17th of November 2011 2

Creating for Mobile – Day 2 and round-up of SIME

For day two of SIME, and as a round-up of the whole conference from a mobile perspective, I thought I’d focus on creating in the mobile arena, and bring up some of the interesting tid-bits from our day.

The first presenter that really grabbed everyone’s attention during the day was 12-year old Puck Meerburg, founder of Puckipedia. He’s a young, very curious kid who has single-handeldly created and released 2 apps to the Apple AppStore, learning English in the process to be able to understand the programming language. Interesting is that an American kid, Thomas Suarez, also 12, just circulated the web for having done exactly the same thing, and speaking at TEDx like a pro. This is just incredible, and says a lot about how easy it is to get into digital creation today if you’re curious enough and don’t see limitations. I also think it says everything about the mobile field. It’s so accessible and tangible, you feel apps are more of an object than software, which makes the concept less abstract to young people. And mobile is simple, it’s about doing small things in a delightful way, which is very easy to get in to. Have there been other young kids creating their own apps for desktop computers before? Definitely. But most probably not as many, and definitely not reaching out to as many people as these kids are today.

The day’s other big mobile evangelists were Maks Giordano, a digital guru now running a mobile agency, and Leif Eliasson, mobile expert at TradeDoubler. Leif is a numbers guy, once again showing the stats on why mobile is on track to outgrow desktop computing within the not too distant future. Maks is a Creative, and presented some great examples of interesting things that are being done on mobile that I’ll present you with below. What both of these people mentioned though, and also Zennström, Hjalmar, and a lot of other speakers at this years event, is that today, right now more than ever, all the bits are in place for truly great services and marketing to be created on mobile. We have the right hardware at a mass consumer price point, we have the software distribution ecosystem, we have the payment solutions, we have the networks and the bandwith, and most of all we now have the users.

But, this doesn’t mean you don’t have to think hard when you start creating for the mobile space. On the contrary, it’s important to really have mobile mindset when creating, and remember that it’s all about context. And also, something isn’t “fun” just because it’s in a mobile space, but contrarily we are more inclined to get tired your campaign or service if you’re not making it easy enough.

Here are some companies that have gotten it right:

  • Heineken Star Player, an app that taps into people’s multitasking behavior when watching football (ie soccer) games, and for doing it right they’ve gained the opportunity to have a whole 90 minutes of brand interaction with it’s users.
  • Nike+, a mobile app that helps you get your running going. The app, apart from being great in and by itself is probably the best example out there of how to leverage mobile and social networks to add value to your brand.
  • Chase QuickDeposit, an app from the bank Chase, that has enabled it’s customers to cash their checks (US company, obviously) from anywhere just by photographing them with the app. It’s also worth noting that Swedish banks have enabled paying bills using their apps and the phone’s camera, but the user experience is unfortunately very bad, which is inhibiting adoption.
  • Target, the US retailer has made great apps for iPhone and iPad that are shopping companions that help make shopping at Target more pleasant experience. Here the execution is of greater importance more than the concept, and Target got it right, giving them high App Store ratings which is unusual for a marketing app.
  • Jamie Oliver has a set of apps that align perfectly with his brand, making cooking a pleasant experience, and recommending his favorite restaurants.
  • Northface in China launched a location based game where you could claim land, which is totally in line with the explorer mentality of the brand, and the winner had placed over 4000 flags over all of China.
  • Google Wallet, Google’s initiative to let you make your phone your wallet. This is happening, it’s just a matter of who will rule, and Google is a good canditate to say the least, going down the NFC path for money transactions.
  • Tesco in Korea, launched Homeplus Subway Virtual Store where they put up virtual stores in subway stations where you can shop using your phone, scanning QR-codes on life-size grocery shelves while waiting for your train, and having the groceries delivered to your home when getting back from work. Genius, and the only really good use of QR-codes to date.
  • There are several price comparison apps, like Prisjakt, where you can scan the barcode of a product anywhere and quickly receive a list of where you can get the item at the lowest price. Retailers – be worried.
  • Mobile makes the perfect companion for house/apartment shopping, where Zillow and Trulia on the US market are among the most prominent, telling you what’s for sale around you, letting you peek in before you go in, and telling you if the price is reasonable, all on the go.
  • Rabble, a Swedish app that provides digital redeemable coupons based on you location. Providing cheap marketing opportunities for local businesses.

Some other examples Maks mentions, it think fail in the fact that they’re gimmicks, and don’t deliver any real value to the end users in the long run. These apps will be removed very quickly from the users phones after the novelty has worn off and waste the potential you have of making truly meaningful long running relationships with your users or customers.

  • Beck, the beer brand, has an app that helps you get home safe from a night out. It automatically calls a cab for you to get home if you don’t pass the in-app sobriety test.
  • Axe Auto Romeo, an app that helps you stay on good foot with all your girl acquaintances, gained of course because of the “Axe effect”, by sending the girls your not with texts while you’re on dates.
  • IKEA Interactive Catalogue, which lets you test placing IKEA furniture in pictures of your home using augmented reality. See the video at the bottom of the linked page to get an idea of how it works.
  • Ebay launched an app that tries to deflect the biggest problem with buying glasses online; you don’t know how they will look on. Using augmented reality technology, you can try their glasses on live using you mobile phone. (Interesting to note is that Favoptic launched this concept long before Ebay on our advice, but their execution was just not up to par)

These are all interesting examples of what can be done with the technology that exists today in mobile. Only your imagination sets the boundaries. But I would really like to stress the importance of thinking about the bigger perspective when working in mobile, and make something truly engaging, that adds real value in the lives to your target group. It’s always possible, and if not taken advantage of you waste a big opportunity in working with mobile, or even the digital space at large. It might require a bigger budget in the short run, but will keep on giving long after your usual “campaign period”.

To send you off, I would like to bring up, a very relevant question was posed at the M-Commerce workshop that I feel didn’t get a good answer. Why, when mobile is showing such large numbers in adoption, is it still such a small part of the digital commerce? I think it’s quite obvious why. A minute part of businesses have yet to adapt to mobile. When we’re talking about companies and services that have been rethought for mobile, we’re talking about very small percentages. How much business do you think a retail store would make if it had locked doors or a 1 m ceiling height, next to a normal one? We have to get to work adapting if we want to get that business.

And lastly, a BIG thanks to SIME and everyone behind it for inviting us to cover our passion, and for being such great hosts for the bloggers this year. Really hope we get the opportunity again. Now back to creating great useful and valued mobile experiences. And keep in touch if you want to hear more.

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2 Comments on “Creating for Mobile – Day 2 and round-up of SIME”

  1. 1 Szofia Jakobsson said at 4:22 pm on November 17th, 2011:

    Thanks for a great summary. Bit of a let down that so much is still only available for iOS though.

    As you stated, there’s still so much that needs to be done in adapting to mobile commerce, I’m hoping companies will see the benefit in not buying into the Apple hype but to be open for Android aswell (and Windows).

  2. 2 Christoffer Du Rietz said at 4:58 pm on November 17th, 2011:

    I completely agree on that one. It’s often a budget question, at least here in Sweden, where iPhone has 60% of the smartphone market and has a higher app download rate. Android just gets put on hold until the next release, which is understandable, although we always suggest doing both to cover 90% of the smartphone market.