As Microsoft announced today, consumers will be able to purchase the new Microsoft KIN smart phone at retailers soon. Meantime my employer Razorfish is busy helping Microsoft share the KIN with consumers through a new brand website, KIN.com. I think the Microsoft/Razorfish KIN partnership shows how intertwined technology and a successful consumer experience can be, not just the experience you can see but the one behind the scenes.
KIN, of course, is an innovative new mobile device that provides a social experience linking the phone, online services, and personal computer. In January 2009, Razorfish won the KIN account through a competitive process, and since then Razorfish’s role has grown from designing the brand website to more comprehensive marketing support including digital strategy, creation of brand and product videos, product development, digital measurement, organic search, and interactive retail.
The KIN marketing strategy focuses on reaching out to consumers in the places they are spending time already, such as social media sites, and driving them to KIN.com, where they can learn more about the smart phone in an immersive way. For instance, through a series of lively videos, the KIN website shows how easy it is to share content from a KIN device to one’s social networks or pull content, such as photos, from a social network on to one’s KIN. Via Facebook Connect, consumers can explore the KIN further on Facebook.
The KIN website is all about bringing a brand to life, making it possible to experience a brand emotionally instead of telling you about product features. And technology, coupled with design and customer insight, plays the crucial role.
And then there’s something going on behind the scenes. Razorfish and Microsoft have also developed a web service known as the KIN Studio, which is a Silverlight-based experience that mirrors your KIN phone on the web. Why so important? Because when the KIN is in market, the KIN Studio will automatically sync information — messages, contacts, photos, and videos — from the KIN phone to your own secure website and will be accessible anywhere there is a computer. To launch the KIN Studio, Razorfish has been working side by side with Microsoft engineers in a product development capacity.
I think the Razorfish/Microsoft relationship also demonstrates the role an agency can play providing strategy, design, and technology to support a product launch instead of focusing on creating a better message.
More about the Razorfish/Microsoft KIN collaboration here.