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Jordan's mobile messaging playbook

News, 30 September 2016

NEW YORK: Brands have a significant opportunity to engage consumers with mobile messaging but should not rush into attempts to drive revenue, a leading executive from Jordan, the sportswear line owned by Nike, has suggested.

Dan Harbison, Global Director/Digital at Jordan, discussed this topic during a session held at Advertising Week 2016 in New York City.

The brand recently unveiled the "Jordan Breakfast Club", a 30-day training program which uses an automated messaging interface to provide content that is tailored to the specific needs of budding young athletes.

But while this "engagement play" is a natural fit for how the target audience uses mobile messaging, Harbison sounded a note of caution when it came to generating revenue through this platform, in the near term at least.

Any efforts to push sales, he argued, risk alienating consumers who are in "content-consumption mode" or "conversation mode", rather than seeking to learn about or purchase products.

"This is why social commerce has struggled, because people are in content-consumption mode or they are in conversation mode," he said. (For more details of the brand's strategy in this space, read Warc's exclusive report: Jordan Breakfast Club mixes messaging and personalization.)

"So I think it's going to take a while to totally port all the functionality. Not because it's not possible, just because people's state of mind isn't in the need for that utility right now."

In the short term, the most appealing option may involve offering an "expiring good that you have to act quickly to get it" – reflecting the immediacy of this communications channel.

"So that's a flash sale, or that's a limited-edition sneaker, or something like that," Harbison explained to the Advertising Week attendees.

"That sort of thing, if I'm using this messaging platform, and I get a notification through [saying], 'Hey. Right now, in the next 30 minutes, act', then I can see that being a good opportunity."

Broader possibilities might emerge over the longer term, though, as brands and consumers grow more familiar with this space, and more open to different experiences.

Whatever their plans, however, marketers must make sure their output achieves high creative standards and provides genuine value to consumers.

"If you build something that people care about and they are going to huddle around and really engage with, the monetary piece will come," Harbison said.

Data sourced from Warc