Yahoo's new CEO Marissa Mayer has done something of an Oprah, promising all Yahoo employees a new Apple, Samsung, Nokia or HTC smartphone. As part of the same bold move, Yahoo is discontinuing IT support for its employees' Blackberrys.
Ouch. That sound you hear is not a ringtone, but another nail punched into the coffin of RIM, maker of Blackberry.
Actually, that was fun to write, but not really fair. As a former Blackberry user who just sent his new but defective HTC phone back to its maker for exchange, I can tell you that I was always able to depend on my Blackberry back when I had one. So why is Blackberry's market share shrinking to a number smaller than my infant son's shoe size?
The rise of mobile is tied to the rise of the visual.
You can't take a meeting in Starbucks these days without hearing somebody talking about mobile being on the rise. We are taking in content on our phones and tablets, so it makes sense that the devices we like are those with bigger screens, more processing power, and capable of sucking in bigger bandwidth.
Since my contact with brands has become visually driven, I experience those brands as I look at videos and browse Pinterest and Instagram on my phone. Let's look at how you should be aiming your brand's content to mobile.
Lesson #1. Learn from applications that have a strong mobile presence and focus on usability. Feedly, a free service that makes RSS feeds and Google Reader beautiful, has just redesigned its iOS and Android look - and it's so user-friendly, it's addictive. Pinterest and Instagram break down information into screen-sized bits. Browsing through images, and liking and saving them for later is a breeze on Tumblr, as is the critical action step of clicking back to the brand's home website. Think about how your content and your brand will look on these platforms.
Lesson #2. Your video needs good audio. If people are looking at your images on a small screen while waiting on line, the video needs detailed, compelling and nuanced audio. Why? Audio makes people really see the images. It makes the images jump out on the small screen. Give viewers a complete experience and they will like you more.
Lesson #3. Keep your blogs in the 300-700 word range to minimize scrolling. You can word count this blog to see if I've followed my own advice. Sometimes I do.
Lesson #4. Expand what's visual about your brand. Photographs, graphics, infographics, animations, screen grabs, text and title treatments all create eye candy. Yes, this media can be tiny on a phone, but your viewer can always click through to your website and bookmark the image for viewing later.
Lesson #5. Did you read Lesson #4 to the end? Be sure that you provide a link back to your site. Users bookmark on their phones using Instapaper, Evernote and similar applications.
Lesson #6. Use email. Remember email, that ancient communication mode that people say is nearly dead? It isn't dead. Pinterest sends me a weekly email reminding me of all the great stuff on Pinterest. It's a way to bring me back to Pinterest every time it hits my inbox. Connecting with people using a mailing list is still one of the best ways to build loyalty.
Test every mobile platform you can, see where engagement occurs, focus there, and be sure that you are getting viewers back to your home website. And if you have a Blackberry, enjoy it while you can. You can still use it to send email.
PHOTO CREDIT: Giorgio Montersino via Creative Commons License.