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Budweiser, Discover tie context to commerce

NEW YORK – Budweiser and Discover executives at the ad:tech New York conference discussed how their brands reach consumers at the point of sale using contextual experiences, which may include digital interactivity and social conversations.

The executives’ “Contextual Commerce” panel discussion looked at a variety of ways to include powerful context in mobile marketing efforts, including social commerce. Admitting a point where

“Although this year’s super bowl commercial was highly successful on YouTube, our sales were down 5 percent in January,” said Anson Frericks, senior director of brand activation at Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis. “That’s because we were not engaging with the consumer during the point of sale.”

Win some, lose some
Anheuser-Busch maintains a frequent mobile strategy.

Most recently, Budweiser’s interactive beer tap handles that flash and display messages to mark sports highlights are going into 8,000 bars nationwide, with social media integration in the works to drive mobile engagement.

In result of collaboration between Anheuser-Busch, Sprint and Mesh Systems, the flashing tap handles have been used in a select group of bars and restaurants to celebrate touchdowns and home runs. The goal is to also integrate social media to deepen fan engagement via mobile phones (see story).

For this year’s Super Bowl commercial, Budweiser featured a Clydesdale and Golden Labrador puppy, which garnered more than 52 million views on YouTube. Despite that success and attention received, the beer brewer lost in sales. In January, sales were actually down by 5 percent.

This loss taught Anheuser-Busch a valuable lesson, including the need to reach the consumer during the point of sale. When Budweiser fans watch the Super Bowl, they have most likely already purchased their beverages, causing the Clydesdale commercial to be a late arrival.

In response, Budweiser has worked with software platform Aerva, which has developed interactive coolers that greet customers during their in-store experience, where purchases are being made.

Two-way conversation
Discover aims to stay top of mind and wallet by engaging with consumers on social. By joining conversations that are already in progress, Discover creates content based on trends and is therefore able to stay relevant.

The brand also believes sticking to just a few platforms is better strategy than spreading a thin presence across many platforms. Discover is present on YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, and does not find value in Instagram.

Most recently, Discover has combined its former site and Discover Extras to launch Discover Deals, accessible on mobile Web and the Discover mobile application, to streamline the location of coupons and offers.

Combining more than 150 deals from top brands and retailers, Cashback Bonus card members are among the larger consumer base looking for the best deals to snatch for holiday gifts. By putting these deals in one virtual location, users can find these more easily and are more likely to remember to use them (see story).

Visuals provoke sales
Also in the panel discussion, Ms. Deb Berman from Curalate spoke on visualization, particularly its collaboration with Nordstrom.

In the latest example of how social commerce is quickly gaining steam, Target and Nordstrom are betting the enthusiasm of Instagram users will translate to sales by making it easy to purchase products on display on the retailers’ social network profiles.

Consumers have been known to spend hours scouring Instagram for images of the exact product they want. Now, these users will be able to purchase items from brands participating in the program with just a few clicks (see story).

Ms. Berman also referenced Lucky Brand’s use of user-generated content on its Web site that allows the brand to save money on models and photo shoots by using this content to showcase its products. Those images can be shopped directly and please consumers by featuring them directly on their site.

“Our efforts with Nordstrom led to more clicking through these images, more time spent on site, clicks through the Web site and more pages viewed,” said Deb Berman, senior vice president of brand strategy at Curalate, New York.

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York