Ben Wise on Branding

Watching the world through the lens of the brand

How The Rise Of Foursquare Will Benefit Every Other Brand

with 2 comments

I recently read an article on the great blog Mark Evans Tech, about why he is passing on the Foursquare craze. Despite all of the media hype the service has received, I am with Mark and won’t be signing up anytime soon. Despite that, I do think that the rise of Foursquare has much greater implications for branding that will become evident in the next few years.

The significance of Foursquare certainly has to do with online and mobile gaming for the masses, but it also shows a trend in consumers who are increasingly willing to share information about their location. This is where the opportunity really lies for brands who want to reach their consumers at the right time and at the right place. If I were to receive a text message from the Gap giving me a $10 coupon while I was walking through a mall, I would at least go into their store.

This technology has been around for a couple of years, but has been held back by consumers who do not want to share that information with brands. Clearly, there is a big step between telling your friends you are at a local coffee shop and telling a brand that you are out shopping and it will still take some time for consumer behavior to evolve to the point where they are willing to share this information (not to mention the effort it will take brands to prove to consumers that they can be trusted with this information). But the trend is unmistakably moving in that direction.

Is all the hype that Foursquare is receiving warranted from a business point of view? Probably not. Will they be a profitable company down the road? Maybe, but nothing too significant. The real changes will be when any brand can make use of mobile geo-location to connect to their users.

What do you think? Would you share your location with your favorite brands?

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Written by benwisebranding

January 14, 2010 at 6:28 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Without focusing on Foursquare, consider this. Just about every app I download for my iPhone ask if I’m willing to share my location and in most cases, I say yes.

    Consider that any tweet I make is geocoded, or that an computer I type from as an IP address that would reveal my general location.

    Finally, look at a few other investments – the WSJ just hired over 30 staff for it’s New York edition and that Metro just made a content agreement with Foursquare.

    Location, or proximity more specifically, is in most cases a key indicator of relevance. If your brand isn’t around me in the physical sense, you better find a way of making it relevant to what is around in a virtual sense.

    If your brand doesn’t ask where I am, soon enough, you’ll treat that as though it doesn’t know your gender. We’re on the front end, but it’s becoming more and more important as users become more comfortable, the uses become more relevant, and the devices become more accurate.

    Sean

    January 27, 2010 at 3:27 pm

  2. (too many typos, need to repost my comment)

    Without focusing on Foursquare, consider this. Just about every app I download for my iPhone asks if I’m willing to share my location and in most cases, I say yes.

    Consider that any tweet I make is geocoded, or that any computer I type from has an IP address that would reveal my general location.

    Finally, look at a few other investments – the WSJ just hired over 30 staff for it’s New York edition to ensure its content will be hyper local and relevant, and Metro just made a content agreement with Foursquare to share location relevant news items and reviews.

    Location, or proximity more specifically, is in most cases a key and leading indicator of relevance. If your brand isn’t around me in the physical sense, you better find a way of making it relevant to what is around in a virtual sense.

    If your brand doesn’t ask where I am, soon enough, you’ll treat that as though it doesn’t know your gender. We’re on the front end, but it’s becoming more and more important as users become more comfortable, the uses become more relevant, and the devices become more accurate.

    Finally, consider the impact of contextual advertising – it made Google one of the most dominant products we’ve ever seen. Location awareness is just as transformational.

    Sean

    January 27, 2010 at 3:30 pm


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