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Geolocation Based Social Media for Brands
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Geolocation Based Social Media for Brands



One would be hard pressed to find a “hotter” trend at this moment than location based (or geo-location) social media. ...

One would be hard pressed to find a “hotter” trend at this moment than location based (or geo-location) social media.

But, beyond the adoption by the early social media technographic segments – brands and their agencies have yet to develop meaningful campaigns, yet alone platforms which full advantage of this technology or create deeper, more meaningful engagements.

This document is intended to evaluate this enabling technology and it’s possibilities with the realities of delivering on business objectives



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    Geolocation Based Social Media for Brands Geolocation Based Social Media for Brands Document Transcript

    • INTRODUCTION May 2010 One would be hard pressed to find a “hotter” trend Table of Contents of the moment than location-based (or geolocation) Introduction 2 social media. Overview 3 Beyond the adoption by the early social media A Brief History 4 technographic segments - brands and their agencies have yet to develop meaningful Why Now 5 campaigns, let alone platforms which take An Evaluation 6 full advantage of this technology or create deeper, more meaningful engagements. Why we are Supporting It 8 Applicability 9 The rapid pace of new innovations/trends/inventions means any document on the subject would be out- • Location Guide / Nike True City 10 of-date by the time it is published. The hope was to • Incentivized Brand Engagement / 11 present more than just the “aggregated data”, but a Gowalla & The New York Nets bit of inspiration which leads to ideas that delivers value to brands and users. • Loyalty & Reward Programs / 12 Topshop & tasti D-lite This document is intended to evaluate this enabling • Training & Orientation / Harvard 13 technology and its possibilities with the realities of delivering on business objectives from awareness, • Social Responsibility / Gowalla & 14 preference, advocacy creation, and of course the Peet’s Coffee - Hearts for Haiti overall impact to revenue. China: A Blip on the Radar 15 Douglas Lin Evolving Platforms and Toolsets 16 Head of Digital Strategy Next Steps for Brands & Agencies 17 BBDO/Proximity Singapore Conclusions 18 douglas.lin@bbdo.com twitter: dlin Appendix 19 2
    • OVERVIEW Geosocial networking is social networking utilizing Brands can now play a part in users’ daily lives, Global Positioning System (GPS) to associate a not through disruption or broadcast means – but user’s position with their activities. User-submitted through engaging users within the course of their location data allow social networks to connect everyday lives. Geolocation now allows the “how” and coordinate users with locales and/or events and the “where”, to go along with the “what” and that match their interests to enrich the social “why” of marketing communications. networking experience. 3
    • A BRIEF HISTORY Two platforms currently dominate the space – As the platforms have evolved, differences have Foursquare and Gowalla. Both were founded in the become less pronounced as the community has United States and have become synonymous with helped dictate current and future features and the current trend of geolocation based social media. development. At their core, they are very similar and provide However, the space is not limited to these. Twitter, users with gameplay aspects in the form of Facebook, and Google, among others, now all collection of “badges” or “pins”, which then include location-based features and capabilities. translate into “mayorships” or “founders”. 4
    • WHY NOW Location-based services are not new. As with all social media, it’s less about the technology and more about user behavior From smoke signals to drums, the basic principles of location-based communications extend as far back Geolocation based services have existed for the as recorded civilization. The current iteration is simply last few years with the introduction of GPS on a result of existing technology with the latest crop of handsets and cellular triangulation (user location commercially available products and services. based on mobile tower positions). The technology has not caused the recent boom in attention, rather What is new is the cross-roads we are at in which it has been the adoption of game-play, competition, social media based communication have now incentives and sharing – behaviors people are already gained mainstream adoption in most of the world. exhibiting in the social media space. GPS technology now provides a range of new and interesting possibilities for how people engage with Factors for recent uptake include: one another – which creates an opportunity for Maturing Social Media populations – comfortable brands to connect with a variety of different users posting, sharing commenting within digital based in ways which were difficult if not impossible channels before-hand. Pervasiveness of 3G networks + GPS Enabled Smartphones However, detractors say the current crop of Integration of new platforms with existing Social location-based platforms appeal to a limited audience Media platforms of technology enthusiasts and that the