Targeting and personalization: a lot of brands are trying to find a work around the issue of unregistered users. And they have the tools to start with: referring URLs, search keywords, tracking via IP, geo-location and other such analytics that can target consumers.
Social media: is growing and it’s important to keep an eye for the next market players. Google is constantly testing initiatives that are as complicated as the Wave or as simple to use as the Buzz. And are they stopping? It doesn’t look like it. Facebook is the established platform for brands and Twitter comes close for some businesses that can engage consumers in 140 characters.
Again a Starbucks example: My Starbucks Idea saw people chipping in with thoughts, some of them even got taken aboard by the brand. The blog of Sun Microsystems’ CEO receives hundreds of thousands of hits a month – 400k to be specific. Comecast‘s new business principle is to offer service via Twitter and the city of Eindhoven in the Netherlands allows people to report a problem by sending a picture with GPS coordinates.
Games: either loved or hated by brands, games are slowly showing their presence in our everyday lives. Farmville has more users than Twitter, users that change their life cycles to make the most of their virtual crops.
The UK Government teamed with the Personal Finance Education Group to teach 11-18 year-olds about day-to-day financial decisions through a fun online board game called Fortunity. The British Council has created a similar financial know-how game, Future City. In Japan, McDonald’s announced it would be equipping employees with a Nintendo game console preloaded with training software. The company hopes it will reduce training time by half and give employees a fun alternative to traditional training methods.
Ford’s Fusion Hybrid car has a way to play with its audience – the driver. Green leaves visually appear on the display in the dashboard as a reward for eco-friendlier driving, making maneuvering the car a playful experience with the intention of teaching the driver how to handle the car with less energy consumption. An interesting video about the future of games in influencing behavior can be found on Ted.