A prefect's musings on digital and social media

Tag Archives: apps

As Digital Prefect I had my beady eye firmly fixed on who would win the social media award at last week’s PR Week awards, an industry thumbs up to those boldly leading the way in a field where many PROs are still only delicately tip-toeing. 

And I was not disappointed.  The winning campaign, the Ikea iPhone App, certainly displayed the key attributes that social media marketing enables: two way communication, integration, adaptation, and functionality.

Source: appadvice.com

Perhaps the only element that was slightly lacking was the creativity of the application – which PR week describes as “essentially a PDF version of the store catalogue.”  But even this weakness demonstrates where Cake (who developed the campaign for Ikea) is ahead of the social media game; choosing a functional app with longevity over a creative and amusing app which is often only a fad, at best.

So what made an award winning campaign for Ikea and Cake?

  • Two way communication – after the first version of the app was released, users were invited to suggest improvements.  An improved version of the app was then released a mere three months later based on the most popular improvement suggestions.  Two way communication is one of the most powerful tools that social media offers – allowing brands to directly interact with their stakeholders.  Many brands neglect this approach for fear of negative outcomes, but Ikea and Cake have demonstrated how powerful stakeholder interaction can be – and that it can be used to proactively to positive effect rather than reactively as a customer service mechanism.


  • Integration – Cake used multiple outlets to capture the user feedback with suggestions arriving via email, Twitter using the hashtag #IKEAappideas or by phone.  But the integration didn’t stop their, Cake also approach ‘influential voices’ in target areas with exclusive information and videos about the app to encourage them to share the information with their followers.  This generated 1,383 tweets and 328 blog posts, the icing on the cake (get it) was that the agency then used the online buzz to secure national print coverage, for a campaign which otherwise would not have been particularly newsworthy for the print media.  Leveraging a Digital campaign to secure print coverage demonstrates integration and a well thought out strategy.  You don’t need to approach all media platforms at the same time – think about how you can maximise coverage with a tactical approach.


  • Adaptation – the three month turnaround for the second version of the application is actually a record for an app update.  It demonstrates that there was always a commitment to acting on the user suggestions, rather than merely a PR stunt.  And the improvements are of course for the benefit of the brand as well because it develops an app that is more effective for its users.


  • Functionality – whilst an online catalogue does not seem the most exciting use of social media, it does have real functionality.  When I moved house last year the print catalogue inevitably got lost in the move and this application would have been very useful to plan our purchases in advance rather than running round Ikea like a headless chicken on numerous occasions (never much fun in the run up to Christmas I should warn you).

Award winning campaigns always provide food for thought, but this one particularly demonstrates how social media can cut through the gimmicks and fads to produce a campaign that is effective for the company and its customers alike.


It arrived today and I am more than just a little bit excited; my new smartphone is here. And smart it certainly is. With over 30,000 different downloadable applications, my phone can pick up my emails, tell me the name of a song on the radio and give me a list of local restaurants along with a digital discount coupon, wherever I am in the world. Although some apps are less useful: ants on my screen and vuvuzela to name just two. Useful or not, before now I’ve had just two options: call or text. Fortunately those dark days are behind me as I’m now carrying a pocket-sized portal to the digital world wherever I go.


And I’m not alone. There are over 11 million of us in the UK and the number continues to soar – up 70% in the past year – as the digitally excitable (like me) shed their old phones for an all-singing all-dancing smart handset. That means that over one in five of us are now wirelessly wired in 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

This revolution has not gone unnoticed. Smartphones have opened up a new gateway for communication, entertainment and services for people on the go. News, blogs and social networking sites have found their playground and big companies have begun to realise the potential too. A myriad of useless bits of fun have appeared such as spin the Coca Cola bottle, slide down the Barclaycard flume, drink a virtual Carling…. Brands are popping up in all sorts of mini games in a new wave of interactive tactile advertising.

Fun aside, handy apps that are useful for consumers are popping up as well. Updates on your favourite high-street fashion stores, gadgetry, film, music and anything else you can think of are at your fingertips. We can choose what we want and how we want to get it, forcing the market to invent interactive, practical and imaginative ways to reach us on a four inch touch screen.

Niches are being filled with the bizarre and the brilliant as we speak. Loosen your belt, because this is digital gluttony – and I love it.

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