How getting mobile right is key to getting media right


Duncan Southgate, Global Brand Director – Digital, Millward Brown

The power of mobile is undoubted; it is not just a new advertising medium, but a potential communication channel that travels with consumers wherever they go and has the power to transform the overall media mix. But with power comes responsibility, the responsibility to connect wisely and respectfully with consumers.

So while Millward Brown have identified the need to ensure that every brand touch point exploits the possibilities of a mobile response channel as one of our key Digital and Media Predictions for 2015, this comes with caveats. Mobiles are very personal devices so mobile marketing should be deployed with care. Brands can engage consumers via many different approaches (ads, apps, QR Codes, NFC chips, audio recognition, beacons etc.), but what’s important is that they connect in some meaningful, inspiring creative way.

The danger for mobile as a medium is that it oversteps the mark and is considered too intrusive – that won’t offer a long-term basis for success. So while it is now possible to alert consumers because they are near retail outlets for example, that is unlikely to work well unless consumers are coached on how and why the alerts are being generated, and delighted by the results.

Ultimately, the technology is secondary to the need to identify a quality connection – by time, mood or location for example. Indeed brands will very likely need to vary the mechanism by location using beacons in shops and QR codes or hashtags in traditional media, for example. Location offers huge opportunities but only if you really think about what people want in a given location. Mobile marketing should not be seen as a stalking device but a way for marketers to build a greater understanding and empathy with their target audience.

Integration with other media is also critical. Research conducted by Millward Brown into the winners of the MMA’s Smarties awards in APAC found that 80% of the winners had a clear, well-defined role for mobile in an integrated campaign. Eighty-six percent of the winners used a multiple channel strategy.

Two brands that are getting media right by getting mobile right are Elidor and Ben & Jerry’s. Both were singled out as winners in the EMEA Smarties Awards program for 2014. Elidor (Turkey’s most loved haircare brand) turned the Turkish version of The OC into an interactive brand commercial via gaming features that allowed consumers to win the products the stars of the show were holding or using mobiles to “grab” products from the screen.

Ben & Jerry’s in Germany used location-based mobile messaging to turn sampling and a sponsored truck into an exciting event to communicate the brand’s “peace, love and ice cream” messaging to more than 145,000 consumers across the country.

Mobile offers brands the chance to increase the potency of all touchpoints (analogue or digital) by vastly improving your 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 allows 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.

Until now we have just seen brands taking the first steps in transforming analogue experiences into digital connections. 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.

We expect to see many more marketers explore the use of mobile technology as a way to create simple, easy interaction with their brands through every touchpoint in 2015. To get media right by getting mobile right, don’t stalk and don’t spam. Make sure that consumers get messages that are relevant to their location, mindset and task. Mobile can glue the rest of your media mix together but it’ll only be truly effective if you’ve really thought about the consumer need.


Written by:

Duncan Southgate,

Global Brand Director – Digital,

Millward Brown

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