encouragement to announce one’s every move is a foolish breach of A successful strategy, and understanding user insights privacy, and narcissistic at the same time. are still paramount in utilizing a mobile tactic within these platforms. A Precursor? Nokia viNe Released: September 2008 Nokia viNe is based on Sports Tracker (a GPS Some potential reasons include: based sports monitoring application/service) which tags a user’s content (photos, posts, etc) User base limited to a single manufacturer including the location and plots your journey platform and specific handset models on a map. On the website you can look at and share your journeys, filtering by user, Created a continuous “Journey” as opposed to place or time. capturing single instances. Requires users to actively decide to create a thread of participation There’s also an online widget which you can as opposed to incremental check-ins throughout place on your blog or Facebook page, allowing their normal daily behavior others to see what you’ve been up to. Not tied to existing social media platforms beyond broadcasting posts. Not targeted Nokia viNe could be considered a precursor to “friends” or existing user-defined communities the modern GPS based Social Media platforms, but arguably never gained worldwide mass in No ongoing incentives for behavior – either for terms of adoption or usage. quality or quantity of viNes. 5
    • AN EVALUATION The current numbers are miniscule in comparison Figure 2: Technology World Wide Statistics to more established social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter Figure 1: Social Media World Wide User Base Metro specific Because these current iteration of platforms focus on cities, and appeal to young, social technorati urbanites - criticism has been leveled about its applicability to suburban and rural areas. However, the potential for growth exists due to the worldwide increase in smartphone users and the “Badges” and “Founders” however require mass. growing access to high speed mobile networks. And beyond population base – income levels, high- speed data access, and behavioral trending all lend Recent data indicates smartphone shipments will itself more to establishing a core audience within reach 406.7 million by 2014, and will account for 29 metropolitan regions. percent of the total global handset market. 6 out of 10 people worldwide now have access to a High More importantly is the pass-along or “influencer” Speed Packet Access (HSPA) networks. effect that tends to originate in urban areas and ripples outwards, which necessitates focusing on Technological Trends Support Adoption this core audience for future growth. Besides the obvious uptake in location-based social media platforms, other international trends support a positive outlook for adoption. “Foursquare’s potential limitations become clear. The game mechanics--badges, points, Maturation/Continual growth of Social “mayorship” crowns--and ability to source Media platforms tips and recommendations from the app give Smartphone Sales and Adoption it a little bit of an edge above just finding your Netbook/Tablet based computing options friends. But many of the badges themselves-- Pervasiveness of readily available Wifi 10 different pizzerias, five different Starbucks 3G+ Network adoption coffee shops, a venue where at least 50 other Foursquare users are checked in--are best suited to dense urban areas, too.” Caroline McCarthy CNET News.com April 20, 2010 6
    • AN EVALUATION Global urbanization continue an upwards trend. As of 2008, over half the world’s population now Foursquare and Gowalla live in urban areas, and while “More Developed Countries” still maintain the highest overall To date, Foursquare and Gowalla have percentages of city dwellers, the next few decades enjoyed the most mainstream success in will see large scale growth in the “less and least” the United States and Western European developing world – particularly in Africa and Asia markets, with increasing adoption in Europe, where the urban population numbers will double Asia, and Australasia – specifically in larger between 2000 and 2030. metropolitan areas. It is estimated that by 2030, cities in the developing The majority of brand participants have been world will make up 81 per cent of all urban humanity. with companies with a physical retail footprint – from local coffee shops to multinational chains like Starbucks. Secondary brand Figure 3: World Wide Urbanization Trends / Forecast participants have been content channels – TV, magazines, etc. Recent figures indicate businesses are offering more than 2,100+ discounts or giveaways to Foursquare users as of May 2010 Starbucks has recently announced the first-ever nationwide mayor special with Foursquare April 2010, Foursquare signs-up the millionth user of its location-based software Foursquare reportedly added over 15,000 users a day as of May 20, 2010 Gowalla announced a partnership with National Geographic and The Washington Considerations Post promoting a new service feature Potential hurdles include the integration of monitoring, reporting, and analytics. With an increase in the quantity of platforms – common metrics and integration with social media, traditional site and media statistics will further cloud the criteria for business “success”. Additionally, potential privacy issues and government regulations could stifle growth. 7
