Moving nearer to an NFC world
Near Field Communication (NFC) is a technology that makes it possible for NFC-enabled smartphones, tablets and other devices to establish radio communication with unpowered NFC chips. It is embedded in anything from credit card terminals to posters – simply by touching them together or bringing them into close proximity.
The most commonly used NFC applications to date have been contactless credit cards, ticketing systems such as the Oyster card in London, and access cards for office buildings, libraries and universities. However, as adoption of the technology grows, endless marketing applications are being made possible by NFC too.
Early adopters have embraced NFC in marketing campaigns primarily aimed at building brand awareness and growing consumer engagement. In 2013, Diageo launched a UK-wide campaign that saw Guinness pumps fitted with NFC technology that allowed people to tap their NFC-enabled device against the Guinness harp logo to stand a chance to win a free pint. In the USA in spring 2014, a Bertolli Olive Oil campaign enabled shoppers to touch their NFC-enabled phones to specially tagged shelf signage to instantly download a recipe. Also this spring, a Birmingham-based shopping centre is piloting a service that allows shoppers to access discounts and promotions by tapping their devices against NFC-enabled posters displayed in store windows.
The technology is becoming more and more widespread in marketing circles, with out-of-home advertising specialist Clear Channel Outdoor set to introduce its Connect mobile advertising platform to 75,000 out-of-home advertising sites in 23 countries, enabling consumers to interact with brands using NFC tags or QR codes.
As consumers become more familiar with NFC technology and the number of NFC-enabled devices in use increases, the use of NFC in marketing will only continue to grow. A large number of Android and BlackBerry smartphones and tablet devices are already NFC-enabled, and with growing speculation that the soon-to-be-launched Apple iPhone 6 will include NFC technology, people using NFC-enabled devices will soon be in the majority.
As a result, NFC presents a significant opportunity for marketers. One of the reasons for its growing popularity with marketers is that it is a non-invasive ‘opt-in’ platform in that the user needs to deliberately tap or swipe the tag. This gives consumers control over where and when they interact with a brand, thus making engagements more valuable.
In addition, not only does the communications platform facilitate instant and direct engagement with customers, but by integrating analytics it also makes it possible to collect consumer insights and track behaviour.
Indeed, one of the main criticisms to date of the use of NFC for marketing applications has been around the measurability of ROI. However, when analytics are used correctly, marketers can gain insight into the demographic, location and behaviour of the user, enabling them to tailor future campaigns.
This is something we have been fine-tuning at Signbox for a number of years, collaborating with NFC specialists Proxama to develop consumer-facing smart poster campaigns for leading brands and retailers. Marrying Enlighten, our stylish eye-catching backlit NFC-enabled smart posters, with Proxama’s award-winning NFC marketing technology TapPoint, we are able to create, manage, deploy and, importantly, analyse consumer interactions to establish which locations and creative treatments work best. This enables us to create powerful data-driven campaigns for marketers that deliver eye-catching interactive promotional displays that feed back valuable consumer data to our clients – providing a tangible ROI.
We also have our ultra-flexible NFC-enabled Smartsticker product, a repositionable yet durable self-adhesive polyester film that can be applied to any glass or acrylic surface. Appealing to a wide range of sectors including property, leisure and transport, businesses will be able to print any message, graphic or image onto a 100m (4”) sticker and make key Point-of-Sale (POS)/information points interactive. This allows consumers to retrieve information via their NFC-enabled smartphone, such as a digital brochure, a restaurant menu and bus timetable, at any time, effectively enabling businesses to stay ‘open’ 24 hours a day.
Brands recognise that consumers like to interact with their environment on their own terms, and NFC is helping to facilitate that. To find out more about the role that NFC should be playing in your marketing and communications strategies, please visit our brand new website www.signbox.co.uk and the dedicated platform http://signbox.co.uk/display/smart-poster, and get in touch today.