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How Coach and Marriott nabbed early-adopter status with iMessage apps

Coach and Marriott are two of the first marketers to introduce iMessage applications containing branded and customizable content, taking advantage of the newfound ability for third-party developers to create stickers, emojis and mobile games within the platform.

Mobile messaging marketing platform Snaps is powering more than one dozen branded iMessage apps for companies including Burger King, Coach, Dunkin? Donuts and Toyota. In addition to rolling out new sticker packs, some brands ? such as Coach ? are launching iMessage apps that enable users to enjoy a completely personalized experience, suggesting that this communication medium could take the emoji craze to new levels.

?There are over one billion active iOS users, and iMessage is one of, if not the most important app on iOS devices,? said Christian Brucculeri, CEO of Snaps. ?As the leader in branded keyboards, we've driven over 100 million shares in messaging and our data implies that 65 percent of our keyboard content is shared in iMessage.

?By transforming iMessage into a platform, Apple has opened the door for brands to create new social experiences that engage consumers and audiences.?

Making mobile engagement stick
This week?s rollout of iOS 10 opened iMessage to third-party developers in a move that offers significant opportunities for brands wanting to invest in the messaging space. The new iMessage features allow users to send stickers and photos to each other, play games within messages and engage in overall more interactive communications.

Snaps is supporting a slew of brands? iMessage apps, including Burger King, L?Oréal USA, Toyota, Marriott Rewards, Coach, Dunkin? Donuts, Dove and Sephora.

The marketers may update their sticker packs within iMessage in real-time as well as track analytics surrounding iOS 10 marketing efforts, including user interactions and content shares. This way, the brands can publish, manage and tweak their iMessage offerings at their leisure.

Snaps is also powering a new collaborative feature within accessories manufacturer Coach?s Coachmoji app, which lets users curate a customized look using a variety of dresses, handbags and accessories.

Individuals can then share and update these looks with friends within the Coachmoji iMessage app. Styles can also be saved for future sharing.

Users can interact with Coach?s branded keyboard, featuring products and characters, and add their own signature style to any emails, iMessages or texts they send via iOS 10. Additionally, Coach?s iMessage app enables fan to create their own mood boards.

Meanwhile, Marriott?s iMessage app employs a more travel-related focus with emojis depicting international landmarks and hotel amenities.

?For our members, expressing their own personality when sharing their travel experiences with their social circles is an important part of who they are, whether it be for business or pleasure,? said Thom Kozik, vice president of loyalty at Marriott International. ?That?s why we jumped at the chance to lead the travel industry with the debut of Marriott Rewards virtual stickers on the day this new iOS feature launches, giving members a new, creative way to share and personalize their travel stories and identity.?

Early adopters on the rise
The novelty of iMessage apps will likely see plenty of consumers download them and use brands' content within their organic conversations with friends and family.

Capturing early entry into the latest mobile technologies and platforms is vital for any major brand with a millennial audience.

Several weeks ago, PepsiCo was the first to partner with Twitter for its promoted sticker launch as the next leg in the consumer packaged goods marketer's Pepsimoji campaign, which is populating the physical and digital realms with millennial-friendly symbols (see story).

Additionally, Anheuser-Busch?s Lime-A-Rita brand and GE are two of the marketers already leveraging Instagram?s newest pinch-and-zoom feature, bringing an added degree of interactivity into otherwise static social media posts (see story).

Ultimately, brands looking to invest in emojis or stickers may be well-suited to exploring an iMessage app and capitalizing on the frenzy surrounding the iOS 10 rollout.

?At Snaps, we go beyond ensuring that our brands have unique experiences and content,? Snaps' Mr. Brucculeri said. ?Our platform also gives marketers the ability to update content in real-time, and dive into analytics on what's working in the space.

?You can't optimize what you can't measure, so our advice would be to use a platform that gives you access to measurement tools.?