Top Smartphones and Apps of 2011 Holiday Season

When looking at what type of smartphone you should purchase, there seems to be so many options out there nowadays. Between the Android devices and the Apple devices, there are many choices tailored to your needs and willing to give you everything you could need in a phone and so much more. Gone are the days of just using it to talk. Now they are used to surf the internet, text and play games. For that reason, you have to look at specific types of smartphones but knowing the right ones can be somewhat difficult.

One option available is the Motorola DROID RAZR. Billing the phone as the thinnest smartphone around, it is both sleek and light which means it is easier to carry for you. Made of Kevlar, steel and aluminum it creates a phone that is a very good option after the original RAZR. This smartphone comes with the highly touted Android software and weights a little under 4.50 ounces. The physical size of the phone is 4.30 inches with a resolution of 540 x 960 pixels. Of the main features available you get a light sensor as well as a proximity sensor and scratch-resistant glass. One of the most important factors when one buys a smartphoneis battery life. The Motorola DROID RAZR offers an average of 12.50 hours of talk time and an amazing 204 hours of stand-by time. The camera features are also spectacular as you can take HD Video and the camera has 8 megapixels. Lastly, the system hardware comes in at 1024 MB of RAM with roughly 16 GB of built in memory. This phone should be available in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Another great option is the Galaxy Nexus. This is the first phone to run the newly created Android Ice Cream Sandwich, which is being sold as the version which puts an end to fragmentation. Powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4460 processor, it clearly is one of the fastest phones available on the market today. The weight of the phones comes in at 4.76 ounces. The physical size of the phone is 4.65 inches which continues to be consistent with most of the Android devices with how light and small they are to carry. The phone also takes HD video with the camera offering 5 megapixels. The system memory comes with 1024 MB RAM and roughly 32 GB of built-in storage. This phone should be available in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Lastly, the third most popular smartphone of those released or to be released is the Apple release iPhone 4S. Many were disappointed that it came out as the iPhone 4S opposed to the iPhone 5 but it has not disappointed. It comes with a reworked iOS 5 and introduces a really cool new feature called Siri, which is a personal assistant for you to verbally communicate with for reminders and information. It comes with a 3.5″ screen with a resolution of 640 x 960 pixels; however the inside of the phone is a very powerful and impressive dual-core A5 processor. Coming in at a weight of a little under 5 ounces, it may be a little heavier than its Android counterparts but nothing that would deter the customer. It offers HD video capture and a camera with 8 megapixels. The system memory comes with 512 MB RAM with up to 65 GB of built-in storage.

One of the most appealing features of smartphones are the apps available for download. Some must have Android apps are Google Sky Map, which allows you to see the stars in the sky by pointing your phone to the sky, ASTRO file manager which allows you to manage files on your device and Seesmic which is one of the top Twitter apps available for any phone. For the iPhone, some of the tops apps available are Amazon, PayPal and who can go anywhere without their very own copy of Angry Birds, available on both Android and iPhone devices.

Gaming and Couponing Your Brand

Companies and small businesses today have a lot of options when it comes to marketing and promoting their brand. It’s not just about going door to door, doing TV and radio advertising campaigns, or distributing fliers at your local grocery store. Now you have various other options such as creating a website, starting a blog, making a page in different social networking sites, and so on. It’s about visibility and the Internet is currently the place where most people spend a lot of their time.

There are so many ways you can promote your brand on the web. There’s Facebook and Twitter, and the fast growing site- Pinterest. There’s LinkedIn, there’s Google+, and don’t forget SEO to ensure that you dominate the search engines. You can create websites, blogs, and join popular article sites such as EzineArticles. You can utilize well-placed online ads that will (hopefully) get clicked on. And you can use popular tools such as gaming and couponing in order to entice customers to buy from you or obtain the services you’re offering.

Games existed offline first

Though online gaming may sound a bit childish to you, many people continue to enjoy online games, even middle aged adults. Games are a great way to kick back, relax, and just let yourself forget about everything even for a little while. It’s also an excellent way to have fun, to challenge yourself, to compete against others, and even to bond with people. Games and contests are a great way to promote your brand. After all, who wouldn’t want to win in a contest?

