Wearable technology, from your grandfather's watch to Google Glass, is here to stay. Brands have already begun experimenting with ways to play into the development of these devices, particularly those with screens – though I have to give props to Disney for the Mickey Mouse wristwatch trend of my youth.
Here are five smart ways you and your brand can enter the wearable world. Hint: no pop-up ads.
1. BYO – build your own
Well, this is basically the Mickey Mouse watch. Wearable tech is heading into a heyday, and if you can think of a spectacular idea that meets your brand strategy, go for it. Perhaps it's a wearable virtual pet for your pet brand. Perhaps it's modifying your phone product so it can be worn in an unusual way. This solution will only work for brands with a solid idea, and is likely to be short-lived, even if successful.
Despite what many of the outspoken Glass Explorers have to say, wearing Google Glass is not a religious or even addictive experience. No one who I can find or imagine wants to sit around all day and read his or her Glass screen. Its strength is in its seamless integration into your activities. It goes with you. You forget you're wearing it. It gives you relevant information about traffic and weather and things near you via Google Now. It takes a picture for you when your hands are full. One day, it will even offer you suggestions based on the things you see and hear.
But will it also be chock-full of ads? I don't think so. Here's why:
As technology has evolved, immediacy has been one of the most prominent indicators of advancement. Once, we had to dig through a catalog to find the right microfiche. Then one day, we could search the library database on a computer. Not long after that, the Internet and Google became our information-finding utilities — utilities that became so essential, we needed to have them with us at all times in our homes and even in our pockets. Throughout these iterations, ways for brands to take advantage of the space in front of consumers' eyes has had a rise and a fall. Many don't recognize the fall, but don't you find you are more irritated by advertising on your phone than on your computer? It's because the phone is a more immediate device. You have it with you because you need information or to communicate quickly, immediately, and you don't want to be interrupted by a banner ad or a preview for next summer's blockbuster.
At present, wearable gadgets such as Google Glass and the Nike+ Fuelband are generally classed in two categories, but those categories are about to change. Right now, the buckets are phone-like devices, such as Google Glass and Galaxy Gear, and self-tracking (or “quantified self”) devices such as the Nike+ Fuelband, Fitbit, and Up by Jawbone. The rumored Apple iWatch could be the first device to bridge this gap by tracking your steps and calling your assistant, as could whatever Microsoft is secretly, but definitely, building behind closed doors.
However, before long, the divide will inevitably lie between head-worn and body-worn technologies — and I say “body-worn” because we'll have options for our wrists, our ankles, our fingertips, and even inside various parts of our bodies if we choose.
Both head-worn and body-worn devices will be able to integrate phone-like capabilities and self-tracking. Body-worn, or body-implanted, devices will be able to track, to communicate, and to control. Think about wearing a Nintendo Power Glove to control Mario. Drawing a circle in the air with your fingertip could one day wake up your computer, for example. The Leap Motion 3D Controller is already making huge strides in this direction with an external sensor, and wearable technology is a natural complement.
We all love being recognized for our work, but when our founder and president Doug Spong managed to get inducted into the PRSA College of Fellows and win the Gold Anvil for lifetime achievement in public relations in the same year, we were pretty darn proud. And as he heads to the International PRSA Conference to receive his award hardware, we wanted to celebrate just how lucky we are to work with him.
As our congratulations to Doug, we’re sharing some of our favorite Dougisms and memories. We celebrate you, Doug! Enjoy the ceremonies this weekend, and double congratulations!
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