Tech: Nike rediscovers its leadership position with FuelBands
The proliferation of Nike FuelBands at the recent SXSW festival is an indication that the brand is once again leading the way on innovation. John V Willshere outlines the strategy behind the product.
Nike FuelBands: the talk of SXSW this year
For the past few days, I've enjoyed seeing pictures of folks I know bouncing around the technology festival South By South West (SXSW) with a glowing wristband on the end of their arm.
Yet despite SXSW's reputation as an event where the party is becoming more important than the technology, this wasn't some retro glow stick shindig. Nike chose to bring its hard-to-get FuelBands to an event that's now a fixture on marketers' calendars.
It's the flagship product of Nike Fuel (the next generation of Nike+). By wearing the FuelBand, people can see how active they are and set daily goals, all measured in 'Fuel', a sort of universal currency.
Inside the FuelBand is an accelerometer that measures how much you are moving, and how much energy you're expending to do it. It syncs with your iPhone, but for more instant, visceral feedback, 100 LEDs light up in the rubber surface of the wristband, displaying data and goals at the touch of a button.
Nike is not the first to create this type of device, but FuelBand may well be the only variant many people will ever see. Why? Because it's not just a matter of units sold; once again, Nike has developed something that it is as much about marketing as it is product.
Nike has been using technology to fuse product and marketing for years. For instance, NIKEiD, a platform that enables users to design their own trainers, launched in 1999. Other trainer brands are still trying to catch up.
Then there is the original Nike+ system, first launched in 2006; it's still the go-to example of 'product as marketing'.
The point is that whether you've used or bought any of these products, you will definitely have heard about them. Nike's technological wonders tell a story not just of what it is now, but what it will be in the future. If you want to join Nike on that journey, the technology can be yours.
Well, for a price, of course. The FuelBand will sell at £139 when it arrives in the UK this May.
John V Willshere is the founder of Smithery, an innovation works for marketing and product development. Follow him on Twitter @willsh or at smithery.co/blog
NEED TO KNOW
Three trends of which savvy marketers must be aware:
The rise of the 'appcessory'
Branded phone apps have tended to disappear inside the phone. Creating physical products that use the phone as a link to the internet allows brands to start embodying their ideas and values in a 'real world' object. It's an expensive game, however. Fashion brands could have a field day; FMCGs less so.
Not seen on screen
Not everything needs to be screen-based in the future. Hiding displays in a product's surfaces offers a delightful, robust way for data to come to life at the user's request. We could soon be viewing weather reports in brolly handles, or carrying suitcases that tell you how heavy they are. It's a great opportunity for brands to add more utility to the experience.
Movers and shakers
Movement is a tricky thing to capture with words and pictures, so devices such as the Nike FuelBand can tap into the moments when people are using a brand's products. I blush slightly as I suggest it, but think of the field day a brand such as Durex could have with accelerometers ...
This article was first published on marketingmagazine.co.uk
Latest jobs Jobs web feed
- Account Director- Exciting Online Content Marketing Company- Up to £70,000 plus OTE Cedar Scott Up to £70,000 basic (up to £90,000 OTE) plus share options, Central London
- Category Manager Pearson Competitive salary & performance related bonus & benefits, Central London
- Global Product Manager Evans Taylor c£50k - c£60k p.a. plus car, bonus and benefits, North East of England or Central London
- Retail Marketing Manager - Maternity Cover Tottenham Hotspur Football Club Up to £35,000 pro-rata, Tottenham and Enfield
- Brand Manager Radisson Blu Edwardian, London Competitive , South Kensington, London
- ACCOUNT DIRECTOR/SENIOR ACCOUNT DIRECTOR - BTL/SP/Brand Experience - London - £45 - £55k plus bonus Judi Patton £45K-55K plus bonus, London/Greater London
Integrated digital marketing offers huge opportunities to engage, servic...
Mobile marketing is coming of age, and the pace of change is now exponen...
With UK consumers spending an average of £1,083 a year online, int...
Conversational Mobile Marketing: Engage Customers and Empower Advocates (Expert Reports) External website
The pressure is on for marketers and mobile operators to embrace a strat...
As a nation, the UK is media and technology obsessed with over half of t...
All customers have the potential to become your brand advocates, driving...