Mobile evolution: creating an immersive brand experience

first generation iPhoneRumours are circulating that the first iPhone is set to become obsolete this month after six years on the market. It’s clear that mobile technology is moving faster now than over the last six years, and with innovation comes obsolescence.

As the mobile space has become increasingly competitive with several key players jostling to offer the latest features to draw customers to their devices, marketers are faced with the challenge of constantly evolving their strategy to meet customer demand. As the first iPhone becomes an artefact of the past, marketers need to be looking to new innovations on the horizon for further opportunities to engage and create an immersive mobile experience for consumers.

One trend affecting the evolution of the mobile is screen currency. Although smart phones now provide similar functions to a laptop or desktop computer, the primary barrier has always been the small screen size of handsets which can definitely contribute to an immersive mobile experience. More recently, we’ve seen a shift towards “phablets” with large screens forming part of the additional selling point. The epitome of this trend is Samsung’s Galaxy Mega which is due to launch later this year and reportedly has a six inch screen.  Where marketers are looking to optimise their mobile websites, screen size is going to form an integral part of this, by allowing them to increase interaction and offer a better design and broader options for embedded content such as videos. However, the shift to larger screens will also become a burden for users, as an object designed to be portable becomes unwieldy to carry around.

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) at the beginning of the year provided a glimpse into how the problem of screen size is being explored. One piece of technology which got the crowd excited was Samsung’s development of the flexible screen. Initially, the flexible screen sounds gimmicky, but its practical implications are important for marketers. The design would enable the screen to be foldable, eliminating the need for phones to be so large and border the size of a tablet. Extending the viewing parameters removes the problem of intrusive advertising on phones – by simply providing a larger surface area, creating benefits for advertisers looking to maximise on a popular platform that has an increasing usage. Most importantly, perhaps, is the overall user experience; a larger screen means navigating a website and consuming branded content is easier and hassle-free. Having a larger screen combined with the higher mobile internet speeds also opens up opportunities for richer content to be delivered. Additionally, user interface designers are able to create tailored and more personal navigation for consumers, enriching their experience to the point of deep immersion which ties into the brand itself.

To broaden, share and enhance experiences new devices are starting to come fully loaded with all sorts of new capabilities. For example, The Samsung Galaxy Beam, launched last July, focuses on trying to make viewing online content easier and more engaging. The product is packed with a 15 lumens projector allowing the user to watch anything on any surface they see fit and to share the viewing experience with those around them. Most mobile providers are looking to offer features which extend the mobile experience and take this beyond the handset. Some of these features are relatively standard, such as near field communication (NFC), which is being incorporated into most handsets. Interestingly, NFC is not all about payments. The feature has also given marketers the opportunity to exchange media, payments and also send use real-time data to target offers and promotions. Furthermore, marketers can begin to use this technology to tailor content to specific users, making the overall brand experience far more engaging and relevant to each individual.

As mobile platforms evolve and features such as flexible screens become commonplace, marketers will need to change the way they interact with users on these platforms. With the significant changes to mobiles over the next decade, we can expect that older models will quickly become obsolete as the user experience is improved. Marketers need to consider how these changes will affect the way they interact with consumers and what additional opportunities arise. To meet consumer expectations they must work to make the brand experience as engaging and immersive as possible.

Chris Minas is founder of Nimbletank.