Mobile makes everything digital in 2015 | M&M Global

Mobile makes everything digital in 2015

Mobile has become our other half and every communication should enable a mobile response mechanism, even if it’s placed in analogue media. Millward Brown’s head of global brand management Sue Elms explains.

Sue Elms

January is a time for nervousness at Millward Brown HQ. That’s because it’s the month when we put our necks on the line and say what we think will happen to digital and media and the way brands will use them in the next 12 months.

Fortunately our experience and understanding of the complex market in which we all work has meant that quite a lot of what we predict becomes reality.

In 2014, for example, we predicted growth in micro-video, wearables and video based media planning among other things. Broadly speaking all of that happened, with minor caveats or twists.

In micro-video, 2014 saw early adopters such as Disney, Activision and Banana Republic take advantage of paid opportunities on Instagram Video, for example. Consumers even voted the platform as the most popular marketing approach in our AdReaction multiscreen research.

Wearables too have entered the mainstream, although less as a tech device and more as a fashion statement. For all the hype surrounding Apple Watch and the technology within, it has masked the fact that this is ultimately being sold as a piece of jewellery. Ironically we’ve also seen that apps on mobiles, such as that offered by wearable brand Jawbone, will increasingly become competitors for wearable devices.

On video planning, it’s notable that the Cannes Lions Grand Prix winners were dominated by online films for brands such as Volvo Trucks.

Mobile response channel

This January we are putting our head above the parapet once more. One of our key Digital & Media Predictions is the need to ensure that every brand touch point exploits the possibilities of a mobile response channel.

It could be via QR Codes, NFC chips, audio recognition or beacons, but what’s important is that brands enable the device that we always carry with us to connect in some way.

What they need to do is recognise that mobile has become the ultimate wearable technology, always with us and always on.

But in carrying and using our mobiles we have happily allowed other minds to watch and observe us, anticipate our needs and control how we access information.

As consumers we have no idea how enviously marketers look at these devices and their power over us. Many still struggle to identify the right moment to exploit the mobile opportunity but in 2015 what they can do is ensure that consumers can respond back and feel in control of the conversations – at least when it comes to their brands.

Brand touchpoints

In 2015, we believe brands will give a fresh look at mobile, not as channel in itself but as a means to increase the potency of the rest of their brand touchpoints, vastly improving their ability to reach consumers at the right time and place with the right content.

The scale of the opportunity is clear from research undertaken by Millward Brown South Africa showing a staggering 74% of people abandoning purchases due to information they viewed on their mobile phones.

Marketers must think about ways they can leverage digital technologies across all elements of the media mix to make their message personal and contextually relevant, their brand accessible, and the purchase easy.

Adopting an analogue to digital approach will allow brands to take advantage of the fact that mobiles have become the dominant screen for 65% of those who have them globally, according to our 2014 AdReaction study. They are ubiquitous, personal and an incredibly powerful way to engage consumers.

Transforming analogue experiences

In 2014 we saw brands take the first steps in transforming analogue experiences into digital connections right across the world. Lord & Taylor stores in the US are already using beacons to greet guests upon arrival and to provide relevant offers and tips such as browse the handbags and receive a Michael Kors promo.

In China, fixed line and mobile operator China Telecom covered an entire building in Xiamen with a giant outdoor QR code to promote their music player and provide promotional offers.

And the connection between analogue and digital matters wherever consumers are. PowaTag, a nascent app, for example, now allows you to scan and buy products directly from the glossy pages of a magazine – buy the coat you like directly from an ad in Vogue.

We expect to see many more marketers explore the use of digital technology as a way to create simple, easy mobile interaction with their brands through every touchpoint.

The goal should be to help your consumers feel in control of when and how they engage with your brand.

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