Foursquare seals first national brand tie-ups

Debenhams has signed-up to Foursquare
Debenhams has signed-up to Foursquare

LONDON - Debenhams and Domino's Pizza have become the first major UK brands to target consumers via the mobile social network and game Foursquare.

The fledgling platform has become increasingly popular with urban dwellers in the US as a source of recommendations for eateries, shops and local attractions. It added London to its list of networked cities last October.

Foursquare detects players' whereabouts through the GPS function on their mobile handsets. When they visit shops and restaurants they can gain points for ‘checking-in', allowing them to unlock ‘badges' and become the ‘mayor' of a particular location.

Brands support the service by offering deals to participants based, for example, on the number of times someone ‘checks in' to their local branch.

The benefits for companies include increased footfall and the recruitment of a network
of brand ambassadors who will pass on recommendations to their friends and Twitter followers. Brands can also gather insights into the behaviour of customers and what incites consumers to visit their stores.

Hitherto, only small-scale London businesses, such as Hummus Brothers fast-food restaurants and Dose Espresso, have been using the service. Debenhams and Domino's Pizza have become the first national chains to try Foursquare as a customer-retention tool.

Debenhams flagship store on Oxford Street offers free coffee to anyone checking in to the store on a Friday. The ‘mayor' of Debenhams is entitled to free coffee at any time. Domino's, meanwhile, is offering a free pizza every week for ‘mayor' of its branches.

A potential problem for brands using Foursquare is the opportunity for players to make negative comments on  their products and services.

For example, one Foursquare user who checked in to the Debenhams store made some disparaging remarks about the quality of the burgers offered in its restaurant.

Brands are currently reaching only a small audience on Foursquare, especially in the UK. Research company Hitwise reported that visitor numbers have tripled in the past two months, but was not able to provide specific figures.

Foursquare is focusing on extending its service in North America and key European locations, including Amsterdam, Paris and London.

While the mobile social network is still in its infancy, it is expected to enjoy growth similar to that experienced by Facebook and Twitter. 

Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message