I feel like I’ve always been a little behind in the “technology” trends…by behind I mean, I’ve never really used DVR or got into to the 3D (is it 4D now?) hype. I thought I could stay up to date when mobile apps became the hot thing. It didn’t require purchasing a new device or buying something too out of the ordinary. I stayed current with the all of the apps – Gmail, Instagram, and even WordsWithFriends! Then, wearable tech became a thing, and I found myself off-trend and even worse, not interested.
Did I really need something on my wrist vibrating every two seconds? Couldn’t I just check my phone? Then I moved to NYC and began walking everywhere and realized Fitbit could be a fun way to track how many steps I take. That was it, my sole intent was to count steps. This was far from my days of playing scrabble with my friends via the WordsWithFriends app. I didn’t need my steps to become a social thing, it was just for me. But with the Fitbit came the app, and with the app, came the socialization aspect of sharing and competing with the number of steps. It became so much more than just a pedometer as I used it more and it got more popular. Suddenly, wearable tech became more than a watch…it’s become shirts, shoes, and anything else. Since Fitbit’s entrance in the marketplace, brands have been investing in this type of technology- because why not? Mobile isn’t enough. You need a presence literally on the person’s body to track their heart rate, their location, their speed, their steps. But more importantly, consumers want this to be tracked and invest in this.
It’s a smart business to be in. In the 2 years I’ve had my Fibit, I’ve gradually used it for more than just step-counting; I compete with friends, I track my running, I enter in my water information and have also started using their fitness section. See my app screenshots below (yes, this is a humble brag). It’s innovative because it’s connecting related things at once and in one place – if I’m counting my steps then why not also track my water intake?
It’s a space where brands can clearly own a part of an app that its users are passionate about. Poland Spring or Fiji should own the water monitoring in this Fitbit app. Imagine if their branding alerted me when I haven’t had my 8 cups of water for the day. Which water brand would I choose after repeated exposure next time I’m in the store? Definitely the one that’s on my Fitbit app. It’s just another way brands can connect with consumers.
I find this different than the advertising on these apps – there are no banner ads (yet) on my Fitbit app. I also think I’d be very annoyed with banner ads in this app since I check it quite frequently in the day. Beyond water brands, healthcare brands have the opportunity to own the heart monitoring. Athletic brand icons like Nike or Under Armor could own the running portion. There is lot of opportunity for these brands to embed themselves in the wearable tech in a nonintrusive way. The minute ads pop up on my Fitbit app is when I stop using the app and watch, which I acknowledge is terrible to say as a marketer. As I admitted earlier, I’m behind on the technology so it may be a while before I invest in a “smart jacket” or Google Glass but I anticipate brands can make an impact in these technologies as well.