5 Ways Brands Are Using Wearables to Create Unique Marketing Moments

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Apple Inc. Reveals Bigger-Screen iPhones Alongside Wearables

Wearables represent the final frontier in hyperlocal marketing, providing brand marketers with the type of relevant, real-time information necessary to produce highly-targeted digital campaigns. From fitness trackers, like Fitbit and Jawbone, to smartwatches, by Apple, Samsung, and others, wearables are being worn almost continuously by consumers, and they’re seamlessly collecting data on whereabouts and personal routines.

More than 250 million wearables are predicted to be in use by 2018, and more than half of consumers who use wearables (56%) say they wear their devices every day. This presents an incredible opportunity for marketers looking to reach consumers not just based on their locations, but also based on their activity levels and personal interests.

Here are five examples of strategies that brand marketers have used.

1. Trident: Rewarding consumers for sharing health data
In an effort to encourage people who use fitness trackers to share more of the data being collected by their devices, the chewing gum brand Trident launched a holiday marketing campaign last year. Working together with Strap, a mobile health data startup, Koupon Media, a mobile coupon app, and Kum & Go, a convenience store chain, Trident “rewarded” consumers for sharing wearables data—including step counts, calorie counts, and sleep information—with exclusive deals, which were executed by Koupon. As one example, consumers could be rewarded with free packs of Trident gum each time they met their daily step goals, or each time they got eight full hours of sleep.

2. Nivea: Using wearables to connect print and mobile ads
Nivea helped to shape the way marketers think of wearable technology with its innovative campaign to promote children’s sunscreen two years ago. The personal care brand developed print ads with tear-out bracelets that included GPS chips. The ads instructed parents to download a mobile app to track the whereabouts of the bracelets. Parents could set a perimeter that the child should stay inside. If the child strayed outside this perimeter while wearing the bracelet—such as, while playing the beach—then an alarm would sound on the parent’s phone. The campaign kept Nivea top-of-mind for parents, and it also gave consumers an additional reason to downloade the company’s mobile app.

3. Esurance: Engaging consumers with custom wearables
Esurance is another company that offered digital wristbands as a means of promotion. The direct-to-consumer insurance company offered attendees at the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival digital wristbands that could capture and store lists of all the food they tasted during the event. The data that consumers collected via their wristbands, along with recipes, cooking tips, and discounts, could then be accessed by logging on to a “Digital Memory Bank” on Esurance’s own website. Esurance’s campaign offers a good lesson in how brands can create real value in the marketing experiences they create.

4. Lufthansa: Putting boarding passes on Apple Watch screens
With a keen understanding of the role that smartwatches are playing in consumers’ daily lives, the international airline Lufthansa launched an Apple Watch app last year that allows fliers to display boarding passes on their wrists. The free app connects to Lufthansa’s other mobile apps on iPhones and iPads via Bluetooth. It also reminds passengers about upcoming flights, provides status updates, and displays boarding times on the smartwatch screen. By initially making the Apple Watch app available exclusively to high-status customers, Lufthansa was able to create additional demand for its Miles & More frequent flier program, as well.

5. GlaxoSmithKline: Notifying asthma sufferers of environmental dangers
The British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline has developed a mobile app for asthma sufferers that sends push notifications to users’ smartwatches when they may want to take precautions because of the nearby environment dangers. For example, an asthma sufferer with an Apple Watch might receive a push notification if he is traveling to a city where the pollen count is high. Sending push notifications to smartwatches, rather than just smartphones and tablets, ensures that consumers receive the information they need as quickly as possible.

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.