Friday, 10 September 2010

Geo-location is where it's at, but should financial services brands check-in?

An interesting video was uploaded by a French developer this week, in a few hours he'd developed a product called Track Dropper. This allowed users to leave musical 'treasure' for passers-by in specific locations. Do what? In simple terms you choose a music track from your mobile device and attach it to your location. Users who then pass that place in the future and are using the same software would be able to pick that track up, upload it to their mobile device and listen. Why's that of any use? Well it could be used by brands that have music as a core element of their strategy. So for O2, at the O2, or maybe for Diesel in their retail outlets, this could provide fantastic brand value.

Geo-location has been the building story of 2010. Since SXSW in March this year the fight has been on to win the geo-location battle. The main protagonists so far have been first Foursquare who has successfully built 2 million followers by tapping into the enthusiasm for gameplay. Users who 'check-in' are awarded points and badges while sharing their location with their friends. Second there's Gowalla who allow users to attach pictures and videos to locations for other users to pick up when they next check-in. Then on the horizon is the big beast Facebook with its Places product, with 100 million users updating on their mobiles, the opportunity for Places is absolutely monumental as people start to share their location on a huge scale.

But what are the implications for Financial Services brands. There's been plenty of chatter about location-based services, but that doesn't mean brands should really be worrying too much at the moment. There's no harm in experimenting with some accounts as an individual, and/or setting up profiles for your organisation's locations, all these new services should be tested out to identify utility. But there's no pressing or immediate need to go any further with it. There are some applications that I feel could work well for the insurance or mortgage lending space, but at present the services need to mature and users need to start getting involved more deeply before location will have real impact

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