Four reasons why brands should care about the Quantified Self movement

Last week
saw Yahoo gave its 11,000 employees a Jawbone UP , as part of an employee wellness program. Beyond is also
experimenting in the space, having just completed a program with health monitor
company Basis where eight of our employees wore the bands for 30 days.

There’s a lot
of hype around the Quantified Self  movement, which centers on the practice of tracking and gathering data on one’s daily activities. What’s even more interesting
is the relative ease with which any brand, can tap into the power of QS, or
rather, the desire of people to track all aspects of their daily lives.

Even though
Yahoo is focused on employee wellbeing, there are other important reasons why all
brands should think about how they can find value in the quantified self
movement.

1. QS drives
consumer engagement and loyalty

If you
consider, Nike+ and particularly the community around it, it puts Nike at the forefront
of a consumer’s mind every time they exercise. The same is true of a business
expense-tracking app such as Chase’s Jot. It puts the brand at the top of the consumer’s mind, every
time they submit an expense.

2. QS can
turn marketing into a source of direct revenue

This is the
genius of great examples embracing QS. It can turn marketing from a cost center
to a profit center. A company like Progressive (insurance) markets a black box which
consumers can use to track their driving habits and decrease insurance
premiums. However it can’t be long before it uses the same data to put up premiums
or even start selling the aggregated data. 

3. QS provides
brands with amazing consumer insights

A brand that
is engaging consumers through QS products and services is at the same time
getting a huge amount of individual consumer data, which it can then aggregate
to provide insights into consumer behavior, which wasn’t previously possible.

4. QS is a
powerful way to change behaviors

Our recent research
into the QS
phenomenon,
which analyzed online QS conversations, showed that the single biggest
motivation for consumers in using QS type products was to effect a behavioral
change. It’s easy to imagine how a company like SmartWater could create an exercise
app for the Nike+ platform which could then remind consumers to drink more
water based on your exercise regime.  

Yahoo is
currently promoting their project as a wellness scheme, but perhaps in the
future they will start to use this type of data to get reduced health insurance
premiums for its employees. They may even use it to serve up content that
reflects individual lifestyle insights and trends. 

Having completed
our internal pilot with Basis, we are now analyzing the data looking at how we
can tap further into this movement, not just for the wellbeing of our team, but
to help us better understand how using this type of technology can help brands
tap into the data of people’s every day lives. QS has hit the mainstream, but I
sense this is only just the start.

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