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Rory Sutherland on Mobile

March 17, 2009

Rory Sutherland is a man who is synonymous throughout the advertising world. As Executive Creative Director and Vice Chairman of the Ogilvy Group UK, his opinion is well respected and absorbed. So imagine my delight to see his latest universal support and emphasis placed on investing in mobile. At an event aimed at Brands and agencies, Andrew Grill collated the following information using good old Twitter.

  • Mobile was initially seen as a portable version of the internet. Rory first used the internet in 1987
  • Rory was converted to mobile when phone screens became better
  • He believes mobile needs a large enough screen to see 5 options to choose from and not 2
  • Taking apps to the front page on iPhone has helped adoption
  • Kodak snow insider application from Ogilvy – they expected 10K downloads and experienced 160K
  • Key learning is the upside from mobile is big and can’t be ignored
  • He sees a shift from entertainment to communication – branded utility for mobile is becoming more interesting (ie not an iPint application – use only once), but a branded apps you would use every day – eg train timetables)
  • Useful apps like will be more successful rather than entertaining.  Utility is more important
  • Traditional advertising people think you have change what people do to have them consume and purchase – but Rory believes that to change what people do, you have to change what they think… changing behaviour is the best way to change attitude
  • Users become impatient on mobile. On the web things just happen. When out and about you just want it to happen now
  • A typical 17 year old comment is “the problem with McDonalds is it is too slow – you need to queue” (this is a gen Y view of the world)
  • Mobile may be a more important medium than web > you don’t have to get out of chair to use it
  • Surveys by the Cancer Council show that young people are more generous when donating by text – if  you make it easier the negative perceptions fade away
  • One of the key points of Rory’s talk was that the interface determines the audience 
  • The nature of the interface determines the choice of the interaction
  • The interface choice comes first before brand choice eg you will see 14 people in a drive-thru but none inside the McDonalds restaurant – they choose the interface before what they will eat
  • Low cost booking online is now seen as an intelligent way of interacting with a brand 
  • Another great soundbite was  “the mobile is the 1st port of call so you have to be there
  • Mobile can be used as a pre-emptive strike with consumers
  • Great example of user interaction via mobile – allows customers to submit feedback on user experience via mobile with a live dashboard for brand owners. This has lead to better and more useful comments
  • Twitter is an excellent way to see what people think of your brand – go to and put your brand name in – what are they saying about you? You can use this as a real time brand monitor for free
  • Killer soundbite “comparing twitter to email is like comparing a postcard to a letter
  • Google turned a target audience into a target moment – identify audience at the moment they are interested via the mobile
  • Many in marketing are in love with the persuasion model not the behaviour model. We need to make transacting easy in the mode the customer wants
  • With mobile – the approach to risk is less of an issue – spend £50K on mobile not the same amount on the TV market research as part of a £3M spend. The research is seen as “loss avoidance”
  • The research methodology is very different for mobile, and the potential upside is HUGE
  • The strange thing is that inexpensive things eg £50K on mobile vs £3M TV – it seems to be harder to justify a spend like £50K because this is something we can visualise.  A £3M spend seems so large it must be right.  With mobile £50K is a big spend that will get you a big return
  • Rory’s final thought – dandelions – if they die who cares. Try it out – it is not about spending £3M on TV – experiment with mobile NOW  
  • For a man of Sutherlands stature to so avidly support mobile, it has contributed significantly to reassure me that not only am I pursuing the right career path, but I am doing the right thing in encouraging others to pursue and understand mobile.

    You can see the full original blog post and event info at Andrew Grills superb blog in my links as ‘London Calling’.

    One Comment leave one →
    1. JingYi Yuan permalink
      March 24, 2009 9:36 am

      Here is an interesting link about the culture, communication, creative! Have a look! You will like it : )

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