    • WHY WE ARE SUPPORTING IT The distinction between “who we are” within a “digital” technologically savvy users through the introduction and “real” space was more of a marketing construct of of geo-location features into existing channels. our imagination and was precarious at best. Emphasis will become less platform dependent – as Social media based technologies have simply made long as content is readily and freely accessible. This is us more effective at maintaining relationships far because open Application Protocol Interfaces (APIs) greater than we could through face-to-face or analog are now the norm, allowing users to access data channels. More importantly, it has allowed users to outside of the fixed confines of a platform. For example, leverage their own spheres of influence to broadcast Foursquare data now readily appears and can be individually or create groundswell as part of a larger accessed on Facebook, Twitter, Google Buzz, LinkedIn group (community). etc. Regardless of the platform – distributed content models will allow users to participate from within their Foursquare and Gowalla are the current market own preferred platform(s). leaders. But major online properties including Google, Facebook, and Twitter have all recently added their As status updates to tweets evolve, check-ins are fast own location-based service offerings. As opposed to becoming an instilled user behavior. Leveraging this muddling the waters, the entry by these players will behavior is the first opportunity for the development of bring an increased awareness and adoption by less a virtual for brands to build engagement on. Apple Patent Developments On May 13, 2010 the US Patent & Trademark Office published a new location-based system from Apple. The new technology allows content to automatically appear and disappear via an application on the user’s mobile device based on their physical location of the handset. The two examples demonstrate this potentially powerful delivery mechanism: Example 1: Restaurant A user approaches a restaurant. User Comes Into Range The handset automatically receives realtime data from the restaurant including: Location Location Server Mobile Device Display Information Identifies Wait time for a table Information Communicated Content based Receives Content on Identified Information Mobile Device to Server Information Menu including any daily specials Example 2: Library As you enter a public library, The entire card catalog including the status User Leaves Range of all books/media currently available is Location Server Content downloaded to your device. Location Information Identifies Mobile Device no Longer Information Deletes Communicated Content based Available on The day’s events Identified to Server Information Information Mobile Device Calendar of events Status updates for any books the user has on-hold, overdue, etc The value of the system is that once you leave the area, all the location’s data disappears from your device. The potential applicability for brands is obviously significant. 8
    • APPLICABILITY Geolocation platforms on mobile handsets extends the bridge from social media into the physical world. 2 Educate Marketers have always utilized data such as demographic and psychographic information to segment and target influencers through to prime consumer prospects. Location will become another (albeit very powerful) attribute for marketers to better target their audiences. 1 4 Personalized communications content Awareness Response based on user profiles and activity in the digital and physical space Removal of barriers to facilitate user/ brand engagement 3 Improved engagement based on segment Brand Affinity usage patterns Increased depth of content, including user 1 Awareness generated/requested Geo-location platforms can help create awareness of event/product(s) through providing proximity Communication frequency and content information. based on user self-selection and activity Extends branded communications through social media channels. Best practices learned in existing Social Media development including research, measurement and insights – allow users 2 Educate to refine and define engagements – are Brands create and users contribute information all still applicable and require a financial which can be presented based on proximity, and operational investment in ongoing thereby creating an interactive web of knowledge. monitoring, content development, and platform evolution. 3 Brand Affinity Brands have another channel to showcase their core values and product strengths. Unlike traditional word-of-mouth, social media based user advocacy is recorded and can be leveraged over time. Furthers reach for audiences to engage with the brand. 4 Response By understanding a user’s behavior (time, location) with a brand, targeted incentives and promotions can be communicated, further bolstering purchase intentions or increasing product trials. 9
