Mobile has emerged as the great enabler for new “mobile-first” brands and the killer threat for legacy brands who still think customers listen with loyalty in mind.
Brands that came to power in the pre-computer era or when the PC ruled are going to have a difficult time understanding how to behave in this mobile world. Mainly because they are simply trying to apply dated ideas to new forms of technology at a time of new consumer behaviors and that just won’t work.
By examining the four key behaviors of mobile-first brands we can take the first step required of brands to transform in the age of disruption.
1. Mobile Is Not A Device, It’s A Behavior. What legacy companies fail to see that mobile-first brands understand is the piece of hardware in your hand doesn’t make one mobile. It’s the behavior behind the technology. Think about why you do what you do and where you spend most of your online time. The reason social is so engaging is because it is an area of connectedness. Yet legacy brands never seem to want to play in the social sandbox. They are always using social as simply a way to drag you off to their turf where you never really wanted to be in the first place. It’s this type of “my way or the highway” thinking that will frustrate mobile customers and drive them to abandon legacy brands, replacing them with mobile-first companies as their go-to.
2. Customers Prefer Mobile. There was a time when your customer browsed on mobile and purchased on PC. This is no longer the case. Today, one in four customers do everything on mobile from banking to travel booking to buying. If you aren’t doing everything on mobile, find people who do and ask them why. It is the only way legacy brands can stay relevant.
3. Mobile Equates To Instant Gratification And Documentation Of Experiences. Legacy brands think if they give a customer incentive, they will always have their loyalty. But mobile customers understand they can always find a new brand out of the convenience that mobile connectivity brings. Much of this is based on the hyper-frenetic pace of new information bombarding us in a mobile environment. Legacy brands think in terms of 30 and 60 second ads that may only appear in a particular environment if you happen to even be paying attention. But mobile brands understand that mobile customers graze, that they pick up their phones 200 times per day and that beyond sharing information, they share and document experiences. Snapchat isn’t about taking photos, it is about documenting what you are doing. Mobile-first brands are building around this new architecture, unafraid of the conversation economy. While legacy brands are built on scarcity, status and control. Three things that mobile first personalities quickly push away.
4. Conversation Is The Great Killer Of Legacy Brands. Many legacy brands feel threatened by today’s social world and their inability to control the narrative, and rightfully so. The past two years in mobile, break-away brands such as Snapchat, Instagram, Warby Parker, PayPal and Lyft have all clearly understood that data is used to personalize experiences and create a conduit between customer and brand via conversational methods that drive word of mouth and sharing sentiment. This mindset has scorched legacy thinking that more ads with read only narratives will always be the way to stay on top of the game. While narratives are important, mobile-first brands give creative space for customers to provide feedback and tell others what they think of the brand experience. The mobile-first brand is open to their advocates to continue to converse on the good and bad of their brand and service. Mobile-first brands are creating an agile, co-creative space with their customers. Allowing data and actions to create and evolve good products into even better ones.
The biggest learning for legacy brands in this scenario is that if they don’t become mobile-first brands in the next three years they may simply fade away. So, here’s the best takeaway for those who work at legacy brands and need something actionable right now. Don’t simply react to the world around you as it changes, but do what mobile-first brands have done and build the world in which you want to inhabit with those that are most important to your future.
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