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Foursquare illuminate the value of re-branding & personalisation

Foursquare illuminate the value of re-branding & personalisation

by Samir30th October 2014

Over 50 million users registered on their books, a 54% rise in audience numbers over the past year alone and a 116% increase in average tips per user; the success of Foursquare’s re-branding campaign is emphatically clear for all to see.

The local search and discovery service mobile app has undergone an incredible year, which has seen it firmly separate itself from competitors such as Yelp and other counterparts and emerge as the one of the most dominant industry leaders around.

The roots of the organisations turnaround in fortunes can be traced back to their decision to brand themselves different last year, and change to a more personalised approach when marketing their business to the global audience.

As previously mentioned, the centrepiece of Foursquare’s campaign has been personalising their ads, which has greatly assisted them form a deeper connection with their target audience and encourage their customer base to use them over their rivals.

The idea that Foursquare has attempted to convey to their prospective customers through their personalised ads, is that they understand them better than any other brand, and as such are the best placed to provide them with recommendations about what they should do, rather than their competitors. Upon initial reflection of the company’s client figures since the introduction of personalisation to their marketing strategy, it appears that they have been unbelievably successful in establishing this view of their brand – a feat that should not be undervalued considering their previous status as “just a check-in” company enjoyed as close as two years ago.

Adweek’s post on Foursquare’s campaign last week conveyed some interesting figures supporting this notion, including:

  • The website now has a staggering 55 million users registered on its books (though this does not factor out people who are no longer active on the site).
  • Foursquare has acquired 54% more users this year than they did in 2013.
  • The number of tips-per-active user Foursquare now enjoys is up to 50 million, representing a 116% rise since they began their re-branding campaign.

The statistics seem to indisputably indicate that Foursquare’s gamble on personalisation is paying them huge dividends at the moment; being hugely persuasive at convincing people that they are the people to go to when it comes to discovering new locations in accordance with their unique personalities and requirements.

The big question that will hang over the company is whether there campaign will be effective enough to convince users of Yelp, Google Maps, TripAdvisor and other counterparts to jump ship and use them as their primary local search app.

Here’s one example of the ad creative featured in the AdWeek article:


Foursquare’s stunning success in restyling themselves as the globe’s premier personalised local search app from their previous moniker of “that check-in company” illustrates a key lesson for marketers to remember; if you are confident in the quality of your staff and believe you have the resources available to you to succeed, don’t carry on trying to make a stale project work. Instead, focus on what it is that the consumer market wants, and re-brand your business in accordance with what this is, retaining the resources and personnel which made you confident about being successful in the first place.

Foursquare have also enjoyed the degree of success that they have because they have targeted their ads properly, aiming them at people aged between 20 and 50 of different natures and personality types. As shown above, the picture of the twins in a single location, with contrasting ideas of what they enjoy. This diversifies the appeal of their ads, and makes new prospective users of the ads believe that foursquare truly does have the ability to “learn what you like” and “lead you to a place you’ll love”. When considering your own marketing campaign, think about personalising the ads you produce in order to enjoy the same benefits that Foursquare are from their momentous initiative, and give your business a higher chance of attracting a wider audience.

Prior to their re-branding, the concept of “check-ins” was regarded as the brand’s trademark, though intense pressure and the polarising nature of the idea meant that it was eventually removed in 2012. The main reason behind its criticism was that it was too concerned with self-promotion and convincing people to follow contemporary trends, rather than helping them with the discovery process: a key component of the new Foursquare.

Their success holds a number of key lessons for marketers to remember, mainly that personalisation is fast becoming the globe’s premier style of advertising, and a failure to include it within your own campaigns will put you at risk of detaching yourself from your target audience – an unacceptable occurrence in the hugely competitive and challenging business world of today.



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About The Author
Samir Kadri is a content writer and co-editor for the Just SEO newsroom. Having run a multitude of social media campaigns over the past few years, he is hugely knowledgeable about how to generate a buzz worldwide, and regularly writes news and advice on the area of social media marketing.

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