One of the curious things about advertising and brand loyalty is that so many organisations are still using analogue means of talking to their customers. They may be using digital channels to deliver, say, an advertisement, and there may be the chance to click through to a website, but the overall experience is about as interactive as a tree.
Things are changing, customer experiences are becoming more interactive. L’Oreal is putting together its Makeup Genius app, which allows a client to put different sorts of make-up on their face by means of a virtual mirror. Less well-known brands like WorkSnug use augmented reality to overlay a guide to WiFi hotspots in an area using a phone’s camera.
The scope to develop apps based on content is considerable and once the possibility has been acknowledged it starts to look inevitable. Why would an incoming generation of millennials, some of whom will be leaving school and entering the workplace next year, not want true interactivity and apps with which to communicate with brands, just as they’ve grown up with them in other parts of their lives?
Getting involved in business apps now means getting in before the rush. This article from Umbel points to a number of companies using apps to build loyalty. As well as L’Oreal it highlights BMW, which allows users to lock their car remotely and also find their car if it’s within half a mile radius (it needn’t be stolen, we’ve all forgotten where we’ve parked once in awhile). Still in the motoring world, it highlights Audi, which has WiFi, ties the sat nav into geo-coded pictures (show it the Eiffel Tower and it’ll take you to Paris), whilst offering information on how to save phone battery power by shutting other apps in the background.
Trainers manufacturer, Asics has developed a running app; so has Nike. De Beers has an app to help create an individualized engagement ring, no doubt hoping most customers will use it only once.
There are other examples as well, but they all act to persuade the customer that the brand is helping them in more ways than the simple supply of objects. L’Oreal no longer simply sells make-up, it helps you decide what suits you. The car manufacturers don’t sell you a car and forget you, they help you find it when you’ve parked, help you get around and extend your control of it. Nike and Asics don’t just sell trainers, they help you get more out of a running regime.
They offer more than simple branding messages, including support within their apps. The new customer is going to expect this and more as they move forward.
It won’t stop there. The corporate app market is growing. The aforementioned companies and others are putting together app stores for their resellers to brand and open up to customers, and other companies will no doubt be doing the same. Not only major brands but their partners are starting to benefit from this quiet revolution.
This is only just beginning.
Branded content apps may be the future of marketing, discover what else the future holds for mobile, download The Modern Marketing Essentials Guide to Mobile Marketing now.