An overwhelming amount of the discussion these days around mobile devices seems to focus on how people use them to create, consume and share media and information. And as marketers, we spend a lot of time wondering how to get consumers to read our clients' messages, watch their videos, download their apps, buy stuff and hopefully tell their friends all about it. And rightly so. I have worked on a number of programs and apps with exactly those objectives, some pictured here.But I think too often we overlook the potential of mobile devices as WIRELESS COMPUTERS, not just media portals.
These are incredibly powerful things. They can see, they can hear, they can talk. They know if they are being touched, facing north or south, if they are right side up or upside down, and where they are on the planet. With the expansion of Near Field Communication, they’re becoming even more aware. They can DO stuff! They are practically legless robots.
You can already use your smartphone or tablet to control your stereo, your lights, your alarm system. With a Nest thermostat, I can turn on the heat in my house from an airplane. That is so Jetsons! If I rent a Zipcar, I can unlock the doors with my iPhone.
There is huge untapped potential to leverage mobile devices in "built environments"...physical spaces designed to create a brand impression. From shop windows to museums, I see huge opportunities for consumers to use their mobile devices to participate in, and even control experiences in the real world. And not just digital things...mechanical things.
Why? Well, for one thing, because it's fun. And it can be incredibly engaging.
Why not create truly interactive, and by that that I mean not just reactive, brand experiences? We’ve all seen digital store windows that react to people passing by. Some offer high-level interactivity, usually through text commands. But we can create deeper experiences. Let your customers have a slot car race in that window display. Command a light show, or a music experience or a giant Rube Goldberg-ian mousetrap.
A lot of us are a bit overwhelmed with our virtual connections these days. In my work, I see over and over again how much people crave tangible experiences. You want people to tweet about your brand? Then give them something cool to tweet about.
Go out and create some magical mobile brand experiences. And don’t forget that almost everyone has a magic wand in their pocket.