Wednesday, 20 March 2013

How to Make Better Use of Mobile Apps

Happened to have a conversation with a friend of mine yesterday on the mobile app she downloaded from a luxury brand.  It started off like this, my friend: “Did you know that this brand had a mobile app?” My reply: “That is very interesting! I haven’t checked yet, what’s on it?” My Friend: “Actually, nothing really.  See, they just tell you about their store hours, the locations, the product category that they have.  I was expecting to see some new arrival or promotional information.  This app is boring. I’m just going to delete it.” Hint!  As a brand, have you ever questioned the effectiveness of engaging your customers through mobile strategies?  Or thought of it as a dispensable strategy?

Mobile devices had become the most used electronics for the daily lives of the younger generation.  It is often used for social purposes, information search, and now it has promptly becoming a tool for shopping assistance.  Many companies have started to notice this, and are rushing in to share a piece of the pie.  Yet, there may be a miss understanding on how customers could be best engaged through mobile devices.  According to the recent research studies, the two most common reasons that people use mobile devices are for the convenience and the timely information it provides.  By knowing this, a mobile strategy should be formulated towards these two goals.  When the customers want to be connected to a one stop shop with no time constraints or geographic barriers, the strategy of developing a store directory app will not satisfy the objectives. For example, the Facebook app, it contains Check in, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and etc. The idea behind it is to go around the user’s life and target the different aspects of their needs.  The fact is the more of user’s time an app consumes the more successful it is at engaging.  

In addition to the functional use of the mobile apps, it also has the feasibility of translating into research data.  As a large corporation, it often can’t go around to everyone and obtain their thoughts.  There certainly won’t always be customers that are like my friend who takes the initiative to tell me what I wanted to hear.   By monitoring the online data such as the social media usage, reviews, and the conversations, the marketer’s thoughts on the previous uncertainties can be better proved.  The path to formulating a customer focused marketing strategy will also be much less time consuming and less costly.  

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

2013 Chinese New Year V.S Canadian Business Practices

Red signs, couplet, zodiac, and the greeting of “Happy Chinese New Year!”  It just makes you feel like you are back in China again!  Other than the local Chinese, people with different cultural backgrounds are getting involved in this festival as well.  This not merely indicates that people are valuing the Chinese culture.  It is also a smart way of creating new business opportunities.  

This year I have encountered some positives and not too positive practices on the cultural tie with the Chinese New Year.  Something interesting to point out is the blog post of Yorkdale Mall.  Yorkdale organized a selection called the “Year of the Snake Fashion Accessories”.  In this selection there are a group of 12 items.  It indicated both the 12 zodiac and the 12 months of the year.  These selections include shoes, glasses, watches, bags and clothing.   No matter what type of accessories one is interest, she would always have an option for it.

A good try but a bad tie would be misspelling  the year of the snake with the year of the dragon. Many people were tweeting about Sobey’s New Year’s flyer on the Chinese Twitter site Weibo.  A few hundred of retweets were generated on the platform followed by some disappointed comments.  It shows the degree of attention this message drove from the Canadian Chinese community. Consider if it was a positive message spreading out to these many audiences, an association would have been created between the customers and the brand, which is likely to translate into sales figures later on.

This year's Chinese new year has already past.  Lesson to learn for the upcoming year is,  in order to succeed in marketing to different ethnic groups, creating the right cultural tie is very important.  And of course, do the right translations as well.