The freedom characteristic is one of the biggest inspirations in the way mobile gadgets are being designed. Being on the go has become a way of life, with moments of tethering only when absolutely unavoidable.
In addition to breaking the chains of immobility, the smart device has succeeded in bringing the world closer with the utmost ease. Social networks, apps, entertainment, news and everything that matters to your brand patrons is packaged and waiting to be beckoned via a simple tap. The current mobile eco-system is fast adapting to provide quick access to everything with a swipe and a click, and be visually engaging in the process.
The statistics are noteworthy. The UAE leads the world in smartphone penetration at an unprecedented rate of approximately 80 per cent. It is used to procure content, search, locate business, view media and stay in touch through instant messaging and social media apps. It has also become the device of choice, sometimes used in conjunction with conventional forms of audio-visual entertainment like television.
The average user spends 23 days of the year on their phone, a recent study suggests. Which roughly translates to about three hours a day. With ongoing connectivity breakthroughs on the horizon, the time forecasted to be spent will increase exponentially, when factors such as downloads speed and cost are adequately dealt with by telecom operators.
Also, toss in the plummeting costs of smart device acquisition in the mix — an important consideration when evaluating the potential adoption rate of the smart device for the imminent future.
This brings us to the question of the hour — “How does this affect your brand?”
An effective mobile strategy is not only a great way to connect with your customer on platforms they spend considerable amount of time on, but is also a great way to enhance your brand image with the concerned public. While a very nominal percentage of businesses have understood its implication and onto the mobile bandwagon, a good majority prefer to ignore the gaping hole that presents itself due to an ineffective strategy, or worse yet, the absolute absence of one.
The smart device allows your customers to take your brand with them everywhere. No longer will the cumbersome activity of locating your business via complicated web address entries or burdensome Google searches prevent them from finding you.
You are a compact icon away, easily accessible on the smart device dashboard, 24×7.
Even governments across the world are recognizing the benefits of a good mobile strategy. In keeping with its 2020 Vision, the UAE Government in particular has achieved major milestones in its plans to mobilize, spanning social media and apps that help present itself as approachable and attentive to its residents’ needs, while expounding tactical key messages to international communities.
Although swift action to compensate for the lack of prior focus might be just what the doctor ordered, caution and proper planning must precede any desire to hastily implement and meet deadlines that are unrealistic. Digital branding must work within the generous confines of its jurisdiction and within the overall marketing strategy.
Under no circumstance must it operate as a standalone element. A well-thought out presence in the app market can be considered crucial in today’s over-inundated brand market, but a wrong one can be detrimental to your brand, wreaking havoc among your internal and external customers.
These are exciting times. While business is done at the speed of thought, the most ambitious brands will seize the open door that presents itself – one that may not stay open for too long if procrastinated. Mobilising your brand is also a great way to gain the trust of your average consumer.
Let’s not forget the inexorable fact of being connected to your audience 24×7 — people are more likely to trust a brand that allows for a two-way dialogue, with channels of communication that are open and interactive. What it also does is foster a human element, one that empowers social connections with your customers.
Humanising your brand empowers it to have a voice that resonates with your target audience, befriending them in the process.
The writer is the CEO of Venture Communications.