    • LOCATION GUIDE / NIKE TRUE CITY Nike developed the “True City” iPhone application (or most popular) will have an opportunity to join the to provide information on various European cities, team of Nike insiders. It appears that Nike is reaching created by “Nike experts”. It engaged users by for an army of hyper-local, mobile-connected advocates. allowing them to update content with their view of what a “true city” should be – to combine social In addition, a QR code reader allows users to unlock elements with current mobile technologies to create secrets around the city. Events were announced a next-gen city and travel guide. through these QR codes, giving an added social incentive for being the first to be in the know. The With each city comes a host ‘tastemaker’ to guide app reveals where new Nike events are taking users to lesser known community attractions. For place, where there are secret QR-codes in each Paris, it is BKRW founder Jay Smith. However, city or even new Nike products to be launched, Jay’s perspective alone is not enough, as an addition creating an interesting community where you can to each host there is a second tier of designated be rewarded on your own or by sharing to the rest contributors and a third of so called ‘civilian’ of users. All content can be shared via Facebook. contributors. Everyone is encouraged to add their own finds, geo-tagged, throughout a city. The best, 1 Awareness 2 Educate 3 Brand Affinity 4 Response 10
    • INCENTIVIZED BRAND ENGAGEMENT / GOWALLA & THE NEW YORK NETS On April 2, 2010, Gowalla released a post on their Gowalla users found the reward of a Nets ticket a blog to officially launch a campaign which gave new and different experience. The campaign brought Gowalla users the opportunity to win a pair of a demographic the New Jersey Nets would never tickets (out of 250 pairs) for a New Jersey Nets have reached in the first place. (a National Basketball Association Franchise) game. The campaign targeted sports-themed and Geolocation could open up experiential and event outdoor locations in order to reach an audience opportunities. Contest winners help create word- that was either enthusiastic about sports or active. of-mouth awareness for followers, and engage To extend the experience, virtual goods redeemable during events providing content (photos, video, for memorabilia would be given out during the game. and commentary) to enhance the experience for attendees – including non-users of these platforms. To leverage the traffic and create an extension of They also provide valuable insights and options post the platform, winners were directed to a Gowalla event, which can be used for future seeding activities branded table where they were rewarded with for follow-up campaigns. t-shirts, stickers, and their tickets. They were also reminded to check-in to the event to have a chance to win one of several jerseys the Nets provided for the campaign. During the game, pictures were taken and many public Twitter messages highlighted the user experience. The campaign was able to drive attendance to the game. 15.2% of Gowalla users who redeemed virtual tickets came to the game and brought a friend, family member, or significant other with them. Many of these attendees then spent money on parking, concessions, and merchandise. The user experience continued at the game. 89.5% of winners in attendance checked in upon arrival and were actively engaged because of the ability to win a reward. 1 Awareness 2 Educate 3 Brand Affinity 4 Response 11
    • LOYALTY & REWARD PROGRAMS / TOPSHOP & tasti D-lite Topshop tasti D-Lite Singaporean fashion retailer Topshop rewards its New York healthy dessert chain tasti D-Lite developed consumers for engagement within the Foursquare a virtual loyalty card – the mechanics of which are platform. Users who check-in and provide a tip for very similar to a traditional stamp or punch cards. the brand receive a reward of $10 redeemable on the spot with a minimum $80 spend. The Mayor of But by utilizing social media platforms, users who opt-in a location gets a $15 item (limited to every Tuesday can update their Facebook and Twitter status by from 2pm, once a day). On an ongoing basis, automatically checking in on Foursquare at articipating weekly fashion mayors get to win a host of exciting tasti D-lite outlets. Loyalty points however are earned merchandise every week at all participating outlets. for purchases by each for each social network connection you set up. The brand extended beyond Foursquare into Twitter and Facebook to include developing communities by tasti D-lite is able to leverage social media to create incentivizing follower and fan signups. By joining the brand awareness and advocacy by developing the “Fashion Fast Forward” Facebook fan page, users “word-of-mouth mechanics”. The existing user could win “gift cards”. behavior, of visiting a retail outlet is augmented by the value exchange – customers get points towards Topshop extended their Foursquare activities with a future purchase, the brand gets more visits and a campaign called “Snappin’ Surprise” which focuses share of the user’s voice. on the lull or the “rest break” during the shopping experience. Topshop focused the activity around the the comfy “lounge chairs”. This behavior targets those with a higher propensity for engagement – as well as a more highly technology engaged male segment. Users could engage by: Commenting on photos of the “rest spots”, including guessing the retail location you think these chairs are at. Visit retailers and and check-in on Foursquare Winners (one per chair) received a physical Foursquare badge and a Topshop/Topman gift card. 1 Awareness 2 Educate 3 Brand Affinity 4 Response 12
