Posts Tagged iPhone

A creepy, albeit entertaining, app.

I was browsing Tech Crunch today and came across an article featuring a new iPhone app called VideoMask. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not big on entertainment apps. Almost all of the apps on my phone are utilitarian. I am not a big gamer, and will shop via an app only on rare occasion. VideoMask, admittedly has no purpose but to entertain. It allows the user do the lip-dubbing trick that you often see on late-night shows. Basically, you pick a picture of whoever/whatever you want and turn into a “mask” that will be the backdrop for your video. You then record yourself saying something and loop it over the picture. This all sounded pretty ridiculous but fun, so I thought I would give it a try.

VideoMask was easy to find in the AppStore. It cost $.99 cents, an interesting price point because if I didn’t work, I wouldn’t have been too bent out of shape. It is very self-explanatory. It even explains how to search for and save a photo directly to their camera roll in case the user hasn’t done so in the past. I went into Google images and saved a picture of Kate Middleton given that she has been on the news non-stop lately. I then used the front-facing camera to videotape my voice loop. Prior to taping, the app guided my through positioning my eyes and mouth over the eyes and mouth in the picture that I had selected. It worked fairly well, however the holes were grouped together. It probably would have worked together if the eyes and mouth could be positioned individually. After finishing the recording, a quick 20 seconds later, there is a video ready to view, email, or post to Facebook or Twitter.

I emailed the video to myself and was pleased to see that it arrived in a matter of seconds. The video is embedded in the email and plays flawlessly. Also, there is a link the VideoMask website. I tried playing the video and going to the website from my iPhone as well and both worked flawlessly.

This was a fun (and creepy) app. Definitely worth $.99.

Note: I don not have the premium WordPress account that will allow me to upload a video. However, I am happy to email the video to anyone who is interested in seeing it.

Tech Crunch Article: http://bit.ly/ia8GRI

VideoMask Website: http://bit.ly/hWPtcl

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Breitling: A Luxury Brand Nails Mobile Marketing

Many luxury brands have been hesitant to include mobile in their marketing mix. Their business model is often centered upon the philosophy of selling few units to a highly targeted demographic in order to maintain an aspirational brand identity. However, iPhone and iPad users are increasingly viewed as the luxury brand’s “sweet spot”, so there are an increasing number of luxury bands entering the mobile space. One of the brands that made this transition is Breitling, the high-end watch originally designed for aviation use but is more commonly worn as a status symbol.

One of the most important factors for Luxury Brands to consider to ensure mobile marketing success is  the importance of properly identifying the target demographic. I found Brietling’s iPhone app advertised in this week’s Time Magazine. Advertising in Time is a logical fit for Breitling. The demographics of Time Magazine readers and iPhone owners are well aligned. According to research published by State of the Media in 2009, Time’s median reader is 46.2 years old and makes $70,260 a year (http://bit.ly/7Byr9x). By comparison, 78% of iPhone users make above $50,000. In addition, of the roughly 6.4 million active iPhone users in the U.S., the majority (53 percent) are over 35 years old. There are even more users over the age of 55 (17 percent) than in the 18-24 year-old age bracket (13 percent). (http://bit.ly/ShIsb).  There are not Breitling approved, published figures of their brand’s target demographic. However, it is safe to assume that they target mid to high-income, GenX males, which would align perfectly with Time readers.

In the app store, Breitling claims, “The app offers a precise description, technical data, a portfolio, a video and 360° views give an extremely clear idea of the exceptional nature of the new Chronomat B01” (http://bit.ly/8KbtNJ). The app met that description perfectly. It was easy to find, and offered up a simple content hierarchy, with three main categories: product description, view in 360 and a customization tool. The product description covers 9 features including movement, performance and technical data. The 360 view allows the viewer to see every angle of the watch up close. The customization tool allows you to select your ideal case, dial and bracelet. After customizing the watch you can email a picture of the final product to yourself (or someone else if you are hinting at a gift).

