How can brands survive and thrive in a mobile-first world?

In a world where smartphone-empowered humans now expect on-demand satisfaction brands will succeed if they offer frictionless, personalised, mobile-first and native customer experiences that surprise and delight.

James Connelly CEO & Founder of Fetch; with Matt Bush of Google, Kenyatte Nelson of Shop Direct and Frank Jan Risseeuw of Yolt (by ING)


The rapid adoption of smartphones means that today every consumer now comes with a smart, interactive, computing device in their hand. This device has empowered humans like no other, enabling us all to achieve instant gratification (for content, communications and commerce) whenever and wherever we want. As such it has become the most personal and intimate thing that we own.

The brands that are being successful in this new mobile-first era are those that respect the personal nature of this primary gateway to the consumer and, in an appropriate way, take advantage of it.

They offer a level of added-value personalisation that feels most like a real, human two-way dialogue. Asking questions of the individual to understand them more deeply. Delivering choices that are welcome. Think Netflix – and how they make intelligent content suggestions based on your viewing habits.

Successful brands are those that understand that humans want instant satisfaction via their mobile device and to achieve tasks quickly and easily. They are those that offer a seamless path from desire to fulfilment, where barriers to gratification are removed. As such they own and optimise the end-to-end customer experience. Not only looking to optimise the mobile UX but also the real world delivery as well. Think Amazon’s online experience and how it fulfils its service so successfully in the real world (particular with its Prime membership).

They also understand that the speed of delivery and the level of frictionless experience will depend on the nature and context of the transaction. It will vary dependent on the product or service that is being sold and the expectations sets on how, when and where it is delivered.

When they experiment with new functionalities, and test new user interfaces and experiences, like chatbots, for example, they are honest and open with the customers. They ask for, and show they are listening to, direct feedback at each stage of the process. Making early adopters feel good about new trials by suggesting they are part of a beta testing community.

And the best mobile-first brands are those that create a utility that goes beyond the primary services they offer, ie banking, retail, transportation and become part of an individuals’ everyday like. So that they not only start to win ‘Share of Voice’ versus the competition but ‘Share of Life’.

Successful mobile brands deliver messages that are relevant and meaningful in the channel and don’t overstep the line into ‘dodgy’, creepy re-targeting. Delivering them in a tone of voice that has a compelling human personality. They don’t take a (now old fashion) one-way, broadcast approach to communications.

They look to tap into culture and online memes. Leveraging the benefits of social influencers where appropriate (ie interesting people with a voice and something worth listening to online). And they deliver creative messaging in a mobile native format that grabs attention within the short, few second window of a mobile micro-moment.

Overall, brands that survive and thrive in a mobile-first world will be those that are brave, authentic, original, culturally relevant, and optimised to deliver great experiences through the small intimate screen of the smartphone.

Written by Julian Smith, Head of Strategy & Innovation, Fetch.


For more information about how to reach, engage and convert the mobile-first consumer ask Fetch.

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