Nike Just Does It Again: New Local/Social ‘True City’ AR App

Nike released a new iPhone app last week that demonstrates why they continue to be a marketing leader. Called True City, it provides unique insight into six European cities by detailing information that only people who live in that city would know. Basically, an insider’s guidebook to London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Milan, Paris and Barcelona.

What’s unique about the app is that it combines premium, geo-tagged content, the latest iPhone technologies, and social media integration that is constantly updated by real people in real time.

What interests me about this app is not what it does but rather how it shows what a brand must do to respond to the impact of social media on marketing. Here’s what Nike has done right.

1. Nike has clearly demonstrated a willingness to adopt new technologies. I wrote last week about the most recent social media efforts of Coke and Pepsi that echoed earlier and equally brave efforts by brands like Skittles. And here, once again, we see Nike not only adopting technology but taking it one step further.

2. The True City app demonstrates how the brand not only embraced social media, but assimilated it into its brand culture. By this I mean Nike looked at the existing tools, took the time to understand them, reconstituted them and took them to market in a form that is consistent with its brand voice. As such, it takes ownership of the technology and the community it generates.

3. True City demonstrates that creativity can always be brought to bear on the new technology space. By combining insider knowledge with geo-tagged content and the latest iPhone technology, Nike has created a unique tool that is peculiar to its brand just as it did with Nike +. As you can see from the True City film, the information is provided with Nike’s typical irreverence and unmistakable attitude. What this means is that as consumers enjoy the app, they literally take the brand on the road building community in real time.

4. Finally, this application is a clear demonstration of a leading brand’s ability to move with the marketplace,whether they be changes in technology, how consumers are communicating or where those conversations are taking place.

No doubt other brands will take confidence from Nike’s example but that’s the point. No amount of copying or technology can replace the ability of a brand to take a risk, to leap into the unknown and define the future for others. There will be mistakes, but in a real-time world, the rewards to early adopters and innovators are greater than ever.

In True City Nike has demonstrated the three most powerful drivers of social transformation todays – connection between consumers, connection between consumers and a brand, and the willingness of a brand to lead rather than follow.

Let me know what you think of the application and whether you’d use it?

BTW: True City is free to download (U.K. only for now) and was designed by the AR junkies at AKQA. Credit where it’s due.