Brand managers and marketing experts know that promotions, including in-store demos and consumer competitions, can be highly effective tools to boost brand visibility, win over new customers and increase engagement with existing customers. They can also be powerful tools for use in brand activations.
But anyone who has made even limited use of such promotions will be aware of the potential pitfalls. Keeping track of the staff running them is often a logistical headache. Results can take days, sometimes weeks to compile. After all that, the resulting data can be complex, even confusing.
What if there was a way to manage promotions that retained all the benefits while eliminating the shortcomings?
Durban-based tech firm Always Active Technologies (AAT) believes it has found the answer and, after months of testing, tweaking and refining, it’s distilled that secret sauce into a product – BrandChat.
BrandChat is app-based, which means it can be used on mobile phones. All the data gathered is stored securely on the Cloud.
“We’ve cracked the problem of managing brand promotions. We give all promoters and area managers the ability to accurately and visually report on promotions from their mobile phones,” says Alan Haarhoff, Chief Marketing Officer for AAT.
“Results are delivered significantly faster than traditional promotions, pretty much in real time, allowing for campaigns to be monitored and modified on the fly.”
BrandChat runs on widely available, cross-platform instant messengers like WeChat and Mxit, eliminating the time-consuming and costly process of developing a native app for individual mobile operating systems.
This also gives BrandChat-equipped promoters several advantages over their old school competitors.
Sales data and other reports can be uploaded directly from the site of the promotion.
Area Managers are able to upload pictures and videos showing consumers engaging with the product. This provides proof that the promotion actually took place and gives promoters the ability to provide positive feedback to staff or offer suggestions for improvements.
Further proof of presence at a location is provided through GPS, now a standard feature in even low-end smartphones.
“We are able to geo-code any store, so we can prove physical presence by the supervisor uploading their location through WeChat, and us returning the available store. So no ‘fibbing’ by saying you are at the store when you’re really at the beach,” says Haarhoff.
“This geo-location works even when a GPS signal is not available – on the lowest level of a multi-floor mall, say. That’s because we can get an accurate location through WiFi.”
All of the data gathered is available to the client in real time through a secure website and presented via an attractive, easy to interpret graphical “dashboard” accessible via desktop PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone. For traditionalists, it’s also available in Excel spreadsheet format.
According to Haarhoff, there’s been a keen interest in the new app from companies specialising in brand activations and promotions.
“Savvy marketers quickly grasp the many advantages BrandChat offers over traditional promotions methods. It truly is THE most efficient way to manage brand promotions and activations.”