Sarah Cantillion, client services director, Movement
Sarah Cantillion, client services director, Movement
A view from Sarah Cantillion

Think BR: How brands can execute a global campaign using mobile

When it comes to mobile, one size certainly does not fit all, writes Sarah Cantillion, client services director, Movement.

SMS, mobile web, apps, mobile advertising; what’s right for your target audience? When you throw a global campaign into the mix, a host of new challenges emerge.

While many might expect a mobile campaign to be led by new developments in mobile technologies, in fact almost the opposite is true; the real key to success is creativity.

What works best in one country with a certain technological profile may be impossible in another, and as such the most successful campaigns are those based on a great idea that transcends technology.

Once an idea is in place, brands should then look for the best way to augment it, driving engagement across a global mobile landscape made up of low, mid and high tech mobile markets.

The practical execution of a global mobile campaign starts in the same way as any other marketing initiative - with planning and preparation. Firstly, assess the mobile landscape in each of the target countries.

The methodology behind this will depend on the data available but it should cover factors such as penetration of smartphone devices, tendency to browse the internet on a mobile and whether your audience downloads apps or uses entertainment features.

While there are certainly country to country differences, data is more easily segmented by technology rather than country, covering the low, mid and high tech markets. This can then be imprinted over the various regions that the brand is targeting.

Mobile and social often work hand-in-hand on global campaigns, acting as a conduit to one another, and each country’s social media profile will be different.

The global social landscape is changing rapidly - whether it’s the growing dominance of Facebook in the UK, the astronomical rise of Pinterest in the US or the popularity of Weibo in China. Understanding each target audience’s use of social will be crucial to raising awareness around any mobile campaign.

There are also a number of key checkpoints to cover when planning a global mobile campaign. If you’re using SMS, organise shortcodes so that they are ready for activation.

Brands also need to understand and prepare for integration if required - whether desktop, social, above the line or out of home, any issues need to be picked up and resolved early on.  

Of course, with global campaigns, translation also becomes an issue. Will the campaign run only in English or offer key languages/defaults?

Issues start to arise when languages like Hebrew, with a different alphabet written right to left, come into play, which could potentially cause huge problems if it hasn’t been considered and prepared for beforehand both in terms of the creative and technical execution.

The wider execution of a global campaign might be managed by a global agency, but often the implementation at a local level will be the responsibility of local agencies.

 In a recent global mobile campaign, we approached the local management of a campaign by creating a flexible activation tool kit, where local markets could dial up or dial down any campaign element depending on their technological profile, and still have a really rich, thorough programme that could run successfully.

It can make sense to offer a holistic approach - while the SMS, mobile web and app bundle will deliver the ultimate experience when combined, each element also works alone.

However, regardless of local approaches the campaign still needs to be managed from a global standpoint, ensuring execution, timing and messaging remains consistent across all markets.

Of course, there may be a good reason for a homogenous approach, so it's never ruled out, but it’s essential to always come back to what the brand is looking to achieve, ensuring the campaign is acutely appropriate to each market and that the mechanics you’re asking the consumer to engage through match the tools they have to hand.

Remember that when planning mobile for global, things are not straightforward. Multiple platforms need to be considered - base your campaign around an app, for example, and you may exclude half the target audience; just use SMS and you may miss out on engaging at a deeper level via links to mobile web.

A successful campaign will take each market and its own internal demographics into account, because mobile performs best when it is most relevant to the consumer engaging in the channel.

Sarah Cantillion, client services director, Movement