People's Choice 2018 Spotlight - Brand of the Year

Tim Maytom

Our Effective Mobile Marketing Awards celebrate the best and brightest that the industry has to offer, and as a part of that, we think it's important that the industry itself has a voice in who receives our coveted awards.

With that in mind, our People's Choice categories let the mobile marketing industry vote for a winner from our shortlist of deserving nominees. Voting has already begun, but this week, we'll be shining a spotlight on each of the different People's Choice categories to give you more information before you make your decision.

Once you're ready to vote, head to our survey to pick your winners before midnight UK time on Friday 5 October. The People's Choice winners will be announced alongside the rest of our Awards at our lavish ceremony on Thursday 15 November. You can book your place at this annual highlight here.

At the close of last year, Adidas announced that it was closing down its wearable hardware unit, hardly the kind of move that suggests a mobile-first brand, but the closure was part of a strategic shift by the firm towards sports and fitness software. With fitness tracking platforms available under both its Adidas and Runtastic brands, the company focused on providing consumers with hardware-agnostic tools, as well as launching a new mCommerce app.

The firm has also focused on mobile with its advertising, embracing platforms like Snapchat and Pinterest as new ways of reaching consumers. With the World Cup in the summer, the brand used Bitmoji to connect with fans following the tournament, and in the autumn, a new deal with Twitter saw it streaming nationally-ranked high school football teams in the US.

As a leading automotive brand and pioneer in the connected car space, BMW holds a special place in the world of mobile marketing. The car is an increasingly important environment for digital marketing, both in terms of the data that can be gathered there and as a channel for reaching consumers, and BMW has led developments on both these fronts.

Early in the year it combined forces with Daimler to unite their mobility services divisions, as well as purchasing parking app Parkmobile to combat traffic through big data. BMW was the first brand to use Snapchat’s ‘augmented trial’ lens to promote its X2 model in North America and Europe, and at the start of September, the firm revealed it plans to launch a voice assistant next year, offering a new generation of intelligent control and connection inside its vehicles.

Drinks brand Diageo has emerged as a crusader for improved brand safety and transparency over the last 12 months. In December 2017, the company pulled back ad spending from digital media and laid out a strict set of requirements for ad tech companies wishing to draw it back, including zero tolerance of ad fraud, 70 per cent viewability and transparent pricing models.

In an industry that often fails to hold itself to account, Diageo was willing to demand improvements, and found ad tech firms that were willing to put their solutions to the test. The step back from digital also gave Diageo space to rethink its priorities, and at the same time it pushed for better benchmarks in brand safety and ad fraud, it also embraced innovations like AI and explored new formats like voice and personalised video.

As you might expect with an aircraft operator, KLM always seems to have one eye on the horizon, looking to the most cutting-edge mobile marketing methods to reach consumers and improve the experiences of customers. In addition to innovation, the firm has kept a tight focus on utility, knowing that providing travellers with value is a key way to ensure high retention and a customer base that keeps spending money.

The past year has seen the company launch a Facebook chatbot to provide customers with help booking and a voice-controlled booking channel on Google Assistant. It has integrated Google Pay support into its Android app, and most recently added a new feature that allows travellers to test their luggage size using augmented reality.

Encompassing a huge family of brands, the L’Oréal Group has explored a wide variety of mobile and digital marketing avenues over the past year. Its digital strategy has been guided by Cockpit, a newly-developed tool that measures the ROI and productivity of its media investments, ensuring decisions are based on performance and ad spend is optimised.

Cockpit was developed with cloud business Domo after the company brought its ad tech stack in-house to help improve control and transparency, and since then, the firm has pursued a digital-first mindset. Programmatic spending is up, and company also acquired ModiFace, an AR and AI specialist that has enabled it to deliver unique customer experiences across its portfolio of brands.

With its young target audience, LEGO can’t afford to be slow when it comes to embracing the latest mobile and digital has to offer, and the toy giant certainly hasn’t been resting on its laurels this year. After bringing its creative operations in-house several years ago, LEGO has been building advanced capabilities designed to manage its media spending and data analytics, and this year it has focused on improving efficiency, integration and speed.

The firm has also delivered exciting mobile experiences to customers, working with Tencent to develop games, content and a child-friendly social platform, and rolling out an AI-powered chatbot for the festive season designed to help adults and kids alike with gift guidance. LEGO is even helping to prepare the next generation of ad tech engineers with its LEGO Boost sets, which integrate play with an introduction to developing.

Stay tuned for more spotlights on our People's Choice categories throughout the week, and don't forget to vote here before midnight on Friday 5 October.