Posts on Sep 2015

Owning Moments that Matter

If you’re like me, there’s probably an iconic sports moment permanently etched in your brain. Maybe Michael Jordan’s switch-hand layup against the Lakers. Kerri Strug’s one-foot vault landing at the Olympics. Rulon Gardner’s underdog win over a 13-year undefeated wrestling champion.

My strongest sports memory was when I was 7. I watched Doug Flutie throw a “Hail Mary” touchdown pass as the clock ticked to zero to lift Boston College over the University of Miami in an amazing win. To this day, I still see in my mind and remember everything about that moment — how Doug scrambled in the pocket, how the announcers sounded calling the touchdown, and even how the entire team piled on each other to celebrate.

What exactly does this memory have to do with marketing and making meaningful connections with fans and customers?

Actually, a lot.

Making Brand Memories

Right now, my memory of Doug Flutie’s “Miracle in Miami” is tied just to him and the sport. But what if a brand capitalized on that moment in a meaningful way? Rather than just being a memory, that moment in time could become an incredible brand connection, too.

This is what gets me pumped. With mobile technology, marketers and brands have a huge (and right now, untapped) opportunity to own these moments that matter. By own, I mean create a hyper-targeted connection that benefits both fans and brands.

The Business Case for Owning Moments

Let’s stick with sports, although there are plenty of similar applications for live events, broadcast and retail. For this example, we’ll use the Cleveland Cavaliers from my home state of Ohio.

  • They host a max of 20,052 fans per home game.
  • They will play 41 home games in 2015-2016.
  • Let’s estimate 40 percent of fans have downloaded the Cav’s official mobile app.

Using these numbers, during home games, the Cavs have an opportunity to engage with almost 333,000 fans through their official mobile app.

Let’s go a step further and talk about specific moments that matter. In basketball, slam dunks are a perennial fan favorite. What if a brand were to take ownership each time Timofey Mozgov dunks? Thanks to data over sound technology, for example, an athletic shoe company could sponsor each instant replay broadcast to a fan’s mobile device through the Cav’s official app.

Let’s just see how much potential exists.

  • According to 82games.com, on average there are 6.56 dunks per game, so I’ll even go a little more conservative and use the number five.
  • Let’s estimate 75 percent of the Cav’s app users opt in to receive these special notifications.

Over 1 million premium in-stadium impressions could be generated for the shoe company (which doesn’t even take into account viewers watching from home). More than just a billboard or ad, using owned moments to connect and engage with fans all the way down to their seats has the potential to generate impressive ROI.

Keeping Owned Moments Meaningful

There are a couple caveats to owning moments that matter.

  • First, the connection between the owned moment and the brand story needs to be authentic for fans.
  • Second, to stay meaningful, not every single moment can be owned. It can quickly become overwhelming or irrelevant to fans if a brand takes ownership of a moment that happens too frequently, like three-point shots.
  • Third, look for ways to naturally extend owned moments. If a fan experiences a meaningful moment watching branded replays of slam dunks via their mobile device in-stadium, how does that connection continue for the fan at home during the next game?

Brands, fans and teams alike stand to benefit with meaningful connections in these moments that matter. So what’s going to be the next memorable moment? And who will own it?

Discover how to capitalize on moments that matter by following @LISNR.  

LISNR is a high frequency, inaudible technology; a new communication protocol that sends data over audio. As the leaders of the Internet of Sound, we use inaudible sound waves called SmartTones™, to transmit information.  LISNR essentially transmits customizable packets of data every second that enable proximity data transmission, second-screen functionality, authentication and low-fi device to deviceconnectivity on any LISNR enabled device.  We enable this functionality better and more efficiently than bluetooth (proximity), ACR (2nd Screen), and NFC/RFID (authentication). As an integrated software partner, LISNR can power devices to connect with world around better than ever before.

Live Event Spotlight: Budweiser Made in America 2015

BMIA Banner

Over Labor Day weekend, more than 140,000 fans converged on Philadelphia for the latest installment of the Budweiser Made in America Festival. Now in its fourth year, the event features an eclectic mix of artists personally curated by hip-hop mogul Jay Z.

Set at the base of the city’s famous “Rocky” steps and spread out across five stages on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the event featured performers including Beyoncé, The Weeknd, Death Cab for Cutie, Nick Jonas, and almost 60 other rap, rock, EDM and R&B artists.

LISNR was at the event for the third year in a row, powering the official Budweiser Made in America mobile app. The goal? Deliver “right place, right time” messaging for a rockin’ fan experience.

