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One of the most interesting talks of SxSW has come from Brian Wong, the frustratingly brilliant 24-year-old founder of Kiip. Instilling jealousy in every middle-aged advertiser in the room, he began by sharing his amazing journey from a bedroom designer to the founder of a $30m company in just a few years.
For those who don’t know, Kiip are all about rewarding moments in people’s lives. Right now this is fairly basic – it’s almost all done in app, and it basically means that when someone achieves something within one (beating a level on Candy Crush, saving money on the Natwest App, or finishing a run on Nike+) a brand is able to send them a reward. This could be free product, exclusive content, or a whole host of other things.
This is a really cool concept that has the potential to be very annoying for consumers. No one wants a free can of baked beans while they’re trying to throw birds into stacks of pigs. Luckily, being the genius millionaire that he is, Wong has already worked out the solution.
At the moment brand targeting is often quite simplistic – not in terms of who we’re speaking to, but when we’re speaking to them. If we wanted to reach a fitness buff we might stick an ad in a fitness magazine, so when they’re sitting on the train or sofa flicking idly through they’ll see it. What Wong wants to do is reach those same people but in a very different context. Instead of reaching them when they’re sat on the sofa, why can’t we reach them when they’re on the treadmill? Or when they’ve just hit a new personal record on the bench? If brands are able to really enhance those interactions and play a functional role in those moments of success throughout people’s day, then they’ll be able to achieve much more emotional relevance in their lives.
The solution to this is the Internet of Things; Wong believes that when everything from your oven to your treadmill is connected, marketers are going to need to move towards a ‘moments based CRM’ model, ensuring we’re reaching people at the times they are most engaged with their passion points. It’s no longer going to be acceptable to just broadcast messages as consumers are going to demand real-time experience enhancements from brands.
Of course, there are some major hurdes to overcome, because no one wants a free can of baked beans while they’re trying to set a new 5k time either. With this new technology there is a tonne of opportunity, but there is also a serious onus on marketers to make sure it is used to directly enhance people’s experiences, and not just to push our products into new spaces. Like every other tool in the advertising arsenal, this will only work if it’s targeted, if it’s contextually relevant, and it’s offering a real value exchange.
Felix Morgan is strategy and innovation lead at Livity UK
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