Those nice people at Contagious have allowed me to share the article on Apps I wrote for their latest issue.Download Apps - Contagious march 09 As with anything moving as fast as apps it's already a little outdated - the founder of Dodgeball ( which I mention) has now launched foursquare and a number of the gaps I discuss have been filled. But I remain convinced that apps ( be they on Facebook, iPhone or anywhere else )are a major opportunity for brands and will be a significant factor for some time yet.
The new Google profile seems like a really interesting development by Google - here is a legitimate way of gaming their system - for vanity searches anyway. This is a way for Google to encourage people to self identify all their other web presences - their Facebook page, LinkedIn, Flickr etc - and tell Google more about them generally. As John Battelle points out - this is a big deal. But is there more to it than that? Could it be the Google way into VRM? Now I have a profile its quite easy for Google to encourage me to build that out with some brand/product preferences. What if they asked me what brands I don't want to hear from - and those that I do? With Googles integration of DoubleClick they have the ability to determine what display ads I see - and the data from my profile could radically increase the value of those ads. I get to reduce the amount of irrelevant marketing noise I get across all the sites served by DoubleClick and Google get to charge advertisers a premium to avoid people who don't want to hear from them - and, crucially, to reach people in market. And because I've chosen to declare my interests by building my profile, rather than having it inferred through my searches, there is less here to concern privacy advocates. One of the challenges of VRM is how players in this market establish credibility - Google just don't have that problem. If you're interested in learning more about VRM you should read Alan Mitchell
In April 1999 Doc Searls and his partners published the Cluetrain Manifesto, and effectively defined the internet as a communications platform. I've had it on the back of my business cards since around 2000 and it still drives lots of my thinking. But in the 10 years since it was published have we really made much progress?
But much as we love branded utility, few apps are what you might call creative - whilst we like the ipint we have yet to see this new tool used for really innovative thinking.
It looks like Nokia are excited about the opportunity to create addictive content that builds loyalty to their products. Having made a big push with music they have now partnered with Heroes creator Tim Kring to launch TEVA - something he describes as a Mobile Immersive Experience - through their app store Ovi. The concept seems vague - variously described as a cross between user generated content and a ARG, and a multiplatform interactive storytelling project. "It's a very real-world idea," said Kring. "We are trying to invent a new genre here."
The beta version allowed people to bring up info when their phone camera was pointed at say a movie poster - maybe the trailer or directions to the nearest cinema. This combination of mobile with the real world will be a major theme in mobile marketing - and validates the decision to buy a Nokia proprietary
We're long on mobile - and remain convinced it will be a major marketing medium. And with the distribution inherent in the app stores making it relatively easy to get content and applications onto smart phones, we think the key mobile marketing elements will be app related. But as TEVA suggests, this doesn't has to be just about branded utility - the topic of conversation can also be about entertainment.
As brands recognise that interruption is much less effective than involvement, we believe smart marketers will look at mobile apps as a fantastic way of building a dialogue with people. And the really clever ones will use that dialogue to make their brand more important to these people – and make the people more important to their brand.