    • TRAINING & ORIENTATION / HARVARD American Ivy League university Harvard created friends, professors, and colleagues in new ways. a campus-based game that rewards students We also hope visitors and neighbors will benefit with badges and points for exploring the school from the platform as it grows through use.” and surrounding places of interest. The service enables students and visitors to explore the For brands, the use of geolocation creates the campus and surrounding neighborhoods while opportunity to develop induction or orientation sharing information about their favorite places and programs. Potential uses include internal training culminate into a Harvard specific badge. and development, where physical location can be tied into specific training programs. “Harvard is more than classrooms and buildings. It is an interconnected community of people, ideas, It can also be utilized to create branded journeys and experiences, and we are actively pursuing for consumers. Similar to guided “audio tours” at ways to enhance those connections,” said Perry museums – which aren’t intended to replace, but Hewitt, Director of Digital Communications and augment experiences, location-based check-ins Communications Services for Harvard Public Affairs can be used to extend beyond a single physical and Communications. “We believe that Harvard’s location with potential ties into sponsorships . participation will allow our community to engage with 1 Awareness 2 Educate 3 Brand Affinity 4 Response 13
    • SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY / GOWALLA & PEET’S COFFEE - HEARTS FOR HAITI Following the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Gowalla Checking-in at charity events could provide an partnered with Bay Area businesses Peet’s Coffee opportunity for targeted engagement based on & Tea and Alice Radio to create a benefit campaign common beliefs and values. For example, at a lung called “Hearts for Haiti.” cancer 10K run, brands like Johnson & Johnson could provide Nicorette offers and information to For every user who checked-in on Gowalla on help smokers quit. Or checking-in at a set number of February 8th, 2010, at two designated Peet’s retail specified “Green” location could unlock incentives for outlets – $50 would be donated to the American Red a brand’s sustainability programs. Cross. Peet’s also donated 10% of all sales made at the two locations during the effort. Volunteer recruitment could also use this channel to broadcast requests. A “We still need volunteers” tip Brands focused on Social Responsibility programs at a specific location extends reach and provides real- could utilize location-based platforms to incentivize time updating capability for organizations. This also and track consumer behavior. By engaging in has applicability for employee recruiting as well. sponsored or approved activities, brands could provide virtual incentives similar to cause “Ribbon” pins. 1 Awareness 2 Educate 3 Brand Affinity 4 Response 14
    • CHINA: A Blip on The Radar Geolocation based social media has seen a rapid Central to Gowalla and Foursquare’s burgeoning take-off in America & Europe, as well as the tech- success has been the integration with Facebook and savvy nations in the Asia Pacific region such as Twitter, both of which are banned from the regular Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore. In China where the Chinese netizen. The key to unlocking the platform “Great Firewall” resides, we are also beginning to within China (and other markets with limited access observe inroads being made into the market. and restrictions) could be based on integrating with the local government sanctioned social media In December 2009, numbers on the Foursquare platforms. However, the potential issues of user platform hit 500, and has seen steady growth. privacy data as well as the political and PR fall-out In Beijing & Shanghai, tech-savvy users have with users in other markets could outweigh any managed to get Foursquare working within their commercial benefits. personal Virtual Private Networks (VPN). These tech- savvy users invest personal time to stay informed and updated on the latest happenings on the slew of social media products hitting the market. On June 4, 2010 China blocked access to Foursquare. It is believed to be tied to the upcoming 21st Anniversary of the Democratic Protests at Tianamen Square, and the number of check-ins and “Tips” critical of the Chinese government. It is unknown whether this is temporary or will remain permanent. 15
    • EVOLVING PLATFORMS AND TOOLSETS Retail/Brand Dashboard With the overall focus on analytics and reporting, Foursquare has recently introduced a Retailer Dashboard which gives business owners access to a range of information and statistics about Foursquare visitors to their establishments. This includes: Who has “checked-in” When they arrived Male-to-female visitor ratio Active times of day per visitor type Ability to offer instant promotions to try to engage new customers and keep current ones. Staff can also engage directly with users via the tool. Users have the ability to set privacy settings to opt-out and keep their information private. White Label – Private Geo-location Platforms San Francisco based DoubleDutch has introduced The level of customization allows for more specific a white-label platform for developing branded and locales (an office within a building) and can include closed networks. The company provides custom- real-time mapping and live streams based on user built check-in applications, and has just announced activity. It also includes a pre-existing database of two new features: reviews and content which reduces the burden of content creation and maintenance. Conferences: A networking app that helps conference attendees network and share knowledge. Universities: A mobile social network that allows university students the ability to share location and info with each other under the privacy of their university’s community. The value of the system is it creates “micro-communities” outside of a user’s personal profiles on existing Social Media platforms based on either locale or common (business) purpose. So for conferences – you would be able to engage with a group of attendees without the external chatter and provide a level of control specific to the organization’s needs. 16
