How mobile media now changed the branding world…and most businesses
We are making new history all the time…..billions of people are having – in their pockets and handbags, as a part of their everyday personal attire, the most powerful personal piece of technology ever built by man: THE SMART MOBILE DEVICE, with its different apps for different purposes and and tasks in our lives. In most business people are using mobile devices everyday in addition to traditional computers. Apps have become the new MEDIA through which we relate to almost everything in our lives…they have become our true and trusted tech friends accompanying us through life, connecting us not only with people, but also with most services and product brands we use, online and off-line. You don’t buy a car today without using an app, whether it is to find information helping you to decide which car brand to buy, or finding the dealer, and when you are inside the car the in-built mobile device is a central part of the car product, today usually connected to the web through GSM, with navigation, communication and information systems.
In fact the impact of the mobile technology is so dramatic on the business that the words of Marshall McLuhan are perfectly relevant in todays situation, McLuhan was the Canadian media philosopher that in the 70’s coined the expression THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE – meaning the technology and medium itself has a greater impact than what you try to communicate by using it. As brand thinkers, educators and advisors we are stunned to see the BRAND impact of the mobile devices and apps. We are thus bound to piggyback on McLuhan and coin: THE MOBILE APP IS THE BRAND. In fact as we see it, branding has in history so far had three important windows:
The first generation brand window was the PACKAGED PRODUCT. Here we love the example of the tin of Campbell’s Soup which already for Andy Warhol became an icon of the consumer product. The brand was the product expressed through the packaging and its brand personality was mainly created through the package.
The second generation brand window was the ADVERTISING, in fact in the early years of advertising the product and package itself was the center of attention in most ads. Gradually advertising became an expression of the brand rather than the product. Advertising was, and still is, animating the brand, making it become more emotional and psychological.
The third generation brand window is now, and it’s THE APP. And if you think about it, the App does it all. It’s not only giving identity to the product or service, it does not only communicate and sell the product or service, it is also an essential part of the delivery product or service. Because it is truly integrated with the customer/user and with the product/service and the brand it just activates what the whole business of the product/service is standing for. The app interactively helps animating the brand in a user dialog, it shifts the brand from being a product-centered “transaction brand” to become a modern interactive “relation brand”. The app on whatever mobile device, a smartphone; an iPad or tablet or an iWatch, or built in to a piece of eyewear, becomes the brand not only in the eyes of the beholder, but actually in the minds, and the touch, of the user, and over and over again.
All this is the reason why most companies are now getting seriously concerned, not only over there general mobilizing strategy but also how the come a cross to more and more user experience savvy people.
Branded User Experience (BUX)
We have learned all about the importance and requirements of what makes a good mobile app and UX (User Experience) from a few people with hands on experience, mostly from or friendly partners IDEAN with offices in Palo Alto (California), San Francisco, New York, Austin (Texas), Berlin (Germany) and Helsinki (Finland) and more places. IDEAN represents the new generation of User Experience builders. Together BRANDFLIGHT and IDEAN have created a methodology to create Branded User Experiences (BUX) that beautifully combines the latest branding methodology with excellent UX-design & development.
The three steps two make success in mobilizing your business:
1. Customer/User Etnography: Find out what the customer & user wants and needs, not only using the mobile app, but also what the customer want out of life and professionally in a larger context. In order to do this you need a few but deep investigative interviews with your customers and users, at their homes or workplaces. You need to be able to monitor the weak signals. And you need to find out how emotional-psychological resonance of your apps and use that knowledge in creating an app that is surprisingly better, more liked and more used than any of your competitors.
2. Relation Brand Strategy for your mobilized business. In order to make your business work better, become more mobile and your mobile tools more liked and used (internally & externally) you need to build it on a modern brand strategy that does your brand justice. Here you have to switch from old transaction brand – product-focused brand thinking – to the new school which is RELATION branding. We have developed a powerful branding technique for that called 4-dimensional Branding and used it successfully for 15 years on hundreds of businesses already. Your brand cannot any more just have a Functional Dimension, but in addition also a Social Dimension, a Mental Dimension (the individual one-to-one relation) and Spiritual Dimension (which is the higher purpose, or meaning, with the brand and the business). Your mobile business presence will then have all what it takes to become most loved and used mobile services…and your brand will too!
3. Brand-related User Experience (UX) When designing and coding the User Experience of your business on mobile platforms you need to build in all above. The weak signals from your ethnographic interviews reveals users intimate thoughts and provokes you to do small important detailed improvements. Your mobile apps has to create relationships with stuff in your users’ minds, making them feel at home, become charmed, pampered and respected. Your mobile app has to be attractive to them in the same way that good furniture or car design can make people love their objects. But also stimulate users to do more (and buy more) and feel good about it. All this can’t be done without a lot of experience, by the design team, not only working with the technology, but also with an essential humanistic, esthetic and cultural approach.
If you read this and get an interest in how to improve your user experience branding and as a result your business. Please, let us help you take a look at what you got, comment and suggest improvements, from a BUX point-of-view.