A creative approach to mobile

September 26, 2012 8:13 am
Mark Hastings, Head of Mobile at Dare, shares four recent examples where applying a creative approach to mobile has reaped rewards.
In the world of mobile people generally get excited about the technology.  Witness the hype around the latest Apple announcement.  Everybody loves a bit of gadgetry, but it can detract from the importance of a clear purpose and great content. “People don’t want gadgets, they want services.” Jeff Bezos. He should know.
Here are four experiences that have thought about the customer journey, identified unmet needs, defined a role for mobile, and created content and experiences that deliver against that. Sounds obvious, but it often gets missed.
1. Sick Kids Pain Squad
Cancer hospitals need to know which treatments are working and need the patients to tell them. That’s hard as the patients are suffering real pain – it’s especially hard for kids. A Toronto hospital created the Pain Squad app to encourage kids to record the pain they were suffering so they could build and monitor records.
This needs to be easy asthese children are in awful pain. And it needs to be encouraging. The interface is clean, push notifications remind the kids to fill it out, and they are rewarded with promotion through the ranks of Pain Squad with content from the stars of TV Police shows. Watch this film to find out more about the app.
This is an amazing piece of work. Besides being for a great cause it’s a simple idea. The content, twinned with the reward and sociability, make it work. Mobile enables the kids to record pain as it happens. Imagine the fall in completion rates and accuracy of data if the kids had to wait to be at a computer.
2. Neiman Marcus, NM Service
This is certainly less worthy, but a great commercial example.  This video explains what the app is all about. You get invited to a last-minute premiere (as you do) and need an outfit, but you don’t have time. So you find outfits on your mobile, add them to a list and make an appointment to meet your personal shopper who gathers all the outfits for when you arrive and also recommends others based on your choices.
They haven’t tried to re-engineer the shopping process. Instead they’ve identified where it sits in the consumers’ life and found a way to remove barriers such as waiting time. The other clever part is the CRM element. The app keeps a record of what you’ve bought previously, so they can recommend items that go with other things you’ve bought. This is beneficial for both Neiman Marcus and the consumer.
This works as a mobile experience because it acts on a timely need driven by ‘now’ consumption. Hotels.com recently announced that 60% of bookings from mobile are for stays the same night, so it’s not only needing to do something now, but also about consuming (almost) now.
3. Tesco, ‘Come home to a full fridge’ ads in Gatwick
Tesco has identified a user need and created a prompt and channel for a captive audience to act.
Billboards in Gatwick prompt the “we won’t have any food in when we get back” thought, then enables people to do something about it. Using the Tesco app you scan the barcode of the product you want and arrange for it to be delivered when you’re back. Convenience for the consumer, business for Tesco and a likelihood to attract new users for the app as people sit waiting for their delayed flight.
I haven’t seen this in person so don’t know how well it works, but I love the simplicity of it, borne out of considering the customers’ experience and seeing where the brand can play a meaningful part in that.
4. NABS Fast Forward, mobile site. www.nabsff.org.uk
Apologies for including Dare work here, but I’ve included it to make a point rather than to promote the work (which is, after all, for our industry charity). I wanted to show that simple mobile sites can be an effective solution, whereas the previous examples have been native apps and complex ones at that.
NABS is a charity for the ad industry and Fast Forward is a training course for the bright young things to get tuition from the best in the industry. Participants attend different venues each week, meeting new faces as they go. So we created a mobile site that directs users to maps and enables them to find course mates and speakers by name and agency. The site links to maps on the device (locations pinned) and to LinkedIn for profile information, avoiding recreating content that exists already on the web.
It’s a very simple experience designed for people on the go, driven by clear use cases.
Four different examples, all prompted by different points – the human body, society, outdoor and a busy schedule. Interestingly, they all originate offline and are completed online and that’s where mobile can really make a difference – creating a direct and immediate connection between channels.
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