Digital Wrap-Up 2011

Wendell Phillips said “revolutions never go backwards” so what a year of permanent change through great work in the ‘Big D’ 2011 was. From social to relaunches and updates of services like Twitter and that Face-thing. I’ve been in the industry for 15 years this year and it’s my own personal view that 2011 has genuinely been the best year of change since the inception of the commercial internet. I think it’s because everything has matured so much – especially in the UK – to the point where things are starting to gel… which I think is reflected in my digital wrap-up below. I’m a UX guy in theory, but actually I just love good solid tech and creative work above all the UX hyperbole. If it’s urban, mobile, unique, easy to use and instant-utility then THAT is awesome UX as far as I’m concerned. 2012 is going to be the year I upset a lot of my peers in the UX community by championing the end of all this chat that goes on about standards and patterns and familiar paradigms and so on and so on and so on… 2012 is the start of the age when we continue to marry great tech’ with amazing ideas and give the end consumer awesome experiences that change their lives in little ways.

I’ve hand-picked a couple of my highlights and it’s no surprise that they all span so many different pillars of the ‘Big D’ and also appear on pretty much every other list you’ll see summarizing 2011. So here we go in no particular order:

Tesco Homeplus – The QR Store in Korea

The objective was to make Tesco the No 1 seller in Korea… but the competition have way more stores… so what do you do? Take the ‘store’ to the people and let them shop with their phones. People should find Tesco Homeplus wherever they are without having to go to the brick and mortar store. Moreover they could make good use of the wasted times and enjoy their free time.

RESULTS: 76% of online members & +130% of online sales. Homeplus became N°1 in online grocery shopping and is a very close 2nd offline. Novelty? Or game-changing? I think a little of both… it certainly helped QR codes come of age a bit too…

New York – The World Park

The concept was simple… Create a museum in the park to create an entirely different experience using QR codes that gave access to other content integrated into the context (including History, pop culture, music & science). They also included elements of gamification.

Again – Another quality use of mobile (I see a pattern emerging) and QR codes… Marketers are sometimes nervous about or afraid of technology but nowadays, technology enables the possibility of amazing experiences. Note that you should be careful about sharing specific content with everyone.

IKEA 365

Create one simple creative campaign everyday including a new product to create a story and engage consumers. I always loved the concept brought to me by a colleague that digital is about a myriad of little ideas not ‘the big idea’ now and this campaign pretty much embodies that to the letter. IKEA proving they’re still one of the most innovative brands on the planet.

Volkwagen – Planeta Terra

Create awareness of VW’s sponsorship of the Planta music festival in Brasil… to an audience who are generally quite apathetic about VW. This was one of several awesome campaigns run using Twitter and Google Maps as the gaming platform. Pretty simple really… Tickets to the music festival were strategically placed around locations high-lighted using Google Maps… the first person to find the tickets wins them… But here’s the kicker… ‘Tweets’ made the map zoom… so the more the protagonists tweeted the closer the map zoomed to the location of the tickets. A beautiful self-fulfiling prophecy of a game.

Microsoft Bing

We’ve already seen a campaign using Google Maps and that was a lot of Microsofts challenge this year… how do you raise awareness of its own service ‘Bing’. In some ways a far more superior service in the same way that Vimeo is to YouTube, but displacing existing behavior is next to impossible (don’t get me started on Google+). So what they did was pretty clever… They placed each of the 320 pages of Jay Z’s book, Decode, in 600 unique traditional, nontraditional and digital advertising placements in 15 cities around the world.

The best of the ‘hide and seek’ games from the year for sure… results speak for themselves: 11 min per visit on the specific website. +11,7% of visits to bing. ~$1,1 B worth of media impressions.

Greys Anatomy Sync app for iPad

The best of the iPad offerings this year (for concept rather than longevity). The Grey’s Anatomy Sync app for iPad lets you experience Grey’s Anatomy in an entirely new way! You’ll get to interact with other fans and get exclusive episode-related content delivered to your iPad in real time while you watch Grey’s Anatomy live on your TV.

So what? It’s just back-channel stuff which we’ve all seen, right? But think about it a bit more. It actually used the coding baked into the show to talk to the app. I love that. Old media being used to control new platform. Awesomely powerful idea.

Empire Avenue

My big big digital addiction of 2011 is without a doubt the genius ‘Empire Avenue‘. I’ve spent more time working on my social share price this year than my actual shares! Fact. It’s a simple concept – Register. Hook-up all your various social media profiles, channels and wasted time interfaces and Empire Avenue gives you a shareprice. You buy other peoples shares and they buy yours. You make money, you lose money and you can’t help but go to that dreaded iPhone App every morning to see how well you’re doing. This is gamification of the highest order and I’m going to need some kind of therapy next year if I’m going to ditch the habit.

Summary

There were so many more too, but I just haven’t got time to highlight them all in any great detail… I will just highlight ‘World of Fourcraft‘ as the best gamification idea of the year… pure genius… and leave you with this round-up:

In 2011:

  • Multichannel became Multichannels
  • Point of Sale became Points of Sale (sell everywhere using mobile)
  • Using ‘Free Time’ became the big success currency
  • Gamification stopped being a fad and a buzz word and started being a genuine thing
  • Thinking outside of the box became acceptable and not just rubbish ATL buzz generation
  • Customer Experience became the new User Experience
  • The simple ideas still run the roost!
My predictions for 2012:
  • The mobile wallet will become a reality and we’ll all start to embrace the ‘idea’ of using our phones to pay for things
  • Facebook will announce that it’s Facebook Credits idea will become an offline currency too and try to take on PayPal using mobile as the payment device for the Facebook Credits
  • Apps will start to diminish in favour of fluid HTML 5 pages that can be used on all devices and give the same experience as an App
  • User Experience will be even more integral to the industry than before

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