Swipp & Vine: New Players in Town

Last week was the week of inaugurations. Not just of the President of The U.S., but also of no less than two anticipated apps: Swipp and Vine. Swipp is a “Global Social Intelligence Platform”, as they put it, and Vine is a video app launched in joint company of Twitter. Both hyped and highly anticipated, but how can they add value to your brand’s online presence? I’ve taken a look at both apps in an attempt to grasp the business potential ahead.

 

 

 

Swipp: Would you recommend it?

Launched on Wednesday last week, Swipp is another social network that aims to connect the world, one consumer at a time. The platform is a bank of user-generated recommendations of products, places and people. Well, the last category being those of the famous, public kind –  not your own friends or neighbours. Swipp is based on both a consumer side, where consumers rate products and upload pictures for others to rate. In addition, consumers can then use the platform to seek advise from the people they find most trust worthy: their own friends, people from their own city or maybe those who share the same demographic details as them. If you are looking to buy a new laptop, it would be nice to know how your peers rate the two models you’re torn between. On a branding side, this opens up for a great opportunity of getting the sought after user recommendations. Furthermore, Swipp offers a business service that focuses on customized brand apps. The first one will see the light of day during Super Bowl, where Swipp launches a Super Bowl app that will allow the audience (on the couch and on the benches) to rate the game, the players, the trainers etc.

 

Vine: Let your creativity loose!

Vine is an app that allows you to create 6 sec GIF-like videos, which run in loop. A bit like Cinemagram, but so much more: Though only putting 6 sec at your service, you can record small snippets of video at a time, allowing you to direct your own miniature movie. This calls for not only a great opportunity for your creative department to play with a new tool of interaction –  it is also a great opportunity to challenge your brand image and interact much more intensely with your audience. So intensely, one might add, that Vine today suffered a melt down due to the extreme traffic to the platform. This hype will undoubtly mean that we’ll see some first mover brands take on the challenge within in the next few weeks. A challenge of not only creating a visually appelaing video, but also to attract their audience and communicate their brand image and message within just 6 sec. Here’s a good example from General Electric, who has already started experimenting with the app:

Comparing the two very different apps, Swipp is therefore what you could call a recommendation tool and thereby a product promoter driven by the users. Vine, on the other hand, is a tool for direct brand communications and storytelling within harsh restrictions that call for great target group understanding as well as brand image communication. I’m very excited about both newcomers and am looking very much forward to seeing the first best practice cases roll out. What do expect from these two new apps?

 

 

Get Ready for the Bots – on Facebook Messenger

2Facebook Messenger was released 5 years ago and now has over 900 million users. Originally receiving a flood of negativity towards a standalone messaging app, compared to one simple Facebook app, users seem to be warming to it. The decision to make it standalone does make a lot of sense, since messaging is a big part of people’s lives nowadays and Facebook even bought the domain messenger.com to launch a version for web browsers last year. Their 900 million users will more than likely be merged with Whatsapp’s 1 billion users, which means that Facebook will have the personal phone number of every single user – sounds like $19 billion well spent.

 

Open for Business

So that’s humans covered. Where to go next? Facebook is now venturing into their next Messenger-based project: bots. If you haven’t been keeping up, Facebook launched Messenger Platform last month, which holds within it, chatterbots. Luckily, these bots are not machine learning bots, such as the disaster that was Microsoft’s Tay. They do have some humorous replies if provoked but they ultimately steer the conversation back to the subject they’re designed to cater for. Thanks to their highly advanced Send/Receive API, these bots are able to reply with actual structured messages, including links, images, hotel reservations, the weather etc. You may immediately compare this to Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, Google Now and Amazon Echo, but what sets bots on Messenger apart is the fact that businesses can develop them, which in turn gives them another way to develop customer service. Simply put, bots could end up changing the world by replacing humans in such job sectors. Without the bespoke customer service integration that Messenger bots provide, the above voice-activated services will most likely not be able to solve business-related queries themselves. Having said that, the way bots behave is very reminiscent of the way Siri does. Maybe they’ll talk to each other one day and we’ll get the best of both.

 

Customer Service and Added Value

So how can these bots work for brands? Well, eventually, every major company in the world will have an account, which will be a first port of call when contacting their company. The reason this is almost definite is due to Facebook’s already-mammoth-sized network of users. It doesn’t get any bigger than Facebook when advertising to individual people, so connecting Messenger bots (as customer sales reps, for example) is extremely attractive. Messenger codes, one of many things taken from Snapchat, will also make it easier for businesses to connect with their customers. One industry example is how bots will almost certainly change how banking works for the consumer, replacing an app or web-based system with a dialogue with a machine that is able to understand your every need. The option to send money within Messenger itself is highly likely too, like Snapchat allows. This could also eliminate the hassle of speaking to a bank’s voice recognition system when calling by telephone – no more time (and money) wasted by the dreaded “I didn’t catch that. Please try again.” These voice recognition systems are essentially bots done badly, but they’re based on voice, which is a lot more difficult to translate into zeros and ones. Plus, you cannot autocorrect your voice (yet). I can see this whole system being replaced by bots – it could even connect you to a human advisor with ease, as you’re most likely already using your phone. Even if you’re using the desktop version or Facebook Chat, I’m sure they’ll figure something out. Besides banks, what other markets will benefit from this? Restaurants, travel and possibly supermarkets with online shopping services are big industries for it to thrive. The healthcare industry could also be a large portion – Healthtap have already created their bot, which isn’t surprising considering one of the first ever chatterbots was called DOCTOR and simulated a psychotherapist. In fact, the potential amount of markets are endless for this stream of interaction – just like it is with human customer service.

 

At the end of the day, customers are moving towards messaging as their preferred choice of customer service. And as generations progress, it will no doubt become the standard – a phone call will most likely be reserved for long, meaningful conversations with friends and family, which in turn will add even more meaning to them. The phone call will no longer be taken for granted, but talking to robots will be.