bridges around the world, Nescafe conceptualised and executed a marketing stunt that bridged the brand experience between the ‘real’ and ‘virtual’ worlds, surprising or rewarding their customers at every step of the campaign.

The initiative witnessed 1,000 branded coffee mugs locked across various locations in two major cities in Croatia. Public was then encouraged to use a Facebook app to retrieve a 4-digit passcode to unlock a cup and present it at a Nescafe booth within close proximity to redeem it for a second mug. This is so that they could share a cup of Nescafe with a friend or partner, in line with Nescafe’s tagline – ‘It all starts with a Nescafe’.

The initiative, aimed at bringing people together, received much positive feedback – customers shared their stories over social media and the ‘mainstream’ media picked-up on the initiative, as well.

The McDonald’s (Singapore) way
Closer to home, McDonald’s is rewarding its customers via the Surprise Alarm App on a daily basis. The app, which encourages consumers to set a daily alarm to receive surprise gifts and promotions from McDonald’s, is fast gaining popularity and has very quickly shot-up the download charts – becoming the highest-ranking free app in the food and drink category on iTunes; lifestyle category on Google Play in the country.

Every time the alarm goes off, consumers are rewarded with the likes of free music downloads, food coupons and exclusive content. Analytics built into the app also enables McDonald’s to learn from the content being served and revise the strategy to serve more popular items, more often. Who doesn’t like a good deal?

This is a great, simple idea that solidifies the positioning of McDonald’s in the lives of its consumers – making them more willing to engage with the brand.

While vastly different in execution, the three campaigns have a distinct similarity. All campaigns had objectives that would impact the real-world experiences of their consumers – in a creative way. It is through these experiences that the brand is able to strengthen relationships with existing customers, and create new ones with others.

As the mobile marketing industry continues to mature with time, it is likely we will see more marketers try to cross the divide between ‘digital’ and ‘real-world’, and indulging audiences with an immersive experience. There is nothing that brings a brand closer to their consumers than mobile, it is up to the savvy marketer to take the opportunity and turn it into something memorable, valuable and tangible.

Rohit Dadwal

The author, Rohit Dadwal, is the Managing Director of Mobile Marketing Association APAC.