I’ve just read an article that really frustrated me. Earlier this year at the Mobile World Congress the VP Marketing of CocaCola asked to use Joyn to reach their fans in one of the conference sessions. Obviously Joyn did not adequately respond. As CocaCola partnered with LINE, a unique blend of technology and pop culture with 100 million users. Its a message and calling app with a load of apps, games, and social features. Think of it like Viber migrating towards Facebook. Of most interest to this story is there are ‘Official Accounts’ in order to follow verified celebrity and brand LINE users to receive their updates. LINE also includes forums for chatting to other users, Facebook-like timeline/wall for posting updates, photos, and videos. But the big thing is stickers, cutesy cartoon characters – the pop culture element.
I just read this article where in less than three weeks from the first official account of LINE in Spain, Coca-Cola, it has surpassed 350,000 users. Apart from the creation of the official account, the agreement between Spain and Coca Cola LINE includes a line of stickers. LINE users who have added to Coca-Cola to your friends list will receive information about special promotions, coupons, messages, pictures or commercials of the campaign as “Blessed Bars”, currently on air.
Joyn / GSMA needs to be publicly shamed for not responding adequately to this opportunity, in its own backyard and where CocaCola came and asked for their support. LINE is running rings around the industry. Why would any brand look at Joyn, when LINE offers such a compelling tech/pop-culture mix and can respond adequately to requests from brands.
In the mid year review on Telecom APIs article I pointed out the need to focus on the building the business. CocaCola gave Joyn a perfect business development opportunity and Joyn let it slip through their fingers. If we put a tenth of the effort into building the business as we do in building overly complex ivory tower standards we may stand a chance of continued relevance as service providers. GSMA, if you’re going to waste effort creating the Joyn brand, the least you could do is not let opportunities slip through your fingers in your backyard and focus on building a business around Joyn. Blaming your telcos for being too slow, too conservative, too pre-occupied with business models, is just an excuse for hiding in meetings rather than getting out into the real world and building some business. How many times does the GSMA have to fail before the industry does something?