The Challenges

We’ve all been there —trying to get a WiFi or data signal with thousands of others at a large outdoor music event. Keeping up-to-date with schedule changes takes forever. Forget about posting a selfie to Facebook or Instagram.

Budweiser recognized just how important it was to create a positive fan experience. From keeping guests up-to-date about set changes and artists next up on the schedule, to helping fans get home safely, our team was charged with facilitating relevant engagement and notifications through the mobile app.

Since LISNR uses SmartTones® to deliver data over inaudible sound waves to mobile apps, any challenges associated with WiFi or data coverage were immediately off the table. These audio tones are delivered through existing speaker infrastructure – meaning the festival was already “wired” and no additional or special hardware or other technology was needed.

Seamless to Fans

LISNR’s embedded technology creates a seamless experience for fans who just care about “right place, right time” messaging. Through the app, fans’ mobile devices “hear” the tones and deliver instant – and most importantly – hyper-relevant notifications, even if Bluetooth and Location Services are turned off.

For example, “smart” messaging content unlocked by LISNR included:

  • A special Budweiser-branded welcome message as attendees entered the Made in America Festival.
  • Notifications about water station locations and refillable Budweiser water bottles to keep attendees hydrated.
  • Up to $20 off notices for an Uber ride as festival-goers approached exits — part of Budweiser’s commitment to get fans home safely.

LISNR notifications also drove traffic to other Budweiser-sponsored footprints within the festival.

  • Guests could visit the Budweiser Signature Room (part barber shop, flash tattoo parlor and old school arcade game) for a signature beer draft.
  • Fans were encouraged to collect Budweiser cans and return them to the Recycling Store for free t-shirts.
  • Attendees also received messages about Budweiser’s “Make a Plan to Make it Home” area where they could register to win a free bike.

An Epic Experience

There’s hardly a better way to close out summer than amazing performances from Beyoncé and The Weeknd. Key fan engagement and interaction metrics were up across the board over the previous year:

  • 58,000 interactions with LISNR tones.
  • 600,000 app sessions.
  • 5.4 million impressions through Twitter and Facebook.

What a way to turn up this year’s event. See you at #MadeInAmerica 2016!

LISNR is a high frequency, inaudible technology; a new communication protocol that sends data over audio. As the leaders of the Internet of Sound, we use inaudible sound waves called SmartTones™, to transmit information.  LISNR essentially transmits customizable packets of data every second that enable proximity data transmission, second-screen functionality, authentication and low-fi device to deviceconnectivity on any LISNR enabled device.  We enable this functionality better and more efficiently than bluetooth (proximity), ACR (2nd Screen), and NFC/RFID (authentication). As an integrated software partner, LISNR can power devices to connect with world around better than ever before.

How Beacons Can Connect Your App to the Outside World

How Beacons Can Connect Your App to the Outside WorldBeacon buzz has been building since Apple first introduced iBeacons just two years ago. The potential to trigger location-based content and experiences on customers’ smartphone apps holds great appeal for marketers, and additional hardware vendors have jumped on board.

It’s no wonder why:

  • Juniper Research projects retailers will spend $670 million this year related to hardware and installation costs for beacons and RFID tags. By 2020, that figure will increase fourfold to an estimated $2.5 billion (yes, “b” for billion).
  • More than 1 million physical beacons are in the market already, and they are estimated to break the 400 million mark in five years.

So what are beacons and how are they being used to connect apps to the outside world?

Beacons 101

Beacons are inexpensive pieces of hardware that use Bluetooth low energy (BLE) to broadcast signals to nearby devices. Bluetooth-enabled smartphones or tablets within about 150 to 200 feet receive those signals, enabling people to receive notifications, special offers, discounts and more. Apple’s iBeacon technology was one of the earliest to market, followed by Gimbal and Google’s Eddystone.

Part of beacons’ draw are their size (small enough to attach to walls), relatively low cost and increasing availability.

However, some say turning on Bluetooth and location services drains your battery too much. Others say it’s a hassle to continuously keep apps open. Neither of these objections are going to hold back beacons’ adoption for very long.

It’s an App Mad World

We’re in an app mad world – living more and more in our favorite apps (hello Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!) and not our browsers. Is it really a big deal to enable Bluetooth and location services? In informal poll of my officemates, 90 percent all had Bluetooth and location services on, and multiple open apps.

And specific to the battery issue, raise your hand if you’d sacrifice just a little bit of battery life for an extra 25 percent off your next purchase delivered through a store’s app. Yeah, I’m right there with you.

I’m not the only one who thinks it’s worth it. Retailers, live events, and sports venues are all investing in beacons. They recognize we’re using apps to connect to the outside world, and want to be by our side (or in our pocket) with relevant content and customized experiences.

