Why do we never leave the house without our mobile phones?
Mobile Power to the People
Why the mobile internet is changing the face of brand communication
House keys; wallet; mobile phone. It’s hard to imagine now, but it wasn’t always like this. For many people, mobile devices have become an essential part of daily life; that much is obvious. What is less obvious is the intense emotional connection some people have with the actual object itself – the handset.
With the increase in what manufacturers coldly refer to as ‘handset functionality’, we have put more and more of ourselves into this go-anywhere repository of personal meaning, to the point where it feels like an extension of who we are. And with the migration of the internet to that device, this connection is becoming deeper still.
Our social ties have always been vitally important to us. But the combination of an emotional connection with the handset, the ways we can maintain and enhance these social ties and the possibility of using the internet wherever we are, as our mood dictates, is making mobile internet access the latest essential of modern life. Your brand needs to give me something
In order to nourish our vital social ties, we need something to say – what’s often called ‘social currency’. The use of social currency is how we maintain our presence and status within online communities like Facebook; what we contribute online affects how we are perceived by others: I contribute therefore I am.
This raises some important questions for brands who want to use social media to engage people: if status within online communities is derived from what you contribute, what is your brand contributing? How are you helping people maintain or increase their status? What brand-related content can you offer that will give them social currency to pass on to others?
More than ever, brands must offer a range of engaging content that is available whenever people want or need it. The empowering role of the mobile internet
The ability to be ‘always on’ means people feel ready to face any event but also expect rapid and relevant responses from companies to changes in situations.
For example, mobile search is changing how we shop, making pricing transparent. For a real-world retailer that might mean matching a price that a shopper has just found elsewhere using Google Goggles on their mobile phone. More broadly, mobile internet access is beginning to encourage increased political engagement, allowing citizens to quickly and easily deal with issues that concern them. For example, Fixmystreet.com
allows UK residents to post pictures of local issues that need ‘fixing’ in their neighborhood. These problems are then picked up by the local government authority, which promises to quickly address them.
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