    • NEXT STEPS FOR BRANDS & AGENCIES Consumer preferences on brand awareness and Potential geolocation services in mobile have to perception can be of significant value in developing deal with a high uncertainty regarding consumers’ processes for innovative products and services. acceptance and intensity in use – but is appropriate for specific audience segments or strategies with innovation based objectives. Near Term Tactics/Extensions Extending traditional Advertising campaigns Experiential One of the most obvious short term tactics For brands already engaging consumers with is to utilize location-based check-ins for “integrated” campaigns including experiential experiential based campaign activities. Creation elements, location-based technology augments of event specific “badges” and incentivized the role SMS has been fulfilled. Outdoor/Display user engagement is a low risk mechanic – both advertising interaction can utilize location-based financially and for brand reputation. It also allows services to allow users to interact with dynamic brands who are less active in the social media media and target personalized messaging space to identify leads and target users with broader influence for future campaigns and Media ongoing engagement. Media opportunities exist beyond targeted offers within the platform. Aggregated location check- By requiring event check-in, and allowing users in data can be used to define media strategy for to move beyond posting their own content, a tech-oriented audience and mobile specific geolocation platforms allow users to start behavior. Out-of-home digital placements could engaging directly with the active community use surrounding area check-in data to help target participating at the event, as well as potentially ad placements and personalize incentives and with users viewing via digital channels from afar. offers based on nearby users. For example, when ten users check-in nearby, digital signage can be FMCG/CPG Tie-Ins triggered to display targeted advertising based on For consumer package good companies with an aggregation of their profiles. defined retail distribution, the opportunity exists to target users with e-couponing and/or promotional tie-ins. The ability to directly engage users, either independently or partnered with retailers, creates the opportunity to develop behavior-based engagement – for example – if a user checks into a supermarket or convenience store, a brand can offer an incentive for purchase – even targeting traditional lulls in purchase either by date or even to time of day or event. 17
    • CONCLUSIONS Like any emerging technology based consumer As the adoption of this technology becomes trends, location-based social media has its mainstream, brands need to identify how to advocates and detractors. The arguments against position themselves within the user’s behavior to however are very similar in nature to the same ones intercept them with relevant and valuable branded previously directed at other technologies which in communications. Integration of communications hindsight have proven (mostly) unfounded. channels resulting in a comprehensive engagement platform where digital (online, mobile, etc) and “real” So long as the technology is consistent and world activities work in concert compliments existing human behavior, the applicability will find a place with users – whether Geolocation based social media is nothing to be niche or mass. scared of. But whatever innovation paths brands choose to follow, education and training for the The more relevant argument is which platform(s) customer-focused staff to deliver on the user and aspects of the current iteration are likely to experience must be developed in parallel. A great live beyond this initial growth phase. Gameplay online user experience doesn’t mitigate, it magnifies and badges are the first steps, and while they the expectation of an exceptional brand experience. have been successful for pushing the platforms in themselves, for brands – the opportunity is in “The future as always belongs to the brave” how to partner with these technologies to develop Bill Bernbach the next evolution for what these technologies can deliver. Hopefully the examples provide a glimpse of the possibilities. While never a sure bet, geolocation based social media provides more direct tangible business benefits. It is also less risky than proprietary platforms and properties requiring large capital and operational investments and is a natural progression for brands already (or about to enter) the social media space. 18
    • APPENDIX 19
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