BRANDS ON MOBILE: UPDATE

When Deloitte last year reported that 80% of branded apps had been downloaded fewer than 1000 times it made for pretty grim reading – but it wasn’t all that surprising.

More surprising was at the IAB’s Mobile Future Proofing Conference this week we learned that just 37 of the UK’s top 100 brands had mobile optimised sites – something widely understood to be a minimum requirement for all brands.

With smartphone penetration in the UK and other countries moving into a majority, mobile continues to have an increasingly important role to play for all brands – some of whom have interesting approaches.

Branded apps are still hitting app stores of course. Coca-Cola recently launched their Happy Places photo app, which wants to be the place where people can share their photos of happiness. With Twitter rumoured to be working on a ‘filters’ feature for its photos, and Instagram growing so rapidly, arguably Ben & Jerry’s approach as above is more shrewd.

Elsewhere AirFrance just launched an augmented reality app which (in exchange for ‘signing up’) encourages users to reach to the sky to ‘capture’ random free music. [Watch]. It’s a lovely idea, and the app works well – though it seems difficult to imagine many people seeing a great deal of value in it for them.

Of course, each brand has its own objectives. Retailer Boots’ fantastic new Christmas gifting app is packed with features to make shopping at Boots, wherever you are, that much easier. Offering instore scanning, home delivery or in store pickups, and encouraging full advantage of its famous 3for2 proposition, it has every chance of playing an important role for shoppers this Christmas. It even allows for recording video gift messages. Nifty.

Yet in other cases, the best thing for a brand (beyond mobile optimisation) is ensuring the broader environment that the brand operates in exists, and is conducive to their goals.

That’s what we loved about Carlsberg’s new app, over in Denmark. It’s an ‘inspiration’ app called Crowdit, which introduces new venues and offers daily deals to mobile users – a cross between Foursquare and a local daily deals company, perhaps. But interestingly, it has no branding. Literally nothing, not even the famous shades of Carlsberg green. [Watch].

It’s only by reading this article that we learn of Carlsberg’s involvement. They’ve acknowledged the hugely important perspective that in order to best serve their brand and indeed their bottom line, what they really need is for people to get out and drink their beer. Mobile enables Carlsberg to move higher up the consumer journey to do this, without prejudice. They’re actively facilitating the hugely influential ‘discovery’ process, and can deliver deals and generate great consumer data as they go.

And as smartphones become mainstream, the channel continues to offer many new ways to leverage and integrate promotions. We were interested to read of Kellogg’s and United Biscuits trialling of the couponing app Shopitize, here in the UK. It invites its small community to buy certain products, and upon doing so, send a photo of their receipt to get cashback via the app. Innovative stuff.

Integrated strategies which take advantage of mobile are maturing rapidly, and the most brilliant efforts will be rewarded accordingly.

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