Using the iPhone platform as part of the marketing mix should be seen as essential for the right brand. In basic terms this can be achieved by making existing digital marketing accessible to iPhone owners and allowing the users to easily access brand related content. A more proactive approach is to create applications for the iPhone which turn your brand into a shared social experience and something which is truly interactive.
The most prominent example of this approach can be seen in the form of iPint, the refreshing virtual beer from Carling. The simplicity, immediacy and ability to share the experience with others has made the application a must have (and must show) regardless of your preferred tipple. In terms of branding, the design of iPint is slick and relevant from the beer mats right through to the pint itself and no doubt has been shared by countless users in bars around the world right where they’re making a buying decision.
Nike have also joined the iParty with their Nike Training Club application (a very basic fitness trainer aimed specifically at women) and Nike Goal (a slick news application for Serie A). The interesting point regarding the latter application is the way in which it spins commonly accessible data in the brand’s favour by creating a league table out of the goal scoring prowess of players wearing specific Nike boots. These boots are also then showcased through sylised and well branded video clips although the application does miss the opportunity to monetise the situation.
There are of course countless ways of engaging with the target audience beyond gimmicky applications or games, and obvious functionality such as using the GPS to locate ‘like-branded’ users or key brand touchpoints, ticket purchasing technology, virtual token processes or discounts delivered via the iPhone are all ways that enable brands to become part of the user’s personal digital space to increase awareness and relevance.
A quote from technology strategist and prominent blogger Michael Leis sums up the opportunities for brands in this area:
“Remember: it’s all about helping people do the things they already do in a cooler, more efficient or more memorable way. Your brand is the context within which they do it.”
The iPhone is a feature rich platform with a global and measurable delivery method for third party applications and, as such, is a must for well considered and innovative brand marketing. The ability for iPhone owners to constantly upgrade their smartphones through the App Store rather than constantly buying new hardware makes it stand out in a competitive market.
With a global economy in decline and consumers having to be ever more prudent, there’s a certain irony in a high end Apple product like the iPhone becoming a cost effective option.