Starbucks Launches An iMessage App That Let You Text Friends Gift Cards

What Happened
Starbucks is bringing gifting into your text messages with an updated iOS app released on Tuesday. The Seattle-based global coffee chain added a new “Starbucks Gifts” iMessage applet to its mobile app, allowing users send digital gift cards through Apple’s iMessage and pay for them using Apple Pay. Users can choose from a selection of images that fits the occasions and customize the gifted value for the gift card before completing the purchase with Apple Pay. Then the customized gift card is ready to be sent via iMessage.

In addition, the updated Starbucks app come with a few other improvements, such as enhanced push notifications, a revamped mobile order and pay user experience, and a store locator with new filtering options.

What Brands Need To Do
Previously, early-adopting brands like Dunkin’ Donuts and Coach have also developed iMessage app to expand the reach of their mobile apps into texting, but none has bothered to integrate with Apple Pay for a smooth, frictionless user experience like Starbucks is doing now. The payment integration makes it easy and convenient for users to generate gift cards, while he integration with iMessage. creates a more intimate user experience that lends a personal touch to the gifting process. Together, they make for a great branded gifting experience that helps recruit more customers to use its mobile app and elevates Starbucks’ brand equity, Therefore, brands looking to stay connected with mobile customers should take a cue and develop similar initiatives to explore messaging and conversational environments.


Source: 9to5 Mac

Dunkin’ Donuts Plans Valentine’s Day Campaign Via Social & Messaging Channels

What Happened
Dunkin’ Donuts is going all out in the name of love with a multi-channel Valentine’s Day campaign that will run across Instagram, iMessage, Facebook Live, and Snapchat. Besides the conventional social marketing tactic of hosting a selfie contest on Instagram, the quick-service restaurant chain is also looking to launch an iMessage mini-app, an emoji keyboard on its app, two Snapchat geofilters, and a Facebook Live music performance by Us The Duo on the upcoming V-day.

In particular, the iMessage card builder will allow users to create custom Valentine’s Day cards with a Dunkin’ Donuts themed sticker before sending it via Apple’s default messaging app. Other iMessage users will also be able to respond to the card by making one of their own.

What Brands Need To Do
This campaign showcases how brands need to adopt a multi-channel approach to maximize their reach across the fragmenting social and messaging landscapes. In particular, the iMessage mini-app, which Apple introduced with iOS 10 just last year, provide a valuable way for brands to tap into what is typically considered a dark-social channel that has pretty much been part of Apple’s walled garden. By handpicking the most popular features unique to each social platform – live video on Facebook, selfie contest on Instagram, and Geofilters on Snapchat – Dunkin’ Donuts shows that it truly understand the strength of each platform and how to use them to reach their customers, a smart approach that more brands can benefit from.


Source: GeoMarketing


Fandango Starts Selling Tickets On Facebook & iMessage, Soon On Snapchat

What Happened
Fandango is embracing the omnichannel approach as it starts to allow users to buy movie tickets on some of the hottest mobile platforms. Over the weekend, the ticket-booking service started allowing U.S. customers to purchase tickets to select movies without leaving their Facebook News Feed. Previously, Fandango had enabled iPhone users to buy movie tickets directly from its iMessage app. And the company says it is working on an interface that allows Snapchat users to buy tickets without leaving the app.

What Brands Need To Do
More and more consumers are growing accustomed to making purchases on their phones, spelling opportunities for brands to sell directly on mobile. Fandango’s strong push into selling movie tickets on these three popular mobile platforms is a smart move that caters to changing consumer behavior and reaches customers in apps they spend the most time in. Therefore, other brands, especially those in retail and entertainment, should take note and consider integrating those social and messaging platforms into their sales channels.


Source: New York Times


Brands Getting Into iMessage With Stickers

What Happened
Today is the official release of Apple’s iOS 10, which brings a plethora of new features to iPhone and iPad users. Among them is the iMessage Store, an addition to Apple’s native messaging app that allows users to download apps, games, and sticker packs to spice up their chat experience. Already, brands such as Burger King, Disney, Toyota, and Betty Boop have created branded stickers available for download in the iMessage Store. Burger King’s stickers, for example, represent different flavors of its chicken fries, whereas Toyota is repurposing its football-themed emojis for iMessage to engage with football fans.

What Brands Need To Do
The arrival of the iMessage Store opens up a new channel for brands to reach smartphone users and for those with well-known IP to natively integrate branded content into texting – arguably the most popular smartphone activity. Although the existing examples are all for branded stickers, the Messenger Store also makes it possible for brands to develop branded mini-games and other apps that enrich the chat experience.

The Lab has extensive experience working with brands to develop campaigns and communications strategies for messaging platforms. The One Direction fan experience we developed for Sony Music on popular messaging app Kik earned a Smarties Award from the Mobile Marketing Association. To learn more about sticker usage and other brand opportunities on messaging apps, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland ([email protected]) to schedule a visit to the Lab.


Source: Digiday

Header image is a promotional image from Apple’s developer site

How Apple Can Use Beats To Beat WhatsApp

Welcome the newest competitor to the battle for messaging app domination: Apple.  This week the company announced a souped up version of iMessage that lifts a number of key features from Snapchat and WhatsApp like ephemeral messaging, and photo, video, and audio sharing.  There are three reasons the new product is unlikely to be a real threat to the big players in the space:

1. You can use the platform to interact with other iPhone users, but you need to use another service to chat with Android and Blackberry friends.

2. There’s no compelling product innovation to lure people away from their current go-to messaging apps.

3. Apple is unlikely to steal market share from Snapchat since the two platforms appeal to different demographics. WhatsApp is a more likely target, but it has a huge head start on Apple that’s hard to overcome.

If Apple really wants to shake up the messaging space, it has one big potential advantage and differentiator– Beats.  Apps like Tango have partnered with Spotify to deliver music clip sharing, and Kik has partnered with One Direction and apps like Rithm to connect with teens and acquire new users.  Music will be a key battleground in this space because people love to share it, and Apple is in the position to create a deeper music sharing experience than the competition with Beats in its arsenal.

No messaging app has corralled the entire music industry yet, but it’s only a matter of time before artist pages on these platforms are as ubiquitous as artist pages on traditional social media. Among messaging app owners, Apple is in the best position to get the music industry to embrace its products– iMessage included– since the industry already depends on iTunes.

Every label and artist wants its record featured in the iTunes app store, and Apple has premiered an impressive number of major records in the last two years including releases from Coldplay, Vampire Weekend, The Black Keys, and The National.  If Apple gives Beats and individual artists a chance to connect with users through iMessage, the music industry could play an active role in bringing its audience to the platform.

For now Apple’s messaging app approach has positioned it as a follower, but with the tools at its disposable it could easily transform into a messaging app leader. It better move fast, though, because the competition already has a serious head start.

Chat Apps Surpass SMS

Messaging apps are proving popular across the globe; indeed, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum recently claimed that his service is bigger than Twitter. And a new study by Informa, on behalf of the Financial Times, concludes that chat apps have overtaken traditional SMS in terms of message volume. By the end of 2012, there were more messages sent via iMessage, BBM, WhatsApp, and Kik when compared with regular texting. Because SMS has been a traditional resource for wireless carriers, this trend has been worrying for these companies. By the same token, however, SMS is still far ahead in overall user count, and Informa expects providers to pull in $120 billion from texting plans this year. Ultimately though, non-text-message output is expected to reach 41 billion per day in 2013, which is double the number of forecasted texts; WhatsApp already reportedly processes 18 billion messages each day alone. Ultimately though, if carriers want to monetize messaging like texts, it remains to be seen if users will stick around.