The idea of having your business everywhere might not be the ideal for everyone, but for businesses that are building communities, offering servies, or leading tribes, we have to discuss ubiquitous business.
With the virtual/physical, online/offline worlds becoming so merged together, not only through the mobile, but through other home media devices, advertising, in store displays, and so on, there are new opportunities for your business to be at the water cooler – to be where conversations are taking place, capture and showcase those conversations and make something out of them, and actually provide your services to your customers when they are using these devices and be ‘the elbow of the deal’.
Where are People?
To do this, we need to answer the question, where are people? Not just “which social networks are they on?”, but where are people online, offline? For example, football fans at a game. People on the bus. In fact, where are they offline, like on the underground, where they can take what was gotten online, offline with them?
Where is not just a spatial term, it is a time term, an emotional term, a participatory term. We need to deeply understand our customer to really know where they are.
Once you know where they are, how can you get there? How can you socialise the channels that you use in order to get your content and service there?
A fine example is Absolute Radio, who take their Baddiel and Skinner radio show and turn it into a podcast, live stream, iPhone app, Nokia app, Sony Ericson app, etc. It’s a great move by them, because when someone can’t be online, the content has been put offline on their mobile device, which they use to listen to the podcasts in all those empty spaces throughout the day.
I consider their app-driven approach all the more pertinent as apps will take over browser use on mobile devices. When you’re using the iPad, you’ll quickly note how much nicer it is to use an app in many cases, than using the browser version, even on a desktop. (Full review of this here.)
Another way to be where people are is by having a platform that is trans-platform, i.e., it cross all other platforms. Absolute Radio touch on this above by having their content on multiple channels, however those channels are fixed. I’m really talking about the concept of a hashtag as a platform.
I was quoted in AdWeek last week, in a peice called ‘Learning to Speak on the Social Web‘ (penned by my friend Neal Rodriguez), where I described that the hashtag is a trans-platform platform, that means the platform exists where ever it is used. Ubquity comes through this, because we can tag anything that we say or do with “#likeminds”, and it becomes part of the platform.
What About Location Gaming?
There’s a big discussion to be had here (my fiend Carl Haggerty most recently adding some interesting thoughts), and many of the points are obvious: “people can check into your locations”, “people can see you exist when visiting your town”, etc etc.
Let’s answer the where question on this instead. Where are people? They are on their phones, when they go into any area that warrants a check in.
Do these people use it to find new places? No. They only use it to check into places.
Your Leading Thoughts
- Let’s begin by asking ourselves the question: where are you?
- What kind of services to you want to be ubiquitous? Do you want services to be with you, where ever you go?