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Marketing on Next-Wave Devices

  |  August 28, 2007   |  Comments

Five ways to extend a brand on new gadgets and technologies.

What do you call the collision between new technologies, passionate technology enthusiasts, and mainstream media's nonstop coverage of technology launches?

Pop culture computing.

Though it's no Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan, the iPhone has generated plenty of attention. What about the BlackBerry Curve or the new Garmin nĂ¼vi? When these devices and platforms debut, they'll doubtless generate buzz among enthusiasts.

.No doubt about it, just about everyone knows about these gadgets and brands. How many times have you heard a flight attendant ask passengers to shut off their phone, Game Boy, BlackBerry, PSP, or iPod? On my way back from Toronto the other day, the customs agent yelled, "Please shut off your Bluetooth devices!"

How can you and your brand ride alongside the pop culture tremor of new devices and technologies?

By taking an actual ride!

Recently, I demonstrated prototypes (based on some new consumer technologies) to some clients. The offering was simple, but the payoff could be exponentially greater. Our job is to provide content on new platforms that have an enthusiastic audience. The goal is to: surprise and delight people who want to be surprised and delighted.

How do you do it? It shouldn't be more complicated than your offering. Here are five steps to get you started:

  1. Identify the most valuable form of immediate information. Is it news? Weather? Product updates? Chances are, you've already put information out as syndicated content, such as an RSS feed or a desktop widget. Start with this information, as it's likely to have the widest appeal. If you get stuck, talk to your metrics group. They'll know what people want.

  2. Read blogs. Learn what excites the enthusiasts. Even if the product isn't news anymore (some blogs focus on what's coming rather than what's arrived), chances are the blogs are talking about the product's or platform's audience and their current frustrations or unmet needs. Figure out where your content is best served.

  3. Go to the source. Learn how to develop content for the platform by checking with the manufacturer's site for developer information or the sites where enthusiasts gather. Chances are there's a community discussing what you need to know. Perhaps you can work with this community to support its efforts through a grass-roots sponsorship.

  4. Distribute your product. Check out which file formats the device or platform accepts and figure out the best way to distribute your content. If it's an iPhone, for instance, you need to make a site act like an application. If it's a BlackBerry, write it as an application. If it's a portable media device, you might want to release a weekly multimedia file delivered via RSS.

  5. Promote it. Start with your own brand enthusiasts. If targeting a mobile device, greet those enthusiasts with a message about the product. Connect with the platform's manufacturer to see if you can promote your offering on its site.

Is it risky? Sure. But it's low risk and low cost. You won't lose your shirt. And a few great experiences could lead to some very positive word of mouth. Remember, those who try and fail know 1,000 percent more than those who didn't.


Chad Stoller

Chad Stoller is the executive director of emerging platforms at Organic Inc., a leading digital communications agency with clients such as DaimlerChrysler, Sprint, and Bank of America. In this role, Chad leads Organic's strategy on client communication platforms and Organic's Experience Lab. Prior to Organic, he spent 13 years at Arnell Group in various roles, including director of communications solutions, and was responsible for branded entertainment, new media, branded gaming, and marketing alliances. He has developed a series of award-winning programs, including the Cannes Lion winner, "Terry Tate: Office Linebacker," for Reebok and Jeep Evo 4 x 4 for DaimlerChrysler. Chad is also a regular contributor to Organic's blog, ThreeMinds.

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