Today the world runs on things we didn’t anticipate a decade ago. The introduction of the iPhone, social networks to location based check-ins and status feeds keeping us up to the second. Now I say up to the second, because saying up to date is now old fashioned, actually Stone Age. We want information real time and in seconds, with new network technologies and devices that give us outstanding speeds like LTE and beyond.
How does a brand jump in this Eco-system? As you may know a brand is not a logo, but a brand is an all encompassing belief. One strain of this belief will cut away in the brand appeal and make it less and less believable. I’ll give you an example, Imagine yourself in the beginning of the millennium, you’re a top bank and you’re welcoming the world of digital with a fresh website to the digital immigrants or people who knew the world before the Internet. A few years pass by and the world changes again, those digital immigrants settle in and naturalize and become accustomed to the digital world. Their demands change and their brand belief changes, a bank without on-line banking is an old fashioned bank and the brand belief lessens. The world changes again as the world welcomes the first generation of digital natives; young individuals who don’t know the world before the Internet.
The mobile device today is a companion and inseparable entity in our daily lives. The mobile phone is no longer a device to send and receive calls. It is your life line to the world, the digital world that keeps your entire world in your pocket but most of the time your hands. Three years ago I did a technology work shop and introduced the concept of generation “T”. The last era saw the formulation and growth of Generation X, these are the baby boomers of World War II and then their children brought in Generation Y, the rebel generation that we all admire. However Generation T or the “thumb” generation has grown hundreds of thousands of times faster than any generation in recorded history. I labeled it as the thumb generation or generation T.
Generation T is the only generation that has taken previous generations X&Y put them on a time-machine and transferred them into the future. Now what do brands have to do here? What do brand agencies have to do here? The framework has fundamentally changed and there is a culture embedded in today’s mind set. Today we live in a world wide global culture of “is there an app for that?”
Application development for a brand is not about the core functionality of the company’s operation. Meaning what the app does isn’t what reflects the brand. However what the app feels and looks like is the essential part of the brand promise. UI ( user interface ) and UX ( user experience ) is what makes today’s world of Generation T appeal to the brand. An example, brash brands has taken branding to the next level, this fine art of logo design, brand identity and architecture is like no other. However when the Dubai Mall the world most talks about mall in the world has the most destructive App in the market made the Dubai Mall’s brand appeal less then average. The belief that Dubai mall is sophisticated and up to second has been all thrown down the drain. People today believe in surprise, they don’t know what they want until you show it to them. The Dubai Mall app must be designed to give at same Wow experience they give in their facility.
Here is an example of how the app should work :
The App should be designed with the fundamental elements of fluidity they designed the mall itself and basic concepts from their parking lots too. It must be re-designed to feel like a mall, from when you enter the mall and leave it, and when you enter the app and leave it.
The App should project the same experience of the mall, your walking and shopping. You can do that in the App at a much better rate and have the same mall experience from the comfort of your thumbs.
Location based wifi or navigation tagging. Inside the mall, being inside the mall would help you pin point your location, know where to go and plan your shopping trip within the App. This would create an experience never seen in the world. I always get this, ” where to now” imagine you plan your Dubai Mall experience a day before, plan out your routes and shops you want to visit and have it take you to the place you wanna go.
App should generate revenue, companies today are not really looking into how to make the app make money to sustain itself. Imagine this, you take a fee from shops inside the mall to advertise in the app, which would take them to the shop, present a special coupon placed in their Apple ” Passbook”. Apps are media spaces to promote daily, and hourly specials. Engage the Mall visitor,( ” beep beep” seems your close to Mango, get there in the next ten minutes and receive a 25% discount, if you get there on time) activate timer? The timer ticks you get there in time, press check-in and the geo-location accurately ensures your in Mango. Boom! your 25% discount is in your pocket.
Points and loyalty? Let me give you a sniff of what you can do with brand integrate technology. The Nike fuel band today is a device that every person is adopting, Nike has whole heartedly released its API for the device and developers now can make Apps that can talk to the device. Now imagine, the Dubai Mall app is synced to your Nike Fuel band. Briefly, I would say ” hey, since your at Dubai Mall make your Nike points count, score 2000 points in the mall sync them on our Dubai Mall app and get your free healthy lunch at Subway. Subway pays for the integration, visitor is engaged and created an affiliation with the mall, the Dubai Mall is a personified brand that actually talks to the visitor. Overall it makes my mall day worth while. Needless to say Apple just acquired an indoor GPS company called WifiSalm, this should be a big eye opener to big retail facilities like Dubai Mall and others.
I am not talking in the year 2050 we can do this today! We need companies to believe, brands are just more that what a brochure or identity can do, Branding agencies should make brands of the future. Let’s change everything…again and again