Mobile marketing lessons from the Nest Labs success story

Nest Labs meteoric rise to $3.2bn acquisition by Google in three years has been powered by three principles you can apply to your mobile marketing.

Nest Labs is a Silicon Valley based disruptor dedicated to ‘transforming people’s lives’ with connected devices for the home that are both rational and emotional.

Founded by Tony Faddell, ex-Apple iPod lead inventor, Nest has been acquired by Google for $3.2bn. It has launched two products to date: the Next Learning thermostat and Nest Protect smoke alarm.

The smoke detector has to be one of the most ugly, unloved, annoying (but important) household devices we have around us. And Nest reinvented it…

The Nest Protect is a smart smoke detector and the principles of its design, user interface and concept speaks to three key best practices in Mobile development.

It’s a case study in considered care and empathy. They’ve produced a wonderful, differentiated product in a commoditized market that justifies its price premium.

1. Have a clear vision from the outset 

Nest Labs set out to make the world a better place. The company focuses on ‘delighting customers with simple, beautiful and thoughtful hardware, software and services’. 

They hooked into a clear and powerful trend: the Internet of Things. And they packaged it all up to serve fundamental human needs such as saving money or making you safer.

Nest Labs has a strong brand and business identity. It knows where it is heading and has a clear, positive mission that is easy to buy into. 

Mobile strategy is moving up the agenda from channel consideration to hot topic in the boardroom. With mobile, it is imperative to define a clear goal upfront, and understand the human context of how your consumers will interact with your products, services and communications through the mobile device.

Having an appropriate mobile roadmap that everyone understands and buys into is paramount.

2. Don’t be annoying 

Nest Protect is safe because it’s not annoying. For example, it is simple to set up and control via iOS, Android Apps or web. Nest will send a message to your smartphone if the alarm goes off or the batteries need replacing.

If your toast is burning and there is no emergency you can switch off the noise by gesturing. After you turn out the light, it tells you the battery is good for the night with a quick green glow. 

Mobile experiences are often too heavy and slow, or you are faced with buttons that are too big, or interrupted with ads that ask you to download an App you already have – the list is long for potential mobile pitfalls.

Think about how you can ask your mobile consumer to do less, not more. In fact, be your consumer and see what your mobile experience is like for yourself. If all you want to do is find a phone number, how quickly can you do it? 

3. Care more than your competitors

An example of Nest’s care and empathy is evident with the choice of audio. Nest believes that voice communication boosts safety. Children are more likely to sleep through a standard alarm than a human voice.

Beeping alarms at night due to low battery encourage you to simply take the battery out. Great care was taken with the choice of script and the voice for the alarm: a female voice projected better through the tiny speakers.

The US version uses a 37-year-old mother of a toddler, and the maternal characteristic shines through. ‘There is smoke in the bedroom’ spoken with reassurance and authority, better than annoying chirps. 

A brand can use mobile to differentiate by focusing on the experience and behaving with care and empathy.

Do your due diligence: from device QA, to user testing, to voice over artist — if you strive to exceed expectations and take care over the critical decisions you will create something amazing that sets you apart from pack. 

Last word

With mobile marketing, there is no smoke without fire… Listen to your customers and build it better.

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Mobile marketing lessons from the Nest Labs success story

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