There are certain social platforms that every brand is already a part of, like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. These networks are becoming commonplace for almost any business in any industry. However, there are also a great multitude of emerging platforms that every brand should be aware of.
From rising P2P networks like KiK and Snapchat, all the way to the futuristic Google Glass system, brands will soon be challenged with foreign territory and a plethora of engaged users. It will be the brands that continually seek out emerging platforms and are early to the game that will see the greatest success in the rapidly changing times ahead. Here are the emerging platforms every brand should know.
Peer-to-peer platforms provide a brand new arena for consumers to communicate, foregoing the limitations of standard texting and the formality of email. P2P communications can also give a brand the opportunity to interact with its fan base in real-time via apps like KiK and Snapchat.
Kik, one of the most popular text messaging apps on the market, is at the head of the P2P pack. According to Kik, the app is growing fast with 90 million users, a 250,000 growth per day, and 19 billion messages per month. Kik users enjoy the ability to send and receive messages without the use of a telephone number. Instead, usernames are picked to ensure a level of privacy with would-be texters.
Brands can get involved on Kik through Kik Cards: third party applications run right from the platform that can be seamlessly integrated into users' conversations. The options for what a Kik Card can be are almost limitless, but they include sending out polls, exclusive video content, coupons, and more. Soon, Kik will likely make it even easier for brands to be present on the app with the introduction of Kik Cards specifically designed for brands like a Facebook page or Twitter account.
One in five iPhone users have Snapchat, and even though the self-destructing picture/video messaging platform has been met with some controversy, growth on the app hasn't slowed and brands have gotten onboard as well. Taco Bell recently became the first major brand to use Snapchat. The fast food chain took to Snapchat to announce the return of the Beefy Crunch Burrito.
Using Snapchat to introduce a new product to users who are literally touching the announcement is not the only way brands can get involved with Snapchat's 5 million daily active users. New York-based yogurt chain 16 Handles asked yogurt-eaters to send a "snap" of them eating 16 Handles yogurt. In return, the company replied with Snapchats of coupons ranging anywhere from 16 percent to 100 percent off. These coupons had to be shown to the cashier before they self-destructed!
While social networks are by no means unfamiliar territory for brands, every day new networks come to prominence, drawing in users and brands alike. New social networks like Thumb are perfect for brands to join. However, there are also older platforms that are making changes to cater more to brand presence, like LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a social network for professionals that brands would obviously love to leverage. Beginning earlier this year, brands can purchase Sponsored Updates that appear on the main news feed alongside posts from professionals. The new strategy was tested in a trial phase that included Adobe. By the end of the two-month trial, Adobe found that favorability had increased among those who had seen the ads with 79 percent being "more likely to agree that Adobe can help optimize media spend."
Augmented reality is by no means a new technology, but like anything it has matured quite a bit since it first emerged. Now, a bevy of augmented reality apps are available on the app store and certainly more to come.
A little light reading never hurt anyone. However, automobile user manuals are anything but light reading. Car manufacturer Audi used consumer insight to develop an app that creates an augmented reality user manual. Open the app and hold your phone over one of some 300 elements in the car that the app recognizes and you'll be treated to a quick rundown as would be seen in the manual. Goodbye instruction booklets!
Wikitude World Browser
Augmented reality is a beautiful fit with smartphone GPS systems. With the app open, you can hold up your phone and have beacons placed on top of the world around you based on what you're looking for (bars, restaurants, etc). Much like Taco Bell jumped early on the GPS app Waze with branded markers along users' routes, a brand can utilize Wikitude World Browser to show specials or entice potential customers to its doors with exclusive coupons.
The future of technology is undeniably in wearable tech. With several huge releases on the platform this year and more to inevitably and exponentially emerge on the market, all brands should be sensitive to this growing trend in technology. Of all wearable technology, Google Glass is clearly king.
Every so many years a piece of technology is developed that changes the world forever (see: iPhone). The newest installment in history changing technology is Google Glass, the wearable eyeglass that turns reality into virtual reality, complete with menus, live photos and videos, applications, and internet searching based on what's in eyesight. You can see why brands would be excited.
The ability to have live searches displayed right over reality and markers that can be interacted with is obviously appealing to brands. Imagine Wikitude World Browser but on a much, much larger scale. While direct advertising currently isn't allowed on the platform, it will only be a matter of time before brands discern how to best be present in user's eyes. Brands are currently limited by the small Google Glass user base, though that is certain to change in a matter of months.
Brands have a very bright future on the platforms and technologies that are beginning to emerge. Expect trends to shift into the augmented reality and wearable tech developments, with social networks and P2P platforms maintaining the sturdy ground work for the world's growing connectivity.
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"Emerging leadership" image via Shutterstock.