The future of a brand depends on its ability to be present in customers' everyday life. One of the fastest growing industries, well-being, has recently invested remarkably to create new services and expand their existing field.
Companies that used to sell products are now rapidly investing in web and mobile applications to get closer to consumers. For example, Suunto, which is known for its sports watches and devices, launched the Movescount application a couple years ago. It not only tracks down performance, but enables users to be a part of a larger community as well as save and share their experiences.
“Our design team is in charge of people’s emotional experience as they use our products. When we first launched our application we wanted to give people a comprehensive tool that measures and follows their own results, but we soon found out that its social dimension is as important as their personal scores,” says Antti Kujala, Head of Design at Suunto.
Suunto was definitely not alone as Apple was also seeking a new business for their Apple watch, which was originally launched in 2015. That same year, Under Armour Inc., coincidentally acquired the nutrition-tracking platform, MyFitnessPal for $475 million, to increase sales in the online business community. The acquisition gave Under Armour access to 80 million users, “The easiest way to be close to customers is to create mobile services. I think we have only seen the tip of the iceberg. In China and Asia they are far ahead in mobility. People simply don´t use any other device, except their mobiles.”
If a company seeks new growth, it needs to be meaningful for consumers. One way to ensure that is to be with them in their mobile phones, 24/7. Another way is to enable them to be a part of a larger community. In the future, companies would need new ways to invent, “It is difficult to foresee what will happen next. Maybe big companies will take over markets via acquisitions, or smaller companies will create a vivid ecosystem. I’m confident that the importance of networking will increase. For example, our heat maps, which show the most popular sporting routes, could be really interesting for Travel agencies or HoReCa companies.”
In design, one has to be able to cooperate with different stakeholders and integrate design into business, technology, and marketing. A designer can’t hide in the corner anymore, “An interesting phenomena is that when you start to design something new, you don’t know how it ends. An application may be intended as an additional service, but might end up as the beginning of a new business. That kind of sensitivity is crucial.”
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