I’m an Addict

Friday, September 11, 2015 | 4pm

Hi I’m Joe. And I’m an addict.

But I never really realised how much of an addict until the moment my colleague, https://twitter.com/katie_royce (please feel free to berate her on social) put my iPhone in her cup of tea…

So in the two weeks I then spent without a phone, what happened? Foaming at the mouth? Nervous twitch in my eye? Crawling along gutters for my next hit…? You’d think. But not quite. This is a connected world, and here’s the story of how, iPhoneless, I still managed to feed my addiction and pick up, along the way, a lot of new knowledge I can apply to my job and my campaigns.

Firstly, what did I miss the most? Unsurprisingly anything that was mobile-only…

Emoticons

Those fun little things that make communicating that little bit more interesting and visual. And I guess when I confess to a childish nature (36 going on 16) it’ll be no surprise to learn that it was the poop emoji I missed the most

Did you know that 74 per cent of people in the U.S. regularly use stickers, emoticons or emojis, sending, an average, a huge 96 of them a day?

And emoticons are clever little things that are actually changing our brains and speech patterns when we communicate. Scientists have discovered that when we look at emoticons, it stimulates the same parts of the brain as when we look at a real smiling human face. That’s going to be powerful stuff, and the clue’s in the name; it’s called an emoticon because it triggers an emotional reaction!

So what’s the relevance when it comes to marketing? There are some great examples out there if you google emoticon marketing. Take this simple and hugely engaging emoji tweet from Bud Light on 4 July.

Even if, on the face of it, it’s not in your brand tone to use emojis, think about it. It might be worth considering.

Instagram

I’m a big fan of photography, and love the visual inspiration I get from Instagram. And although my role has moved away from the visual to the more strategic, visual is still a huge part of my life outside of the day job. Instagram has had some pretty big updates over the past year, from an ad solution now for the masses to now displaying images in portrait and landscape as opposed to the original square format (I’m still not sure I’m happy about that – I like the restriction of the square – but maybe that’s just me).

Instagram to me has always been the place for UGC, and it can be a great place for storytelling. With a bit of imagination, brand campaigns on Instagram can be really engaging. Take this adventure story from Old Spice

WhatsApp

I use WhatsApp primarily for sharing photos of the kids among family groups, or seeing what my friends and family are up to. It’s our way of keeping in touch. After the tea incident, I was well out of touch.

At the time, my good lady wife and kids where down in Cornwall with the in-laws, and I missed the usual photos of all their outings from bike rides to crabbing. Like I said though, I’m an addict. And thanks to the connected world I found way round most things via the likes of Facebook (more below).

WhatsApp has always had an intimacy about it, and that’s something that brands need to be incredibly careful about when considering these intensely personal platforms for marketing campaigns. The BBC has had huge success in terms of both engagement and followers in its use of WhatsApp to broadcast content to war-torn and third world countries. Where these people have access to the platforms, the corporation has found it’s been the best way to reach them. And although not a brand campaign, it’s a sharp reminder to “fish where the fish are” when you need to communicate with your audience.

All of that said, the BBC did go on record saying they literally had a community manager exhausting their thumb muscles because, as yet, there are no clever ways of broadcasting content via the channel.

Facebook

The life saver of event organisation! As my wife was away, my plan was to organise a night out with the lads (admittedly a pretty hard thing to do, even with a phone). This I achieved via good old-fashioned Facebooking!

Incidentally, Facebook’s new API is going to bring about a whole new set of ways for brands to engage their audiences. Have you noticed those three dots when writing a message using Facebook Messenger? That’s all part of it. And speaking of messenger apps, did you know that there are four instant messenger apps in the top eight social networks after Facebook?

There’s no doubt about it, social networking is getting more private. If, like many brands, you’re still working out ways to use it for marketing, at least Facebook Messenger is taking steps to help you.

Apples Message

While my iPhone was skinny dipping in tea, this platform meant I could receive, and respond to most of my phone messages via my laptop or iPad. Really useful while WhatsApp hasn’t been available to me. Nothing hugely new to learn here – except that good old SMS marketing still lives. It’s still relevant (assuming your audience is there) – and still a good place for the likes of competitions and customer surveys for example.

The Phone Company

Fortunately I could call from a landline and change my iPhone answerphone message to let callers know they could contact me via the office landline. Unfortunately I didn’t go with the company’s insurance, opting instead for my banks inclusive package, which meant that I went for two weeks without a phone (pay peanuts, get monkeys).

Then again, not having a phone for two weeks did open up a lot of new insight for me…

The other upside?

I really did switch off. With no phone telling me to check it, my evenings were more my own, and it gave me valuable time for perspective, which I don’t often get. So have I learnt from this and now switch off for periods of time?

Hells no… I said at the start: I’m an addict.

But I’ve learned to grab my new iPhone out of the way anytime I see Katie with a cup of tea….

Got a digital addiction to share? What’s your coping mechanism? Let us know.

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