The Next Generation of Beacons

Though retailers originally eyed beacons for applications, we could finally be at the “tipping point” as more companies adopt beacons. For example, at SXSW 2015, 1,000 proximity beacons were placed in and around hundreds of SXSW venues. As part of the official SXSW GO app, thanks to beacons attendees could view other attendees nearby, and network by sending a quick message to those with similar interests. The app also had an “Around Me” feature that used beacons to provide notifications of what bands were playing, what films were being screened, or sessions about to start. Beacons even provided real-time audience engagement via the “Session Live” feature by asking attendees to join session chats or answer real-time polls.

Sure, beacons as we know it will continue to change. They’ll get “smarter” and more frictionless. For example, LISNR has created SmartTones that send data over audio and using existing speaker infrastructures as the “beacon.” As consumers benefit and continue to have amazing experiences, beacons will be just one of the ways apps are used to connect to the outside world in amazing ways.

Follow @LISNR for meaningful ideas to engage your audience through technology.

LISNR is a high frequency, inaudible technology; a new communication protocol that sends data over audio. As the leaders of the Internet of Sound, we use inaudible sound waves called SmartTones™, to transmit information.  LISNR essentially transmits customizable packets of data every second that enable proximity data transmission, second-screen functionality, authentication and low-fi device to deviceconnectivity on any LISNR enabled device.  We enable this functionality better and more efficiently than bluetooth (proximity), ACR (2nd Screen), and NFC/RFID (authentication). As an integrated software partner, LISNR can power devices to connect with world around better than ever before.

Give Your Customers a Better In-Store Experience Through Their Phones

Give Your Customers a Better In-Store Experience Through Their PhonesIf you’ve had the privilege of drinking Johnnie Walker Blue Label, you know everything about it is premium—from the whisky blend to the silk-lined box and certificate of authenticity to the $200+ price per bottle.

So why did Diageo, owner of the Johnnie Walker brands, create a “smart” bottle label that can be scanned with a smartphone to trigger messages, promotions or even recipes? (Sidebar: IMO, you don’t need recipes. Johnnie Walker Blue neat is sublime.)

The answer is simple: Even the most iconic and storied brands need to change with the times. Diageo sees millions of digital searches about its brands occurring, and “more than 50 percent of those searches happen through mobile with a few feet of the bottle on the shelf.”

Driving Deeper Brand Connections

Diageo isn’t the only one who has noticed: 75 percent of store shoppers use their mobile devices while shopping in-store. Rather than waiting for Apple or Gimbal to come up with interesting applications, brands are taking the lead and creating unique in-store technology activations to drive deeper connections with consumers.

While shoppers typically use their phone for price comparison, brands are tapping into technology and second screens to enhance in-store interactions. Especially at-shelf and point-of-sale, there are untapped opportunities to delight consumers and deliver relevant content through their mobile devices. Rather than just ads or coupons, product details and other proximity-based information provide customers with information needed to aid a purchasing decision.

The Right Time, The Right Place

Most people buy to save time, save money or eliminate pain. What if technology were used to enable faster and more efficient shopping when you need it most? Case in point: the Amazon Dash Button. Doing laundry at home and running low on Tide detergent? Simply press the Dash Button and Amazon automatically reorders and delivers the item to your doorstep.

The same thinking holds true when customers are in-store. Whether mobile technology enables a customer to find the quickest route to the exact item they’re ready to purchase or provides notifications about new products, the in-store shopping experience is enhanced. Using data over audio technology embedded in a store’s app to trigger smart notifications exactly when and where information is needed can deliver a significantly better experience.

The Business Benefits

Using technology in-store has obvious benefits for consumers. Shoppers receive promotions or discounts to use if they’re making a purchase, or get details that provide justification to buy. And like in the case of the Johnnie Walker Blue Label, there’s an amazing opportunity to create a deeper relationship between the customer and the brand that didn’t exist before.

But using technology to enhance the in-store experience isn’t just a “nice to have” for brands and retailers – it’s good for business too. Take Shopkick, one of the first companies to use beacons and ultrasonic technology to trigger smartphone notifications when a customer enters a store. Shopkick now has 15 million users globally, with 25 retail partners and 300 brands. What’s even more impressive are the business results stats. In stores that have beacons, shoppers using Shopkick make 26% more purchases than those without it, and more than half of sales are incremental.

Not only can technology enhance a customer’s in-store experience, but there is a huge opportunity for brands and retail to drive meaningful value while influencing real-time purchasing decisions.