Couponing – can be good and bad

Couponing has also become extremely popular among the public today. With the advent of Groupon and FourSquare, everyone now enjoys looking for the best deals when it comes to brands they love as well as the brands they want to try out. It’s a great way to gain exposure for your brand, as many people simply can’t resist a good deal. There’s just something irresistible about getting 50% off a new restaurant, or 30% off a nice dress.

As a small business owner, if you’re looking into using gaming and couponing in marketing your brand, then you should definitely consider using Fanplayr. Fanplayr.com gives you the ability to add coupons and offer gamification in your social marketing mix. It offers an excellent and innovative way to attract and engage your customers.

Fanplayr – A resource for you

Social marketing has quickly become the most popular way of promoting your brand. Everything has become “social” these days, as more and more people use social networking sites to with their friends, play games, use apps, connect with their favorite brands, and so on.

Fanplayr provides you the ability to engage with your audience through gamification and couponing across different platforms. And the best part is, you don’t have to be a programmer or developer to start creating your own gaming and couponing campaign. In less than 15 minutes, you can set up a coupon game that you could place on your website, include in your newsletter, share on Facebook, and offer on mobile. It’s that simple.

Fanplayr also recently announced that it has entered into partnership with Ifeelgoods so it can bring Facebook credits to “smart and targeted” social offers and coupons. This empowers Magenta merchants all over the world by being able to benefit from low-cost Facebook credits in order to get better returns on their offers and coupons.

Feeling rewarded and engaged

Your brand promotion and messaging can become boring if you don’t mix it up, which is why using gaming and couponing can definitely capture your customer’s attention. Both small businesses and large companies can utilize this feature in order to engage and connect with consumers better. Customers feel rewarded when they play the game and then win the prize of a coupon that they can redeem when they like.

When it comes to social marketing, it’s really about finding the best ways to enhance your brand and engage with your consumers. Since there are so many other brands that offer the same or similar products or services, it’s vital for you to stand out and differentiate yourself by offering fun and unique things to your customers.

Fanplayr in partnership with Ifeelgoods definitely offers some interesting options for small business owners who want to offer their customers something new. Don’t limit yourself to traditional marketing campaigns that may end up boring your customers. Add new and interesting offers, such as gaming and couponing to connect with them further.

Games and Brand Extension – Do They Click?

For this article I wanted to look into the way that traditional games and gaming elements have been used to enter the mainstream space from a business standpoint to either incentivise consumers or engage them on a different level.

Games are primarily an entertainment medium, but that hasn’t stopped companies from having games developed to reach a different demographic than perhaps represents their core market. An ad campaign may run for 2 weeks, 4 weeks or 2 months but branding within a game can have a much longer shelf life. The most common example of brand extension within the gaming arena focuses on movie tie-ins. Many Disney/Pixar films release a game based on the film around the same date. It helps consumers engage with the film on a deeper level and get to know the characters and brand better making it ultimately more likely that additional purchases of merchandise or DVDs are made. The main issue with game tie-ins however is often they are rushed to coincide with the film release and most end up being fairly average titles. The sheer fact that the majority are aimed at a very young audience means though that children tend not to worry too much about this and just enjoy controlling the characters.

Looking at something completely different from an engagement aspect. Papa John’s pizza in the UK released a mobile gaming app which had you deal with pizza orders and create pizzas as perfectly and speedily as possible. App was priced at 69p with the hook being if you reached a certain score then you could earn a free pizza. It was a well made game and was quite a fun stand alone game as well as being challenging in the later levels. The only disappointing part was upon reaching your free pizza it was for collection only which limited me somewhat but was still a good prize.

Weight Watchers UK campaign last year focused on treating weight loss like a game thanks to the point system that was in use. It was an interesting take on things but it wasn’t continued for the 2013 marketing campaign. Arguably, despite the fresh take on losing weight, it didn’t engage the largely female audience of its membership base as even now, females are still in the minority when it comes to enjoying games. It perhaps didn’t resonate as strongly as it should have.

When there is a natural gaming tie-in that fits organically such as in Wreck-It-Ralph you get the best of both worlds – a good film and a very relevant game. You even have in-game advertising which can be seen in many of the Need For Speed series of games. Rockstar also create such believable worlds with their Grand Theft Auto series that there are teams dedicated to creating fictional brands within this universe – they actually extend their own brands within the games and also into the real world. Rusty Brown Ring Donuts is one that always springs to mind.

I’d be interested to hear any other examples you may have experienced perhaps in countries other than the UK.