Call it m-branding: the use of the mobile channel to create differentiation and build brand affinity as never before possible. When used correctly, it has five key advantages over virtually every other medium:
Consumers can use their cell phones to interact with brand promotions right at the point of impression. This usually involves entering a four- to five-digit code featured in a print, outdoor, or broadcast advertisement.
The prime example of mobile interactivity has long been Fox-TV’s “American Idol.” Fans of the popular talent contest can vote for contestants and receive trivia, behind-the-scenes gossip, and interactive polls on the show’s pop-star neophytes.
Wireless is also about taking your favorite services and applications with you wherever you go. More than 12.8 million mobile subscribers access at least one Yahoo-branded service (search, maps, news, instant messaging) from their cell phones every month.
Mobile phones aside, wireless technology offers companies the ability to create the ultimate in “experiential branding.” Take Prada’s Epicenter stores in New York and Los Angeles. As a shopper picks up a $2,500 dark grey suit or a $700 black leather shoulder bag, specially designed displays read electronic smart tags on the items and project video clips of runway models, designer sketches, and information about availability, cut, and color options on the nearest video display.
Winning without wires
All this is just the beginning. Today, companies such as Procter & Gamble, McDonald’s, Disney, Nike, and Unilever are joining the companies discussed here in putting the advantages of m-branding to good use. By 2008, marketers will spend more than $5 billion a year on mobile initiatives, according to the Mobile Marketing Association.More in Rick Mathieson’s Branding Unbound: The Future Of Advertising, Sales, And The Brand Experience In The Wireless Age.