I love easy engagement through mobile, specifically using the medium to merge the offline with the online. That’s one of the biggest focuses here on the 11th Screen. I think mobile and the technologies enabled by it can be extremely powerful when used by brands in this way, to deepen engagement with their audience. And I’m not really talking about iPhone applications. We’re in a time where a brand can easily make a “lite” version of their website and wrap it up into an application and call it a day. While I think there is value in that, I am interested when brands utilize mobile (and its technologies) in other ways – more unique ways – to extend the brand experience. You’ve heard me talk about things like QR codes (really any 2D/3D barcodes, augmented reality, GPS, etc..) – this is where my mind goes when I look at mobile as a channel extension.
I experienced two such extensions over the past week and I have to commend both of them. One is a new technology maker and one is a brand.
In this post, I’ll show you the new technology maker – Pongr.
A few weeks ago, Pongr reached out to me after seeing me write about these sorts of mobile technologies and introduced me to their technology. In short – Pongr enables one to snap a picture of any ad (think billboard and/or poster) on their mobile phone, send it to an email address, and get back special content from the brand featured in the ad. No special app or platform required, which is part of the problem with 2D/3D barcodes like QR codes (although I see from their website that you can download an app). This technology was featured in this month’s W Magazine:
So, I can take a picture of any ad, send it to w.pongr.com,
then, get driven deeper into the brand (and entered into a contest, which never hurts).
Although this complete experience didn’t work for all of the ads (on some, I would only be entered into the contest), I really appreciate the simplicity. I don’t know what I couldn’t get out of this experience that I could get out of a QR code experience. The only difference is typing in the address and clicking. But on the flip side, I don’t have to search for any application to make it work. And as a marketer, I don’t have to go through the trouble (it’s not that much “trouble) or expense of creating and printing special codes.
And something that shouldn’t be overlooked – I think Pongr did a good job of informing the user of the capability, instructions and expectations. I counted 10 instances of this message throughout the magazine. If no one knows what it is and/or how to use it, they won’t. I’ve seen this time and time again and it’s so easy to address, with proper foresight and planning.
This is one of the most prominent examples of instructions, but each have the same exact creative and messaging. Consistency is important for the user.
In addition to this technology, they have social tie-ins to Twitter and Facebook and it looks like they just launched a new product called “ImagePulse,” which looks very interesting – ImagePulse helps you identify what’s being said about your brand in the form of pictures through image search and analysis. Pongr ImagePulse allows your brand to monitor sentiment, benchmark photo engagement of your traditional ads, and connect with your best fans.
It seems like, by searching photos for brands and logos, they can tell in what context it’s being used, who’s sending it, what is being said about it and even target future ads to those consumers around their behaviors. Does the user need to be using the service for the search to happen? What other steps are there in the process? I have some questions that aren’t answered in the copy or the video, but it sounds good. It all looks good, too. They’re marketing themselves as “mobile & social marketing solutions.” And I like what they’re doing on their website with a live feed of recent image searches and their blog. I need to actually talk to someone there and get them to walk me through everything else, but just from this experience, I like what these guys are doing.
Have any of you used this technology? Any technology like it? (Esquire, in relation to magazines, has experimented with various technologies like e-ink and augmented reality.) Did you find value in it? Let me know.