Monday, May 14, 2012

Brand Perfect hits San Francisco–a round-up

brand perfect logoI was fortunate enough to be a facilitator for last week’s Brand Perfect event in San Francisco. I’ve worked in mobile marketing for 12 years now, but I still enjoy hearing about case studies and examples from other parts of the world. It’s also very useful to understand the differences (and similarities) of creating and running mobile marketing and media initiatives in different parts of the world. And there was a good crowd there to explore all of that.

The event was organised by Monotype Imaging. Not necessarily a familiar name to the mobile industry but perhaps it should be. They have several mobile solutions for network operators, handset manufacturers, creative agencies and app developers. Worth a look, with flexible pricing structures and solutions.

Anyway, I digress. The day involved a selection of keynotes looking at design, what’s happening in the mobile sector, the challenges of running mobile services, some insight into what’s possible and a look at the role of typography. In the afternoon, we divided up into groups to work on an actual brief from the University of San Francisco. This gave us a chance to put some of the learning from the morning into action – to think about design in a wider sense beyond look and feel, to distil the brief into the most important points and to focus on those and to think creatively in cross-disciplinary teams to come up with a solution. It was a fun thing to do and something I enjoyed being part of.

I’ve done a storify of the day collating some of the best tweets, resources, pictures and video clips. There are further videos to come – they’re in editing at the moment. And I’m hoping some of the presentations will make their way online too. I’ll add the links as and when that happens. In the meantime, have a look at the storify and the flickr photos below.

Personal lessons learned and some reflections on the day:

  • It’s still early days for mobile marketing and media and there is still much to experiment with
  • We need to do more experimenting. We have a great opportunity to reinvent marketing and advertising with this medium. It would be tragic to miss out on that.
  • There’s a knowledge gap with brands, marketing people, retailers, media owners and traditional agency types. Developer relations programs from handset manufacturers et al tend to focus almost exclusively on programmers and the technical end of the spectrum. These are not always the decision makers and they are also not necessarily the ones coming up with the creative ideas. Developer relations needs to adapt and extend to other communities of interest.
  • We need to forge better relationships between designers, developers, brands and commercial teams. We cannot work in silos when it comes to mobile initiatives as these touch too many parts of the business. There is a translation process that needs to happen and we need to learn and benefit from understanding the differences and being able to play to each others strengths. “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
  • It’s very easy to get hung up on ‘mobile’ being just about the web, apps and banner ads. There’s so much more to it and we do need to remember that. There’s another level of data and tracking available with mobile usage and additional features and capabilities that are simply not possible from a standard laptop.
  • The mobile phone is the primary digital access point for a great swathe of customers and growing. Are we really taking this into consideration when designing products and services.
  • Mobile services are not one-offs – they need longer term support and management for them to succeed.
  • Be useful, relevant or entertaining. Customer service is a winner. We are dealing with people here ultimately. Let’s humanise the experience rather than reducing it to ones and zeros.

The event will be heading to London in the next few months and further cities around the globe. More info at

Brand Perfect Tour's San Francisco set

Created with flickr slideshow.

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