SoLoMo: Your Buzzword for 2012

Early contender for 2012 Word of the Year

I ended 2011 by taking a look at the Millward Brown and Dynamic Logic (Disclosure: Both agencies are part of WPP, as is my employer, Y&R12 for 2012: Top 12 Digital Predictions for 2012 report and want to pick that up as there was a lot of good thinking in there. Prediction #5 takes a look at mobile marketing.

If nothing else, marketers love a catchy name.  If you don’t know SoLoMo yet, you will soon. As the report notes, “The most successful marketing messages will combine relevance and location with the right timing.” SoLoMo is a portmanteau of Social-Local-Mobile and speaks to the rapid advancements in geo-targeting and the equally rapid adoption of smart phones as the essential device of the 21st century.

Jennifer Okula, the essay’s author, also notes:

We will see increased SoLoMo marketing prevail in existing geo-social apps like Foursquare, Shopkick and Yelp. Retailers will experiment more with geo-fenced mobile marketing with companies like Placecast. Social buying companies like Groupon and Living Social will become more app-focused and provide push content and alerts on real-time local deals.

This is where I see the real value. Brands need to make themselves relevant in the existing behaviors of people. Getting discounts at places I’m already going through mobile apps I’m already using is real value.  However, Okula goes on to state:

Brands will create more of their own apps that tap into both geo-location services and social networking.

This is where I get nervous. When brands try to create their own apps they can run into several problems. First and foremost, they aren’t in the app business.  The resources, both human and financial, that go into creating an app is something most companies don’t have. Then, once you create and publish the app, you have to promote it heavily. Second, brands need to think long and hard about whether people really want an app from them. What real added value is there? Is it enough to get me to use the app in addition to the other ones I’m using?

SoLoMo will be a buzzword in 2012, but like most buzzwords, it’s likely to be misused or misunderstood. The opportunities here are great, but a thoughtful strategy is required.

Millward Brown / Dynamic Logic Digital Predictions For 2012 #3 Virtual Togetherness


The Intermedia Engagement Ecosystem

Today I’ll pick back up my look at the Millward Brown and Dynamic Logic (Disclosure: Both agencies are part of WPP, as is my employer, Y&R12 for 2012: Top 12 Digital Predictions for 2012 report with idea #3 on their list, the Virtual Togetherness.

The report asks:

Will our TV viewing and discovery habits increasingly be influenced by what our friends are watching, leading to the rise of the “social program guide”? And with the emergence of services such as Bluefin Labs/GetGlue, will traditional TV ratings start to be complemented by “social ratings”? They could well be, since advertisers will no doubt be keen to understand how well a show is travelling beyond the TV viewing audience itself.

In a word, “yes.” The above mentioned Blue Fins, along with SocialGuide will be influential barometers for networks and production companies. Social TV apps will reconnect us, albeit digitally, to programming, and we’ll see shows that generate strong social engagement become the real ratings winners.

Social TV has been an area I’ve looked at closely this year. Earlier in the fall I wrote a post where I coined the term, “Intermedia” and defined it as:

Intermedia is characterized by the real-time interaction of content consumers between themselves andcontent producers, the content’s participants or notable third parties. This engagement may play a role in the on-going or future development of the content in the form of voting, surveys, commentary or other forms of interaction.

This post led to a follow up on the subject that I wrote for Mashable.  You may also want to check out my guide to the people, platforms and apps that are shaping Social TV.

The report also nods to a “recipe for Social TV” that includes: TV content, a backstage blog, a Twitter account, hashtag strategy and  interactive apps. I agree that Social TV should be viewed on this broader level, and I think we’ll see a new position develop for content providers – that of digital showrunner.

Millward Brown / Dynamic Logic Digital Predictions For 2012 #2 Mobile Payments

I continue my look at the Millward Brown and Dynamic Logic (Disclosure: Both agencies are part of WPP, as is my employer, Y&R12 for 2012: Top 12 Digital Predictions for 2012 report with the second item on their list, the Mobile Wallet.

The report accurately points out that we are getting closer to a time when our mobile phones will do virtually everything for us, from music to identification to interacting with our cars. But ultimately mobile payment is going to be a tremendous driver of business as handheld devices become the go-to choice for payments.

The Future of Commerce

Companies and technologies to watch in 2012 include Google (Google Wallet); SCVNGR (LevelUp); PaidPiper and the technology everyone is pointing towards, Near Field Communication (NFC). Check out Mashable’s Guide to NFC here. GigaOm has a list of 25 Mobile Payment companies worth learning about.

What I think will be interesting is how brands adopt this technology to change the purchase experience.  Will people be able to simply hold their phone up to an item in the store, take it off the shelf and walk out? Would that be better for the merchant? For the consumer? How will retailers approach their spaces differently, and what will be the definition of a “retail space?” What role do game mechanics play in these new payment methods (hint: a big one). How will MasterCard and Visa adapt to this new technology?

The answers to these questions will be established next year and it will be imperative for brands to come up with solutions or be left behind by competitors who do.

Thoughts On The Millward Brown / Dynamic Logic Digital Predictions For 2012

© 2010 The Strong®

This week Millward Brown and Dynamic Logic (Disclosure: Both agencies are part of WPP, as is my employer, Y&R) released a report called, 12 for 2012: Top 12 Digital Predictions for 2012. Usually I find these sorts of predictions reports fairly weak, but this one struck me as being pretty spot on. In some cases they provided new insight into ideas I was already familiar with, in other they presented ideas that were new to me. Either way, it’s worth your time to check out. Between now and Christmas I’ll give my thoughts on each of the Predictions presented in the report, starting right here with #1: Gamification Unlocked: Big Brands become even more playful.

Readers of my blog know that I’ve been on Gamification this year, writing a number of posts on the subject. Next year will be an interesting year for this idea and the industry it has spawned. You’re going to see smart, compelling offerings from companies like Badgeville and Scvngr and brands are going to be moving from mere badging or awarding points to more integrated, social programs with real business driving elements. Gamification will no longer be a cute add-on for brands, but rather an integral part of their marketing, and in some cases internal communications, efforts.

The Millward Brown – Dynamic Logic report talks smartly about brands needing to figure out how to make game mechanics more integrated not just with brands, but also with a consumer’s life. It’s critical that brands view game mechanics through that lens. If the incentives and rewards don’t answer the needs and desires of the consumer, but instead only work to benefit the brand, then the initiatives will fail.

Here’s a TED talk from Seth Priebatsch on game mechanics that’s well worth watching:

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I was fortunate to meet with Seth yesterday as he gave me a peek into what he’s building at the above mentioned Scvngr. Expect to hear a lot more from Seth, Jesse Schell and Gabe Zichermann in 2012.

For additional thoughts on this subject, check out PSFK’s The Future of Gaming report.