With smartphones poised to take off, how can brands use downloadable applications to reach consumers, asks Greg Brooks.
Mobile phones have become a true multimedia device, enabling owners not only to make calls but also watch videos, send emails and play games.
In this developing market, agencies are seeking to create a business model that will convince brands that mobile applications can be a cost-effective means of communication. A number of issues, such as the development of an advertising-led approach, are being ironed out. This sort of approach will give brands the power to develop genuine one-to-one relationships.
Publishers, meanwhile, might use the technology to create mini-mobile magazines that could be subscriber-based and updatable.
A number of heavyweight brands are already getting in on the act.
BrandHand is also working with Disney on a prototype application that allows users to play games, interact with film content and use a Visa-verified payment system to buy soft toys. But, typical of the general reluctance to push forward too soon in this market, none of the applications are due to launch soon - despite Disney having its own mobile channel in the US.