What does your company Vibes do?
Unlike traditional advertising and marketing, which focuses on “let me get an eyeball,” Vibes enables direct engagement and dialogue between brands and consumers.
We provide a way for marketers and brands to acquire, engage with, transact with and retain consumers through mobile channels, SMS, MMS messaging, wallet and push notifications. We view mobile as a holistic platform, together with data.
If you're a big brand, 15% of your customers are going to download your app. If you’re lucky, then probably half of those people are actually going to use it. So what about the other 85%? We enable marketers and brands to connect with that 85%. For the people who do have your app, we do push notifications.
How would PR professionals use your technology?
If you're a brand, PR can also cover the direct relationship with your consumers. PR has evolved and has become much more interesting. It used to be, for example, Levi's would send out a press release or do a commercial that says, “These are the cool jeans.”
People would hear that and think, “Let me go check them out.”
Now they check their social network, asking, “Do I believe in this brand? Do I have faith in this brand?” Consumers, especially younger people, today want more of a direct connection to that brand. They want to know everything about the brand: how it reacts, what it stands for. That’s becoming really important.
Mobile technology, like with Vibes, does a great job of creating that mobile relationship with a brand, so consumers understand more about what makes that brand. It’s part of a PR strategy. We have a platform, the technology offers a way to communicate authentically. I think the future will be a blend of the two: sending out press releases, and with mobile, PR professionals can also augment the messages, where consumers can interact.
How did your company get started? Who are some of your clients?
We’re based in Chicago. In 1998, my cofounder, Jack Philbin, and I started the company. We were both in college and saw mobile coming out and marketing and knew that these two worlds were going to intersect, but the question was how to do it. We knew there were brands and consumers, and knew mobile devices could link the digital and physical worlds. Today, some of the brands we work with include Ralph Lauren, Dollar General, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Redbox, Chipotle, Sephora and Lego.