Last week, I had the chance to attend a keynote on mobile - and even more broadly, the notion of connectedness - given by Emily Nagle Green, president and CEO of Yankee Group and author of "Anywhere."
I found myself furiously taking notes because the themes and questions that Emily shared struck me as absolutely essential for developing a winning mobile strategy.
Below are 10 of the nuggets I took away, along with my take on their implications. I hope you find this as useful as I did.
Mobile increases consumer expectations of connectedness. We tend to evaluate new opportunities with a tipping point mentality, asking ourselves "when is the opportunity big enough to take seriously?" The statistics already tell us that mobile has reached that point, but I loved how Emily reframed the issue away from hard facts and toward a very clear picture of the way behavior has changed as a result of the powerful computers we carry with us in our pockets and purses.
Simply put, we expect more, all the time. Instead of thinking about whether mobile is big enough, we should be thinking about what expectations we'd actually be failing to meet without a thoughtful approach to mobile in place.
Connectivity makes things more useful. When thinking about the expectations consumers have, start here. What useful thing could we do if we added connectivity to existing experiences? Take an inventory of all the places your brand exists and insert a connected experience wherever it adds value.
Presence at the point of need. Every product or service exists to serve a consumer need. Think about the time or place that the need manifests itself, and how mobile can play a helpful role. Whether it's in a store, at an airport, in the home, or anyplace else, it's a good bet that mobile could enhance the experience. What better place for the brand to exist than at the point where the need for it becomes apparent?
It's not a screen, it's a partner. Mobile is certainly a media channel - and one that's about to get a lot more interesting with the launch of the iAd platform - but thinking of mobile predominantly as another screen to deliver messages misses the real benefit. Instead, think of mobile as an extension of your team.
Create apps that deliver persistent value. Apps are fickle things. They're hard to find and easily forgotten once downloaded. Creating sticky apps is as difficult as creating a video you hope goes viral. How do you create something that maintains relevance? Read on to number 6...
Think about problem solving. As opposed to messaging, or branding, or anything else that's primarily driven by your brand's objectives. If you want to be a go-to app that stays on the first screen, solve a problem for consumers in a way that makes sense for your brand.
The mobile Web isn't the mini-Internet. Ten years ago, the mantra was: "a website is not an online version of your brochure." Today, we similarly need to remind ourselves that the mobile Web experience shouldn't be a pocket-sized version of the desktop. Mobile sites should be created ground-up, prioritizing the information mobile consumers need. A useful (and maybe unflattering) exercise to go through is to access your company's Web content on a mobile device. If you find a same-but-smaller version of the desktop site, you'll know you're not giving consumers what they need.
Use mobile's embedded tools. To differentiate from the desktop experience and develop something mobile-worthy, think about how you can use the tools that mobile devices increasingly come equipped with, including GPS, accelerometer, camera, video, speakers, etc. For thought starters, read this insanely long but very useful post by mobile guru Tomi Ahonen about the eight unique properties of the mobile device and how they can be put to good use.
Don't rely on your brand name. Brands shouldn't assume that their heritage or prior success will lead to more of the same within mobile. Your brand can't do the work for you; you have to provide an enriching experience...or someone else will. If the brand name was all that mattered, Zagat would be the leading source for mobile restaurant reviews, but that space has now been claimed by players like Yelp.
Become an anywhere brand. Emily closed her presentation with a compelling, aspirational definition of the "anywhere brand." She described an anywhere brand as one that appears in meaningful ways, on appropriate devices, wherever the consumers needs it.
What would it take to transform your brand into an "anywhere brand"?