Creating a mobile bond with customers
Smartphones have become such a vital part of our daily lives that they have created an emotional bond between consumer and brand. Psychology Today says that "a brand is nothing more than a mental representation of a product in the consumer's mind," and the smartphone plays a huge role in molding that mental representation.
When evaluating brands, consumers primarily use personal feelings and experiences rather than brand facts. (Psychology Today) So how is it that smartphones so strongly influence those feelings? What are the factors driving the emotional bond between customer and brand?
(Note: When talking about smartphone ownership, put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Let's face it - "brands" are people, too, and we all own smartphones!)
1. Personal attachment: Our mobile phone is always within arm's reach; we even take our smartphone with us into the bathroom. They are the first thing we reach for in the morning (thanks to the handy alarm app) and the last thing we check before going to sleep.
Also, even though we can use our smartphone anywhere, anytime, the most common place to use it is in the comfort of our favorite couch, strengthening that emotional tie.
2. Social connection: The peer influence that social media brings to the shopping experience is magnified through mobile. We "check in" when we enter a store, we share snap shots of items we're considering to buy, or we ask our friends on social media for recommendations. These activities are habitual, which leads to purchasing behaviors that are habitual.
3. Intellectual link: Nothing is left a mystery anymore. We literally ask our phones to find answers to trivial questions. We consult our phones to learn about the latest ailment in our bodies. We depend on our mobile devices to show us a list of stores who sell gluten-free bread. We would actually be lost if not for our smartphones guiding us through unfamiliar streets. This cognitive link creates in us a reliance on our mobile phone not unlike the expectation we placed in our parents to know all the answers.
4. Impulse addiction: There's nothing like the thrill of buying something on-the-spot. The rush we get from being in the moment and tapping the "buy" button can be addictive. Psychologists consider this behavior as a legitimate disorder on the impulse-control continuum, a condition greatly influenced by the anytime, anywhere smartphone.
These factors contribute to the affection we have for our smartphones, which in turn makes possible an emotional bond that can be forged between a brand and its customers - if the brand delivers mobile experiences that are contextual, relevant and personalised, responding to each customer's needs and desires in the moment.