An exciting era for the smart watch and wrist-based content strategy

Wrist-computing is a powerful opportunity to change how humans interact with each other, businesses and content. At Weber Shandwick, we’re excited for the launch of new players in the mobile and smart watch space, but we’re also realistic about how soon it will be eclipsed by something better as the technology, software and value-proposition for smart watches improve.

We know early entrants to the smart watch market are experiencing stiff adoption, high-return rates and low satisfaction rates, and we also know that Apple doesn’t enter a new market without a significant amount of research, planning and confidence it will dominate. That is why the device won’t be on the market until after the holiday season. Unlike the iPhone 6, which you can order next week, the watch isn’t ready for primetime. By early 2015, we should expect the user-experience and value will justify its price tag for early adopters (and more general consumers).

The ability to wrap quantified-self and mobile payments into the watch are two other areas we’re watching closely. The research that shows today’s self-tracking products are popular for six months before they are discontinued wasn’t lost on Apple. They have deliberately incorporated quantified self-tracking sensors, software and gamification into the device to maximize the benefits users will get from daily wear of the Apple Watch.

Having the ability to check out at the store without pulling out a wallet or purse is only half of the benefit of mobile and watch-based payments. Americans are sick of the words “data breach,” and Apple Pay could help popularize security best practices — like two- and three-factor authentication — without adding significant time or effort to consumer purchase behavior. In typical Apple fashion, they launched with large, global partners who already have the technological infrastructure in place to help drive mainstream adoption of mobile payments.

Lastly, because we’re always thinking about the changing nature of how humans consume content from publishers, companies and each other, at Weber Shandwick we’ve been talking to our clients about their smart watch content strategy for over a year now. That’s a thing now: smart watch content strategy.

Just as we help brands adapt their content from a website to a mobile experience, we’ll need to determine how content is shared on wrist-screens, too. It’s an exciting evolution milestone for consumer engagement strategies and content marketing programs, and we’re excited to be part of driving value on behalf of our clients and their stakeholders.

Last Monday night (Apple Watch Eve), I had the opportunity to lead a discussion about smart watches with the Mobile Twin Cities developer community. You can read more insights from that meeting here and see my presentation here.