Tag Archive: SMS marketing

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3rd Floor Marine House, 

Clanwilliam Terrace, 

Dublin 2

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Posted in Blog

Think Small.

Think Small and focus On A Sustainable Messaging Strategy Before You Develop Your Mobile App




Since the birth of SMS, one of the things that us mobile agencies have had to do is work within the laws of constraint. Limited bandwidth, screen size, character length, battery life, on the go, privacy concerns, etc. have all imposed restrictions on mobile creative. Not to mention budgets!

But, this is actually a good thing because it forces the agency to become much more rigorous in how you develop your mobile proposition. It acts as a threshing machine separating the chaff from the wheat. It cuts to the content.

According to Jacob Nielsen headlines should be traditionally no more than 5 words.

Saatchi & Saatchi had their ‘brutal simplicity of thought’ (from Bertrand Russell’s Happiness where happiness can only be achieved by the painful necessity of thought). Simple messages enter the brain faster.

Brevity, the soul of wit, can be applied to your app strategy.

If you stress test your content and check if it would work as a standalone set of recurring app notifications (or even text messages) then you’ve got something enduring to build a relationship on. Once you’ve nailed that, you can then broaden your app proposition out into pictures, words, animation, games etc.

You can also extend your snack-able content to other bite sized platforms ( Twitter, WhatsApp TBC, SMS, FB Messenger TBC, We Chat etc).

Now granted, there are those killer apps that simply would not work without a rich immersive interface but for many companies who are looking to develop an app where they build something useful to stay top of mind with their customers this works well and it shouldn’t cost the earth to build, test, learn and then enhance with more budget.

This approach is really important as apps become less destinations people go to on their phones and more as widget type beach-heads for (contextual) rewards, and useful info on the go. — especially on iOS 9 and beyond.

So the next time you’re developing your app (assuming of course you’ve got content people actually want) start with ‘would people like my app if it could only pop up now and again with 5 words’ ? Or if our app budget got slashed could it exist as an occasional text message?

Posted in Blog

Let’s Talk Messaging

It was around this time last year that I took my final descent into Dublin after a year in China. It wasn’t until I started working here in Return2Sender that I realised the pivotal role WeChat plays in my everyday life. I remember my first few weeks settling back into Irish life, I was walking down Grafton Street and couldn’t help but notice the strange looks I was receiving. It took me 2 weeks and 22 glances in the mirror to realise it wasn’t a make-up error or food on my face, it was the positioning of my phone. Then it dawned on me, audio messaging is an alien concept in the West. How is an action that is so natural to one set of users, so foreign to another?

When I first arrived in Beijing, the first thing I was told to do was download Wechat. WeChat provided me with grounding in the Chinese way of communication both on a personal level and a business level and a social toolkit that made my life as an expat a lot easier.

Wechat is a text and voice messaging app that is embedded in the Chinese culture with features such as messaging, moments (newsfeed), mobile payments, voice, video ‘sight’, book a taxi, browse commerce stores options and games. It provides brands a platform for a more targeted reach and one-to-one marketing as well as opening up possibilities for user-generated content. This means that brands have the opportunity to build brand loyalty with that personalisation factor. Multiple brands have taken advantage of this opportunity.

Pepsi for example ran ‘Bring Happiness Home’ campaign in China that allowed WeChat users to customise a Pepsi theme song called ‘Bring Happiness Home’ with a personal memo with the addition of sound effects such as a train or a galloping horse (as it was the Chinese year of the horse).
McDonalds have also exploited WeChat’s voice capabilities with their ‘Big Mac Rap’ contest. This consisted of users recording and sending a rap in the style of Hua Shao, the MC of the popular show ‘Voice of China’- who popularised a style of staccato syllabic speech.

Voice and audio messaging opportunities are not limited to the WeChat app however. Many software companies are taking advantage of the increase in mobile usage. Apple’s AI knowledge as a result of its acquisition of VocalIQ and iOS 10 will allow Siri to understand more with faster replies and more content use. The SiriKit response APIs are now advanced enough to allow these apps to reply with their custom UI.  Although it is currently limited to 6 categories of apps – Ride-sharing, VoIP, messaging, payments and workout/fitness apps, the announcement highlights the importance of in-app voice capabilities.

Nuance Communications, an American multinational computer software technology corporation, provides speech and imaging applications mainly for the health care sector. Nuance’s Voice Ads creates an interactive customer experience as customers can have a one-to-one conversation with brands they love. When an ad appears it prompts the customer to participate in a conversation. These software innovations and updates, Nuance in particular, mirror the capabilities of WeChat and highlight the slow yet positive adoption of voice and audio-centred applications.


So what does this mean for brands?

Voice messaging provides the perfect solution for Millennials that would usually choose a screen over personal contact (Well I know I would!) as well as satisfying the convenience urge. It is the feature of the future. Imagine waking around a supermarket with an app that provides the total cost of the contents in your basket with a simple “Uncle Ben’s Rice 250g”. Or instant voice messaging replies from your favourite designer suggesting what accessories to wear with your current outfit.

Apple has taken the first step, Siri’s third party integration gives brands the opportunity to create interactive applications or update their current apps whereby Siri voice assistant can enable brands’ engagement with users on a one-to-one level creating seamless customer experiences. If mobile users in the East have utilised voice messaging so greatly, why hasn’t the West? Opportunities for Western adoption of voice messaging exists, the question is – how will brands exploit voice capabilities and the existing software available to reach their customers on a one-to-one level and ultimately become leaders in mobile marketing?


Katie McCullagh – Return2Sender


Posted in Blog