Business, Entertainment

Kraft Foods: All Your Mobile Are Belong To Us


Kraft is one of the biggest food brands in the USA, best known perhaps for their cheeses. In Europe, they’re probably most known for Milka Chocolate, which usually cannot be purchased in United States. Sometimes, I wonder could that be due to the level of quality that would destroy the sales of other Kraft-owned sweeties? but getting back on the subject, I spotted on Twitter that Kraft is using the slogan "no mobile left behind" in their mobile and digital strategy. It is actually a cross-platform strategy message, meaning, they want their online systems to remember mobile and make sure their pages and online services also can be accessed on mobile.

Kraft's Mobile Strategy: On Every PhoneThis makes a lot of sense even in the USA, where the ratio of PC to mobile access of the internet is most lop-sided in favor of the PC, of any country in the world. This is mostly due to historical reasons, the internet was invented in the USA [the mobile internet in Japan] and the USA has been one of the leaders in PC based ‘fixed’ internet use, while lagging seriously in mobile uses of data, and the mobile internet. Japan was among the first countries to see the mobile internet pass the fixed internet. And in the emerging world countries like India or the continent of Africa etc, the mobile internet has leapfrogged the PC based internet and mobile web use outnumbers PC web by ratios as high as 10 to 1.

But in the USA, it is still safely true, that most internet use is from PCs. Why then does Kraft say no mobile left behind? Because that digital divide also exists in the USA. The biggest adoption level of mobile as percentage of all internet use is among the poorest populations. The hispanic and black population use of the mobile internet is far higher than that of the total population. And some of Kraft’s products are serving simple, cheap, instant foods to often the poorer parts of the country, most famously Kraft’s Macaroni-and-cheese meals.

So if a web designer only focuses on broadband PC users with large screens and creates heavily animated welcoming screens, etc, those will be painfully slow and expensive to consume on basic browser [non smartphone] phones, on basic [non flat tariff] data plans. We have to remember that globally still today, of total number of users [not usage], a large number of mobile web users still access very basic browser services on WAP [not full HTML] over GPRS ie 2.5G networks [not 3G].

This can be seen as Kraft’s way of mimicking what happened a decade ago in Japan. The early Japanese websites noticed that increasingly their users started to access the PC based websites, using the new internet-enabled mobile phones with tiny screens and slower speeds. So the Japanese websites adapted to it. They also noticed that while it was difficult to charge for content on the PC web, it was easier to do so on the mobile web, and they often turned their mobile websites as the revenue and profit engines to power the loss-making ‘legacy’ internet pages for PCs. This phenomenon was first explained in Wired, telling the story of Japanese loss-making internet brand Cybird which found its profits on the new mobile web. We’ve chronicled that same pattern in anything from the Financial Times mobile web pages to Flirtomatic.

No phone left behind. But there is an even better angle to the story. Its also a story about mobile services for any brand considering a mobile strategy. No phone left behind. It doesn’t mean that you can’t have more advanced services on HTML or Java or Bluetooth [which reach roughly speaking about half of all phones] or smartphone apps [which reach less than a quarter of all phones]. But a consumer oriented brand should start with No Phone Left Behind, ie start with SMS and WAP and MMS [and voice]. Pick one or two of those, and you reach all or at least 9 out of 10 phones. Then when you’ve done that, go ahead and do your smartphone apps or iPhone apps. If you start from the apps, it is a classic case of the iSyndrome, as Martin Wilson tells us, is the mistaken notion that creating an iPhone app translates into a mobile strategy.

So good for Kraft! Great philosphy. No phone left behind. And it applies to essentially all consumer brands on the planet. You can talk to your customers via basic services on the phone, like SMS, and reach all of them. Like I showed at the 7thMassMedia blog this week of the interactive window display [where male and female models dressed and undressed in full view of passers-by, who sent them SMS text messages of what to put on next].