Earlier this year, snackfoods company Mondelēz brought its Mobile Futures program to Australia.
The idea was to provide five startups with an opportunity to pilot their technology with a major corporation, and to give Mondelēz staff some exposure to the work environment at startups in the hope of promoting 'intrapreneurship.'
After initial shortlisting and a pitch day, Mondelēz paired five of its brands with startups: Cadbury Dairy Milk and Snaploader, Marvellous Creations and MyShout, Philadelphia and Issue, belVita and Proximiti, and Cadbury Favourites and SkyFii.
Cadbury Daily Milk and Snaploader (which does image recognition and augmented reality apps) ran a pilot competition ("win your height in chocolate") in November with in-store activation in 20 Victorian Woolworths stores and a Facebook campaign. The app included 12 examples of augmented reality triggered by different Cadbury blocks, according to Snaploader sales director Vernon Williams, along with access to a range of recipes using Cadbury chocolate. The app was downloaded more than 1,600 times, said Cadbury Dairy Milk brand manager Stephanie Ringwood, which she called "a great result for Snaploader."
Cadbury Favourites and SkyFii collaborated on the use of Wi-Fi technology to help understand consumers and engage with them in real time via mobile, recognising that Favourites are typically purchased as a last minute item. (That sounds like 'impulse buying' to us.)
Cadbury Favourites senior brand manager Jessica Finer described the click-through rates of over 20% as "quite high" and the 10-16% in-store conversions as "encouraging." She said the next phase will be to determine how much information can be extracted from this type of campaign. SkyFii is also discussing the potential of its technology with Cadbury teams in South East Asia.
Mondelēz's Philadelphia cream cheese brand staff worked with Issue to create mini-magazines for mobile devices. The first issue was launched just 23 days after the project began, and reached more than 75,000 consumers in three weeks. Content included 'shoppable stories' - presumably recipes using Philly. Philadelphia cream cheese senior brand manager Bianca Melky said the two issues of the magazine provided "genuine utility for consumers."
"Don't underestimate the value of great content," she said, but added that one of the lessons learned from the pilot was the importance of timeliness. The first issue tied in with Fathers' Day, but the second had a more general theme of 'spring entertaining' and that proved to be less of a hook.
Issue founder Taylor Luk pointed out a decision to simplify the analytics side for Mondelēz: "we were tracking too much" for them to make sense of the dashboard, so certain activities were combined for display.
belVita Breakfast Biscuits experimented with Proximiti's location-based services platform for content personalisation, geo-targeting, and the use of geo-analytics to learn more about consumer behaviour. An October pilot offering free coffee and belVita to commuters near Melbourne's Flinders Street Station recorded an impressive 43% redemption rate. Other geo-targeted offers achieved click-through rates of 32%. The next steps are likely to involve larger scale offers through retailer partnerships and major publishers.
belVita brand manager Tony Nguyen described the engagement with Proximiti as "energising." It exposed him to different ways of working, particularly the idea of rapid iteration as opposed to trying to perfect a product before releasing it to customers.
Proximiti CEO Alex Topaloski likened the project to "a 90-day job interview," and said every deployment results in a 10-15% improvement to the product. Mobile Futures was his company's first opportunity to work with a consumer packaged goods company.
The partnership between Cadbury Marvellous Creations and MyShout is perhaps the easiest to appreciate. MyShout provides a mechanism for people to treat their friends to food or beverages at participating cafes, bars and restaurants. It's not a huge stretch to apply this to product sampling.
Marvellous Creations brand manager Richard Weisinger said he quickly saw the relevance of MyShout to his brand. One of the issues he faces is product comprehension, and MyShout helps consumers to try it for themselves.
Marvellous Creations' pilot with MyShout in the Sydney CBD achieved an above-target click through and overall 11.7% claim rate. Mobile coupon redemption is seen as being more demographically targetable and more cost-efficient than other methods of providing samples. The company is also investigating the possibility of using MyShout to allow people to treat their friends or colleagues to chocolate.
Mondelēz head of marketing services Anthony Ho (pictured) said "we've got some great results." Although these were only pilots, he said some had achieved very high conversion rates compared with traditional campaigns. "We're really proud of the results."
And Mondelēz snacking Australia managing director Amanda Banfield (pictured) said "we're delighted with the success of the program."
"We've made that first step" and one of the tasks ahead is "embedding a different way of thinking" into the company's processes.
Banfield added that she was "excited about the possibilities this way of working opens up."