Brands Get Personal With One-to-One Apps

CPG brands are typically known for their price wars and mass messaging, but the rise of and increasing desire for more intimate one-to-one messaging and anonymous platforms provides these brands with new opportunities to get personal. 

The messaging and ephemeral space has grown significantly over the past year. Most brands have at least had a conversation with their agencies about SnapChat but the landscape is broader than that, and many boast user bases of 300-500MM people. There's Ello, Whisper, Secret, WeChat, Line, Kik, WhatsApp, Tango, Viber, KakaoTalk and, of course, FB messenger.This list may seem daunting but it means brands can therefore pick and choose the best platforms for them. When done especially well, brands can truly differentiate themselves, help create culture and establish a credible and mutually beneficial means of communication. 

So, what is the opportunity and who is doing it well? 

Snapchat — Not just a platform for disappearing nudie selfies, it's also a clever place for couponing! 
An early user of Snapchat, 16 Handles, delivered discounts via disappearing coupons in exchange for connecting in-store. Last summer, GrubHub also used it to provide promo codes to users, and, with Snapchat’s new payment partnership with Square, there could even be a future for a transactional marketplace. Few CPG brands are on Snapchat yet but one that stands out is Sour Patch Kids, which worked with Vine artist Logan Paul to launch their presence, cleverly establishing themselves as the kings of comedy on the platform. 

WeChat — Turning chat into engagement via exclusive content and linking to on-pack promotions.
Oreo encouraged families to play together via their emoji canvas created on the app. They linked to packs in-store, where unique codes unlocked more exclusive emojis and content tapping into the explosive emoji craze. They even linked this digital platform to the physical world and created stations for people to print stickers of their emojis! Results were incredible. In the first five weeks, 25 million emojis were created and 3 million shared, with product growth of 50% and code redemptions worth $1 million in sales.

Whatsapp — Offer customer service and tip content one to one. Hellmann’s mayonnaise teamed up with WhatsApp to create WhatsCook, a service whereby users can chat with a team of chefs offering expert advice on how to cook and prepare meals, sort out cooking problems and provide tips in real time. 

Line — Building awareness and loyalty via stickers. 
Brands can sponsor their famous stickers and many have, ranging from Coke and Pepsi to Clinique. But TV show “The Walking Dead” got creative, releasing zombie stickers prior to its premiere. After every show, they had “On Air” sessions attended by 30,000 fans.
By the end of this year, Line will introduce payments, taxi hailing, and food delivery services, which will accompany new gaming, manga, and music initiatives so the creative possibilities are going to be endless.

Kik — Creating a community of advocates. No CPG brand has yet to really break through here (Aquafina's FlavorSplash created a free IM sticker last year) but One Direction created a roaring success with 1.6MM visits to their exclusive “ID Kik Card.” Fans were able to access exclusive content, connect with other ID fans and purchase the album to unlock even more exclusive content all in one place. With KIK launching keyword-based promotional chats this month exclusively with brands like Funny or Die, KIK is definitely a platform to watch. 

These one-to-one apps, while new and potentially seen as risky to many brands, offer unique opportunities to experiment and to explore a new and never-seen-before way of communicating with a specific group. As shown by these examples, brands need to remember the importance of adding value to these platforms rather than interrupting with ad messages These apps are growing in size and services every day, so now is the time to be brave and seize the chance to be the stand-out brand in these spaces.

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