Wednesday, November 11, 2009

iPhone Apps, iPhone Apps and more iPhone Apps...

(From L - R) Chanel, Ralph Lauren, Dior, Van Cleef, Jaeger LeCoultre and Gucci all seem to have been hooked by the iPhone Apps 'gold-rush"

What is it about luxuxy that makes the word 'Bandwagon' seem to be fashionable? Why do luxury brands blindly and unabashedly follow one another in the digital media world without taking a moment to assimilate the opportunities and requirements of new technologies?

We currently see this bandwagon drama in what seems to be the 'iPhone Applications gold-rush' as luxury brands busy themselves with trying to outdo one another's image & catalogue-style applications that appear to be anything but engaging. Chanel and Chloé were among the first luxury brands to create branded iPhone apps before the rest came on board the train, from Ralph Lauren to Gucci, Van Cleef & Arpels, Jaeger LeCoultre, Dior and many others.

While there's nothing wrong with having a luxury branded iPhone app in itself, the problem arises when there is no real additional value provided by the brand apart from a repetition of the same images, videos and animations that we can very well find on YouTube, Facebook and the brand's own website. Looking through the iPhone apps created by the luxury brands, it's quite difficult not to feel that this beautiful phone is being turned into an 'image and video dumping ground' by luxury brands.

The mobile phone is the most personal communications device existing today and I think this should tell us something - the contents should be personal, in other words customized for each user according to their preferences, habits and expectations. It means using the mobile phone apps and content for client recognition, dialogue, exchanging, sharing, retail and communicating. With all manners of existing mobile technologies today, this is very much possible. Apple was smart enough to come up with the Apps, so why can't luxury brands be smart enough to come up with highly engaging and personalized mobile phone content through the apps? To go about this, here are a few tips and thoughts.

- For starters, the mobile phone is not the only possibility of creating an integrated mobile phone application. Companies like ILS have been building customized mobile phone applications that luxury brands could integrate in customer engagement programs.

- Second, the mobile application can be used to attain multiple results from client relations to location recognition, personal shopping, client preferences, client data integration, product launches, invitations, catalogue presentations, retail consultations and so much more. It's time to get over the 'image-dumping' stance.

- Luxury brands shouldn't be fooled into thinking that people will actually switch to the iPhone just to access their apps, if the content is the same as their websites. The days of blindly following brands are gone.

More on this topic can be read in Luxury Online. In the meantime how about switching to a comprehensive 'bird's view' of the core values that mobile applications can bring to the table particularly in terms of personalized content?

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