How To Mobilize Your Brand: Part Two

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Although the use of video screens in venues is not a new concept, (popular in sports arenas and at bars), using video screens to keep a brand in motion in high traffic areas such as airports, malls, checkout lines grocery aisles, and even on public transportation is the new standard.

Today, transit authorities such as Atlanta’s MARTA, do not just outfit their bus and rail fleet with digital display networks to inform and entertain a captive audience. Service provider, Transit TV, partners with MARTA, media and other brands to provide programming for each day of the week. With commute times between 45 minutes and an hour, travelers are likely to view brand impressions several times per roundtrip.

Even though segments are two to five minutes in length, travelers get the latest news and weather along with cooking, entertainment, health, and lifestyle programming during their commute. General Mills, Walt Disney Hyundai, H&R Block, and Emory University are among brands with unlimited mobile-to-mobile impressions between segments and even between transportation modes.

Since visibility is greater, buses are  one of the most viable platform for mobile-to-mobile branding. From Tyler Perry’s House of Payne debut to Calvin Klein’s signature underwear photo, ad space on a bus is a popular alternative to billboards and marquees. While the exterior feeds the minds of pedestrians and onlookers, interior video monitors feed the minds of riders.

Companies are still working to crack the code on how to build brand recognition via mobile phones. With more than 285 million cell phone users in the U.S. and over 4.6 billion worldwide (2009), it is no surprise that the cell phone user ranks alongside the urban and Hispanic markets as popular groups for marketers to target.

It is true business creed that when demand goes up, supply goes down. However, the reverse is true for cell phones. Heightened demand for cell phones has increased everything except data aggregation. A company, for example, cannot track a customer by location and cell phone usage in order to forward advertising without consent. Even though the cell phone almost doubles as a personal computer or entertainment console, substantial rise in ads in consumer’s personal space is likely to prompt a rise in opt-outs and ad fatigue. Worse, using the cell phone as a brand platform the same way as e-mail, social networks, and even traditional media could ultimately shorten product life cycle. Why?

The Internet’s initial launch for mainstream use in the early 1990s, was at best, quiet. Today, the Internet along with its computer and software cohorts, are vehicles to credit for “making the world flat.” In the last decade, there has been an exponential shift of business products and services from hard copy and brick and motor, to soft copy, Websites, gadgets and all things digital. This shift is the hand that forces marketers to remedy any inability to harness finicky, privacy-driven yet captive consumers. Brands that shy away from maintaining a relationship with consumers, limit consumer options, inundate them with messages or even teeter towards invading consumer privacy will diminish loyalty fast. Harnessing the very personal cell phone market is as simple as always being personable in a practical, unobtrusive way (think satellite radio and TiVo).

Moving forward
Until the cell phone dilemma is solved and in order to remain in the brand fast lane, enterprising marketers will have to use varying yet relevant forms of mobility. Laptop, iPod, PDA, and gaming console makers, already realize the benefits of partnering to gain leverage. With the explosion in social networking site use, branding tools like widgets are necessary.

Typically, widgets move by copying and pasting HTML code into designated areas on a website. Popular widgets are copied many times over by friends or visitors to a site who share a connection with a brand.

Having consumers voluntarily carry your brand is a great form of flattery not to mention an organic way to increase visibility. Interactive branding via widgets or a similar concept tends to be viral. The disadvantage to widget use however, is being able to manage brand content, but not necessarily placement.

How can a company ensure that a brand is mobilized successfully? No matter where technology takes us, consistent, relevant concepts, events, objects, people, and resources matched with a quality product and extreme customer service is something that will always sell.

Check out How To Mobilize Your Brand: Part One to learn more.

By Guest Contributor: Isha Edwards
Isha Edwards is an idea catalyst and brand marketing expert who empowers individuals and organizations to profit and to excel. Known for her practical, insightful counsel, Isha’s reach spans 12 industries. Connect or contact Isha via www.ishaedwards.com.

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