Follow @LISNR for more ways mobile is redefining the in-store shopping experience.

LISNR is a high frequency, inaudible technology; a new communication protocol that sends data over audio. As the leaders of the Internet of Sound, we use inaudible sound waves called SmartTones™, to transmit information.  LISNR essentially transmits customizable packets of data every second that enable proximity data transmission, second-screen functionality, authentication and low-fi device to deviceconnectivity on any LISNR enabled device.  We enable this functionality better and more efficiently than bluetooth (proximity), ACR (2nd Screen), and NFC/RFID (authentication). As an integrated software partner, LISNR can power devices to connect with world around better than ever before.

Sound Is the New Bluetooth. Here’s Why

music festivalIn the Internet of Things (IoT), Bluetooth technology enables smart devices – cell phones, wearable devices, and just about anything else you can think of – to communicate with each other. Bluetooth is great for transferring small amounts of data in short distances. However, the technology has significant limitations that leave opportunity for other protocols to jump in.

And that’s where sound comes in.

While the concept of using ultrasonic sound frequencies to deliver hyper-targeted and proximity-based messages, data and video is relatively new, innovative brands and content creators are already embracing this technology.

But the infrastructure to hear and receive sound is vast. No special technology is needed to enable sound transmission. Added to the ability to use cutting-edge sound technology to deliver real-time engagement and meaningful content, sound is set to become the new technology standard for connecting devices and people.

No Constraints

I helped start LISNR to find new ways to use sound-based technology, and I’m excited about the possibilities. Here’s why. Unlike Bluetooth technology, data-over-audio communication  such as LISNR’s proprietary SmartTones™:

  • Need no additional hardware or local implementation.
  • Don’t require Wi-Fi/cell service.
  • Can be transmitted across distances greater than three feet.
  • Use minimal power consumption.
  • Are device-neutral.

All of these capabilities translate into incredible efficiency. Data-over-audio communications require very little RAM/CPU power, meaning transmitted data can be synchronized to one-tenth of a second versus several seconds in other connected technologies.

Built-In Infrastructure

Another reason sending data-over-audio is gaining speed fast is because of the existing sound infrastructure. Speakers are embedded everywhere. In fact, there are more speakers on Earth than people. If each and every one of these speakers are utilized to carry data, there is an extremely large transmission network available. Bluetooth technology, on the other hand, requires hardware to be built into each device—increasing cost and connection complexity.

More Hardware on the Market

First came Siri, then Google Now and Amazon Echo. As more devices come to market capable of being always on, always listening, data-over-audio communications will continue to accelerate. Sound will quickly become the new norm for receiving information – whether it’s a recipe, educational content or even marketing messages.

Case in point,  Google just released its own wireless router called OnHub – because, well – most wifi sucks.  We’re sharing and streaming in ways our current routers were never meant to handle.  Google set out to simplify this problem.  And they used sound as the medium for the router to connect with your device.  When you set up OnHub using an Android device, the router uses an audio tone to send a setup code directly to your mobile device for simple and secure setup.  Nifty, right?

Precision Targeting

Two Bluetooth limitations preventing effective communication and data transfer are distance and physical space.  You’ve probably had this problem before.  Your phone is connected to your home stereo, but when you walk in the bathroom, you drop the connection.  When you get too far away, or a physical structure obstructs your signal – Bluetooth is inefficient and unreliable.

Sound goes where other technologies can’t, through walls and even across entire stadiums — anywhere existing speaker or microphone infrastructure exists. This technology enables delivery of proximity-based communications to large groups in very specific locations, like fans who pass by a certain stage at a music festival.

The Sky’s the Limit

Frankly, we’re just starting to scratch the surface of how data-over-audio communication technology can be used. Sports teams and artists are using this technology to connect with fans and deliver amazing second screen experiences. Brands are connecting with customers in-store and online at the same time. Even broadcast TV becomes more engaging for couch-side viewers.

There are countless applications using data-over-audio technology still to be developed that will transform how each and every person connects to each other. And I sure like the sound of that.

LISNR is a high frequency, inaudible technology; a new communication protocol that sends data over audio. As the leaders of the Internet of Sound, we use inaudible sound waves called SmartTones™, to transmit information.  LISNR essentially transmits customizable packets of data every second that enable proximity data transmission, second-screen functionality, authentication and low-fi device to deviceconnectivity on any LISNR enabled device.  We enable this functionality better and more efficiently than bluetooth (proximity), ACR (2nd Screen), and NFC/RFID (authentication). As an integrated software partner, LISNR can power devices to connect with world around better than ever before.