‘SoLoMo’ isn’t a new concept, but it’s one that an increasing number of luxury brands are embracing.
So what is it, precisely? Well, ‘SoLoMo’ is where social, local and mobile meet – it involves using the power of social networks to deliver local information to consumers on the go via their mobile devices.
Services such FourSquare and Gowalla were pioneers in this field – using the ‘check-in’ on a user’s mobile to fulfil a social function, locating friends and alerting them to the user’s location, and a local benefit in terms of discounts and coupons from participating retailers.
So why is ‘SoLoMo’ attracting the attention of luxury brands? Well, firstly, affluent consumers are over-represented on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Secondly, affluents tend to be early adopters of technology and are more likely to have the latest GPS-enabled mobile device in their pocket. And finally, affluent consumers demand service which is above and beyond the norm. In short, they have the technology to use ‘SoLoMo’ services and the desire to use them if they help to make their lives simpler.
So which luxury brands have launched ‘SoLoMo’ services and what are they offering? We’ve picked out 3 examples of great applications below:
1. Louis Vuitton’s Amble iPhone App
Louis Vuitton is a brand which is about travel, so where better for the brand to be at its consumers’ sides than when exploring a new city.
With its ‘Amble’ app, Louise Vuitton created a means for visitors to access highly relevant, location specific information from destination insiders using their mobile phone.
In the app’s first iteration, users could follow the ‘ambles’ of global celebrities across their favourite cities to unearth insights and tips. The celebrities included Rachel Weisz, Cate Blanchet and Sofia Coppela.
In subsequent releases, the trusted guides became ‘It Boys and Girls’ – city insiders and socialites that affluent visitors could more readily identify with – who offered their own curated tips as the user followed their ‘amble’ throughout the city.
And the social element? Users can also access the tips of LV Friends – other users that have curated their own tips and insights – and upload their own too.
2. Mercedes “Tweet Fleet”
Money can afford the affluent many privileges, but easily finding a parking spot in a busy city isn’t one of them.
The Park Assist feature built into Mercedes cars was designed to do just this –automatically identifying an empty parking space simply by driving past it.
However, Mercedes realised that if Park Assist identified empty parking spots in busy cities, then everyone could benefit. So the tweet fleet was born.
A special fleet of cars was created to drive the streets of Stuttgart at the height of the holiday season. Their Park Assists were modified to ‘tweet’ empty parking spots with GPS locations. Drivers subscribed to the service would be tweeted details of empty parking spaces with a link which connected to a map to show them where that space was.
The ‘Tweet Fleet’, although primarily a promotional vehicle, generated a considerable amount of buzz for Mercedes and some valuable publicity for its in-car Park Assist feature.
3. Four Seasons – The Social Concierge
Four Seasons is a brand associated with exceptional and intuitive service, and their use of Twitter to identify and react to their customer’s needs is a prime example of this.
For example, a comment on Twitter about the poor quality of a Four Season’s Resorts music resulted in an apologetic note from the General Manager, a free bottle of wine and a listing of local radio stations. When a guest complained via Twitter that there was nothing much to watch on TV that night, the concierge pointed out the hotel’s DVD library. And when a guest tweeted about the quality of the bathroom, Four Seasons treated them to a complementary bottle of bath salts so they could fully appreciate the bathtub.
In addition, Four Seasons has embraced the social location service Gowalla to enhance its offering in California. Its Gowalla app offers guests recommendations on sites, restaurants, shopping and ‘hidden gems’ while exploring the region and allows them to earn hotel credits as too.
Although there’s little doubt that luxury brands are starting to realise the potential of ‘SoLoMo’ , fewer than 4% have grasped this particular nettle. For brands that can offer services with genuine utility for their customers, ‘SoLoMo’ offers a prime opportunity to create a point of differentiation, generate some positive buzz and position themselves as genuine innovators.