What is Mobile 2.0? Three expert opinions: Sven Huberts, Marvellous; Ben Scott-Robinson, We Love Mobile; Raam Thakrar, Touchnote

Try it… next time someone mentions Mobile 2.0 as part of sales or marketing pitch, put them on the spot and ask them what it means.
Here are two opinions from two top mobile agencies: Ben Scott-Robinson (BSR) creative director We Love Mobile and Sven Huberts (SH), managing director, Netherlands, Marvellous/Isobar and Raam Thakrar (RT), co-founder and CEO, of mobile-to-postcard company Touchnote
All three are speaking at the Mobile 2.0 event in Berlin, Germany, November 22-24, 2010 (mobiThinking readers get a 15 percent discount for this event).

What does Mobile 2.0 mean to you?
BSR: For me, Mobile 2.0 is the start of mass-market mobile media consumption. The technology that allows this to happen is irrelevant. Most users now understand that a mobile phone can be used to consume media, as well as engage in active communication. That’s the first step, as we move from Mobile 1.0 to Mobile 2.0.
SH: Mobile 2.0 is just another marketing term. Everyone in the mobile value chain has a different take on what it is, while for end consumers the term is virtually meaningless. Consumers adopt new technologies and services in a far more organic way, without imposing industry speak on top of this. However, for the industry, and brands in particular, Mobile 2.0 can be a helpful way to understand the shift in technologies and adoption and to make sense of this in their advertising.
Wikipedia’s definition makes a lot of sense on a broad scale: “the next generation of mobile internet services that leverage the social web”; however there’s far more to it than just adding a layer of social.
We’ve been discussing mobile apps with clients a lot recently. Early last year we developed the concept of the ‘round app’ since the best apps now connect with social media, allow participation across communities and use multiple functionalities of the device. For brands this means thinking about the 5 Cs: context, community, competition, content and consumption, which lift apps from a device-only experience, using a much more integrated approach.
RT: From a consumer perspective, Mobile 2.0 is the next wave of phone services – i.e. the wave we are currently embarking upon. That’s the handsets, the operating systems, and above all the application software on these phones. This will encompass all people, including those that haven’t had phones before (due to age or the fact that they couldn’t afford it) as well as providing a much more engaged relationship for all phone users.
From a business perspective, it should mean much more customer-focused business models, where customer proposition trumps technical every time. Generally mobile 2.0 is offering services that customers really want, that really make their life better and easier.

How can it help companies to connect with the mobile consumer?
BSR: All this content that consumers will consume on their mobile devices needs to be paid for.
These days, customers get text, pictorial or video content on their phone that is (partially) paid for by banners and other display advertising. But this isn’t working, primarily because the model has simply been transferred from other media, because media agencies are too risk averse and lazy to do something new.
The future model is more akin to the way brands sponsored content in the early days of radio. In the 1930s people got great drama because washing powder companies paid for it to happen. The brands did this because radio was means of entertainment, and they wanted to be associated with innovative, high-quality entertainment.
Soon, our brands’ customers will get exciting, innovative, location-based mass engagement that is provided by a brand, who wishes to be associated with innovative, high-quality entertainment.
We have come full circle.
SH: Mobile 2.0 means more consumers using more mobile services more of the time. This makes mobile a much more compelling proposition for brands. It also means advertisers can deliver a far richer brand experience – one that can be shared via social media, made more relevant using location and coupled to m-commerce for instant purchase.
This all hinges on understanding the challenge and defining the objectives (the consumer demographic to be targeted and what exactly they want the consumer to feel, think or do) of adding mobile to their existing communication channels.
Mobile is the only channel that can bridge the gap between online, retail, social and events, and can act as the glue that brings all channels together.
RT: It will lead to much deeper relationships with consumers. Phones are really an essential part of people’s identity. This means that companies really need to understand who their mobile consumers actually are. Most of companies don’t yet.

