I ran across this story in the Contagious newsletter.
UPS is just one brand at the forefront of a new movement which recognizes the compelling appeal of the widget as an adaptable, self-contained yet multi-tasking marketing tool. The beautiful thing about a widget of course is that no-one actually knows what it is, meaning that they can be created and customized to perfectly suit the application of any brand. The groundbreaking UPS widget, is a fine example of just this.
Users are able to download an icon onto their computer desktop in the form of a cute animated character (complete with oversize magnifying glass). This ‘hard-working UPS helper’ can then track up to one hundred parcels and provide direct links, from your desktop, to other UPS services such as shipping solutions and global logistics. The accompanying website is supported by a fully integrated campaign including print, outdoor and online marketing.
Setting aside for a moment the fact that we are suckers for little guys like this – it turns out that he actually represents a quite significant culmination of a global effort to broaden the appeal of the UPS brand and positively engage the ‘everyday audiences’ as well as those stuck in the post rooms of large companies. However, injecting strategic creativity into what is primarily a B2B application, required some careful planning.
However, it would seem that central to UPS’s application, is the concept of brand utility – of providing the customer with something useful, something which helps them to directly engage with the brand – step forward our sleuthing little widget. It gives people a different way to use the brand and continue to use the brand – to create a “stickiness” if you will.’
The success of the UPS widget speaks for itself. However the application is supported by more than a savvy marketing campaign. This strong faith which UPS has in their little widget carries with it promising implications for what is yet to come. Essentially, by continuing to explore the ways in which marketing can be ‘useful’ instead of intrusive, UPS has set a benchmark.
Source: Contagious Magazine