- Forrester Councils
- Councils Overview
- log in
Posted by Kerry Bodine on April 4, 2011
We use mobile devices throughout the day to communicate with each other, get timely information, and entertain ourselves. And, because they’re almost always within a few feet of us, these devices offer myriad opportunities for brands to insert themselves into our lives in meaningful ways. But brands have been slow to realize this opportunity.
Whenever I browse the Apple app store, I’m always shocked by the small number of apps that have been commissioned by big brands — and this holds true for the Android and BlackBerry app stores, too. The app landscape is absolutely dominated by new startups — and big brands are getting left in their dust.
Take, for example, Apple’s list of top free iPhone apps from 2010. Big brands were noticeably missing from the following categories, where only one of the top 10 apps was from a big brand:
So why is this a problem? As my colleague Chris Stutzman said in a recent report, “brands must be built on the experiences they deliver, not merely the messages they advertise.” Amen. It’s no longer enough to tell consumers why they should buy your products or services. Instead, brands need to deliver real value to people through experiences that span a growing ecosystem of interaction points. And while customer experience professionals are understandably wary of making major investments in new tech trends (Second Life, anyone?), mobile is here to stay. (Forrester’s research shows that more than 80% of US individuals have a cell phone, and 17% have a smartphone.)
But for brands to take advantage of the mobile channel, they need to do more than just have an app. The real opportunity lies in extending the brand in some way that actually delivers value within the context of customers’ lives.
Many brands do this through predictable functionality that directly maps to their existing business models. For example, Bank of America’s iPhone app helps customers pay bills and find nearby Band of America ATMs, the ABC News app offers news and weather information, and the Southwest Airlines app lets users book flights and check in.
A couple of companies stand out for creating apps that innovatively align their brands with their customers’ interests and needs:
Customer experience professionals who want to leverage the mobile channel to its full potential need to:
Brands that fail to create meaningful mobile interactions with their customers risk losing these opportunities to other big brands — and to the sea of startups that are hungry to displace them.