The one area of the app that could have been optimized was the location-based search. Upon downloading the app, it asks if it can access your current location. However, if you want to find a retailer it doesn’t utilize that information. Instead the user has to manually input their country, state and city to select a jeweler. This is a pretty easy fix, so I would suggest incorporating it to ensure a polished experience, which is important for a luxury brand.

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Redfin’s Real Estate App

Due to the rapid advancement of technology over the last decade, the real estate industry has experienced an unprecedented shift in power from the real estate professionals to the homebuyer. In the past, consumers had limited access to market information and relied on the resources and information provided to them by their Real Estate agent. However, now that homebuyers have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and can begin researching the housing market on their own, there has been an increase in public demand for services that assist in filtering through the overwhelming amount of market information available on the Internet.  Redfin, a Seattle based real estate company, has capitalized on the consumer demand for knowledge by developing a consumer-focused business model that offers online tools, which allow the consumer access to the necessary information to search for the perfect home, choose an agent, schedule tours and assemble offers. More recently, the surges in mobile Internet combined with the advancement in location-based tools have created the perfect scenario for real estate mobile sites and applications.

Redfin established a clear strategy and list of objectives prior to entering the mobile space. In speaking with Matt Goyer, Director of Online Marketing, I learned that the primary business objectives were to increase customer retention, increase loyalty, increase page views, improve branding and provide an exceptional user experience. According to the POST Method, developed by Julie Ask and Charles Golvin, it is evident that the strategy was to increase revenue as opposed to reducing costs. It is safe to assume that Redfin’s target consumers are users who are gathering data on home buying with intent to purchase and/or sell a home in the next year.

Taking the target consumer and business objectives into consideration, Redfin’s app was developed to provide the best possible user experience. The design is clean with clear call to actions. The navigation is laid out in a clear list that includes:

  1. Nearest Home for Sale (Location Based)
  2. Nearby Homes for Sale (Location Based)
  3. Nearby Open Houses (Location Based)
  4. Find Homes for Sale (Location Based)
  5. Find by Address or MLS#
  6. My Redfin
    1. Favorites
    2. Notes and Photos
    3. Home Tours
    4. Agents

In order to have an accurate understanding of the user experience, it was important that I use the app around town and not just at my desk. The seamless integration with iPhone’s version of Google Maps was impressive. The map interface includes icons that represent the type of dwelling including home, condo, and townhome. I was also able to easy access more detailed information like the number of bedrooms, the home price, and days the home has been on the market. The logical search functions, clear call to actions and clean user interface made for a positive and focused user experience. I preferred the app user experience to the website experience because the website can be somewhat convoluted with navigation choices. In addition, the comment and photo upload function was intuitive and synched with my profile as promised. In fact, I spoke with Matt Goyer about the functionality and he said that Redfin has been surprised that this functionality isn’t used more frequently by consumers. Redfin expected this to be the most popular functionality of the app. According to Goyer, it is used by only a very small percentage of users due to the misconception that the photos/comments will be viewable by other users. The only functionality that seems to be missing is push notifications. It may be beneficial to send users notifications if there has been a price change to their favorite homes.

Redfin’s user friendly website and mobile application make the home-search engaging and interactive by providing users with a wealth of organized information, location-based searches and providing a platform for users to customize the content on their profile with their own pictures and notes. While there is still improvements and advancements to be made, the organization understands the importance of mobile as a primary information source. CEO Glenn Kelman recently acknowledged the increasingly important role of mobile. In an interview with MyNorthwest.com he said, “If I started a real estate company today and I wanted to beat Redfin I would make the best real estate application on a mobile device that you could. I think that’s where the market is going”. Keller is correct in speculating that the mobile space is necessary for growth. Redfin is off to a phenomenal start with their iPhone application, but in order to maximize the potential of mobile marketing they will need to continue to develop a robust set of offerings to ensure the best experience for mobile users in search of their perfect home.

Note: This is an abbreviated post modified from an in depth analysis of Redfin’s overall Mobile Media Presence. For additional information on the app development, competitive analysis and broader mobile approach please reach out to me directly.

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