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What’s a companion app? David Pinke calls them “one of the most interesting spaces at the moment,” headlining the move towards a social-mobile sphere that helps users manage and improve their lives. The head of mobile product development at Condé Nast explains in this week’s episode how, when used correctly, companion apps benefit users and creators alike.
In this week’s episode David Pinke sings the praises of companion acts, calling them one of the most exciting subsets of the mobile technology and marketing fields.
Simply put, companion apps are apps that help you carry out specific tasks, helping you run your life more effectively by augmenting the functionality of other apps or devices.
As David points out, Apple’s Siri app is a perfect example of a companion app. Siri-enabled iPhones allow users to simply speak to enact a series of functions on the phone’s many other applications including calendar, messaging, iTunes, maps and many more.
While a strategy for monetising Siri is unclear, it is just one interesting example of a companion app to watch.
Perhaps a more relevant example of how a brand is using a companion app to enrich its core proposition and deliver revenue potential is The Active Network’s Couch-to-5K app.
Case Study: Couch-to-5K
Lets take a look at how Couch-to-5K creates additional value for The Active Network and its consumers.
Active.com is the online property of the Network that acts as a clearinghouse for the world of participative sporting events and races. Its backend technology offers online registration and payment processing to professional, amateur and charity sport event organisations. Its also a media platform providing visitors information, reviews and details about the activities that they love to do, linking them to organizers running relevant events.
As an extension of the Active.com mission to “get the world active,” The Active Network developed the Media Post Appy Award-winning Couch-to-5K mobile app.
Couch-to-5K was made for non-exercisers to motivate them to complete a 5K after a simple, achievable 9-week training regime. Companion features include “virtual coaches”, an in-app music player, GPS maps and route calculators, Facebook integration to share success and milestones with your personal and Active.com community and a discounted registration fee for a 5K in your area.
The benefits that Couce-to-5K delivers The Active Network are clear to see:
Have you considered how developing a companion app might enrich your core brand proposition and be a source of value-creation for your business?
Will continue to play a part in the publishing industry’s future? Mark Challinor thinks so. The Telegraph Group‘s Head of Mobile tells us how this precarious medium is merging with mobile, the latter of which is a “very new” world to many people and businesses. He shares his view on the roles of print, smartphone, tablet and web and his advice will help you take your first (or next!) steps into mobile.
What You Need to Know
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Nov 22 - Beyond Mobile (a Mobile News event) - £125
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Over the past few weeks AppBeat has featured mobile experts from the publishing industry that have shared more than a few pearls of insight on how mobile devices are transforming print publishing.
Just this week, Mark Challinor of The Telegraph Group shared about the successful interplay of print, digital and mobile advertising, citing Dior as a recent advertiser who has enjoyed the convergence of these channels to reach consumers where they can be found with contextually relevant messages.
Further examples of publishing’s use of mobile come from Condé Nast’s Lucky magazine—a US-based media property whose core brand proposition has long been translating trend into must-have purchases for time-poor fashionistas.
Lucky has just announced a new venture called MyLucky that will allow readers of the online version of the magazine to buy editor-approved wares and products, effectively turning the publisher into an online shopping portal in the vein of Net-a-Porter or Sheerluxe.com.
Echoing the offline print experience of reading Lucky, online subscribers can use digital stickers to assemble wish lists, mark items they want to buy and be kept apprised of stock availability.
At this point, if you are not in the publishing or advertising business, you may be wondering what any of this has to do with you.
Well, consider this:
In a world where content is merging more and more with commerce, chances are that you and your team may have to begin thinking like publishers.
Publishers tell stories, and stories convey much more than features and benefits. Stories convey values, emotions and aspirations. They can lead to transformative change and they tend to stay with us much longer than a lecture or a fact sheet.
With tablet and smartphones are exponentially growing the opportunities that brands have to engage audiences through content and story, today’s marketers could stand to take a page from the playbook of publishers such as Condé Nast and The Telegraph Group. Brands already excelling in this manner include women’s retail darling Anthropologie with its iPad app, and London’s own Sainsbury’s, distributor of the country’s most widely read monthly title, which now boasts a digital product available on iTunes.
In the following interview from Mashable, new media expert Brian Solis interviews Federated Media Publishing’s Deanna Brown on why brands are becoming publishers, why mobile matters and the future of content marketing.
Still think you aren’t a publisher?
Starting in January, Joanna Shields—named the sixth most influential person in global media by Media Guardian—will join London’s Tech City Investment Organisation. Her goal? To make London “the number one location for tech in the world.”
Sound like a tall order? It may not be. Earlier this week, Gigaom’s David Meyer wrote that startups will not merely contribute to London’s future economy—they will drive it. With London having lost its position as the world’s leading financial hub, the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) projects a 31 percent rise in employment in London’s East End by 2031—the location for London’s “Tech City.” Compare that number to nine percent projected growth for inner West London, and the tech sector’s employment of more people for any unit of output standards will play a critical role in the future economy—especially for mobile.
With datacrowdsourcing app OpenSignalMaps and Pakistan-based mobile shopper Lutebox among the market, mobile and apps will help drive London start-up growth. The chance to form partnerships with any businesses that offer distribution channels will soon be at a premium. Startups will own their unique innovation—and external businesses can benefit from that innovation whilst offering their own services via audience numbers and engagement with these products. For a growing sector that includes mobile and mobile apps as a core sub-sector, this means that mobile marketing—for mobile websites as well as apps—is essential to helping these necessary partnerships take form.
In this week’s episode of AppBeat, David Pinke, head of mobile product development at Condé Nast, explains that the biggest mistake one can make with a new app is putting it on the market without a marketing strategy. “They run around and try to get as much budget as they can to create an app experience,” he says, “but they really don’t pay much attention to what the marketing plan’s gonna be and what the PR push is gonna look like. They end up having a ‘If you build it, they will come’ mentality.” The same advice should be heeded by the influx of East End London start-ups. How will all of their innovative tech products find channels to market and acquire users/customers?
Two weeks ago, Blippar Ambassador Dan Sodergren wrote that Americans, specifically large retailers, embrace mobile marketing better than their British counterparts, citing research from Accenture which shows that although 27 percent of mobile shoppers will buy via their devices, only 16 percent of marketers had a mobile strategy.
So if Shields is to make London the world’s go-to destination for tech, mere innovation’s not enough. The tech and mobile start-up markets are crowded, and if creators want products to find an audience, a strong marketing strategy that forges partnerships with outside sectors needs to be at the forefront of their plans.
How can your business stand to benefit from the expansion of London’s tech and, more specifically, mobile scene? Do you have a highly prized audience or customer base that you can leverage for additional revenue streams? Does your product stand to profit from innovations in mobile? How will you take advantage of London’s efforts to be the tech and mobile hub of the world?
“Jack of all trades, master of none.” The old adage proves to be the downfall of many mobile apps that hit the market according to David Pinke, head of mobile product development at Condè Nast . This week he explains why the best apps are those that do one thing, and do it well and how to avoid the pitfalls that he made in his earlier days as a mobile product specialist.
What You Need to Know
Where You Need to Go
Consumers value content more when they pay for it, and with augmented reality imminent practice, publishers must get smart about how to court consumers. In this week’s episode, Mark Challinor, Director of Mobile atThe Telegraph Group, explains why “product bundling” should complement newsletters, how brand loyalty can be rewarded, and what publishers can do to turn news consumers into subscribers.