How can it change the lives of the mobile customer?
BSR: Who knows for sure? In the early days of any media it was difficult to predict what it would evolve into. The earliest film was made locally to the audience, so they could see themselves on the screen – the idea of doing drama or comedy on cinema didn’t come until years later. The experts thought the first telephones would be an excellent way to listen to live music and companies were set up to exploit this new ‘broadcast medium’. The first TV ads were static. In the early days of the Internet, corporate sites were no more than digitized brochures. I can’t predict the future, but I can help to make it more entertaining.
SH: Mobile 2.0 will make consumers even more connected. As mobile becomes more integrated with social, location, the web and a whole range of added features, mobile customers will be able to connect in multiple new ways. Consider the next generation of mobile healthcare applications that will give people insights into their health, while collecting data for healthcare organizations and changing the way they deliver health services. The possibilities are vast and endless, and can impact every aspect of our daily lives.
RT: Mobile 2.0 will not just be a wave of “better-looking” stuff, it will also unleash a huge new audience onto mobile.
It may sound clichéd, but connecting people is a good thing. Giving lots more people the chance to talk to and care for their friends and families can only be positive. Then you throw in the idea of the internet in your pocket with a whole bunch more services and it becomes hugely exciting.

How can it make the world a better place?
BSR: Check out M-Pesa, the mobile money service run by Safaricom in Kenya, which originally started as normal people exchanging mobile credits, rather than money. Today millions of people use M-Pesa to transfer money and it provides banking services to many people who have never seen a physical bank.
Also, a recent report found that if a woman in a developing country has a mobile phone, she will tend to earn her own money, live longer, have fewer children and be less liable to suffer abuse than a woman who doesn’t. That’s another good illustration of how mobile is making the world a better place.
SH: For developing countries, it means richer access to the web, previously the reserve of developed nations. This can empower the world’s poorest people to access and personalize information, to communicate with and participate in personal, cultural and political networks, manage their finances and become active consumers of goods and services.
As the cost of hardware falls and wireless infrastructure is improved, it will open up communication lines to the rest of the world. As a result I hope to see new collaborations and the creations of new economic opportunities. Key areas here are health, personal finance, commerce and instant communications.
RT: Again, it helps people stay in touch in an increasing number of ways. Mobile 2.0 will also allow people to use their time more efficiently, enabling them to get even more out of life.
But change is not always for the better. There is a balance between connected joy (always in touch with my best friends) and connected isolation (friendships via Skype and mobile, but not in person). We’ve yet to see the full negative impact of being friends with people in different cities and countries, but not know our neighbors. Mobile definitely takes some blame for this.

How Mobile 2.0 makes the world a better place:
Concern Worldwide delivers emergency aid via Safaricom’s M-Pesa.

What are the best examples of mobile 2.0 in action today?
BSR: I have two recent examples. The first was watching my 21-month-old son engage with interactive touch-screen learning tools for a study I am working on. This technology was pretty much science fiction five years ago. It means he will be learning at a faster rate and absorbing more information from an earlier age than ever before.
The second is a mobile service for people who have just discovered they are suffering from a disease such as bowel cancer. Finding out you are suffering from the disease is both terrifying and embarrassing – people don’t want to look for information online, in case their family or work colleagues see what they are looking for. So they suffer in silence. Mobile 2.0 can help them to learn more about their condition, privately seeking help from and staying in contact with an organization, all from the same personal interactive device. This is part of a client project, so I can’t say much more about it.
SH: With the CauseWorld app consumers collect karma points, rather than reward points, as they shop at participating retailers. When the consumer gives their karma points to a charity, the retailer matches the karma points with a cash donation. The great thing about this app is it gives big corporations an incentive to donate more to charity.
Nike+ gets people back into running in a fun and entertaining way. As a result it makes people healthier.
RT: Flirtomatic is a great fun service, that knows its audience and provides a great mobile-specific service.
Foursquare, again, knows its audience really well, and provides a great mobile-specific service.

Mobile 2.0 in action: Nike+

What best practice tips can you offer?
BSR: We have five golden rules that we apply to all our client work.
1. Make it easy. Too many campaigns and products just try to hard to pack stuff in, when the things that work are always simple.
2. Make it integrated. It’s no good making something amazing on mobile, if nobody knows about it, or if there is no way of getting to it.
3. Make it useful. The age of fluff has passed. A brand needs to have an active role in a customer’s life, and that often starts with mobile.
4. Make it for everyone. Know your target audience, and provide something that can work for all of them. Put the audience first, not the technology.
5. Make it beautiful. Nothing will make a customer talk about your brand better than giving them something they love.
RT: Above all, you put the consumer first.

Comment below or email editor (at) mobiThinking.com.

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