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US Department of State drives participation, awareness via mobile app

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The SoFit mobile app

The United States Department of State has teamed up with the 2012 London Olympic Games to encourage consumers to get active this summer through a mobile application.

The organizations have incorporated the Walk a Mile campaign directly into the SoFit mobile app. The Walk a Mile campaign is part of a broader initiative with the U.S. Department of States 2012 Hours against Hate campaign.

We are changing the way that people interact with the world around them and providing them with the ability to improve their health and wellness with rewards, said Marc Askenasi, CEO/president of SoFit Mobile Inc., Toronto.

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We are gamifying what people already do and just taking what works in the real world and making it digital, he said.

Mobile fitness
The SoFit mobile app is available for free download from either Apples App Store or Google Play.

Users can sign up to create an account by either syncing the app with a Facebook or Twitter account or by filling out a form.

The Walk a Mile campaign is under the activities tab where they can set a clock to participate in the campaign by walking a mile. The app then tracks a users progress and calories burned.

Additionally, users can see pictures of who else is participating in Walk a Mile through the section.

Walk a Mile inside the SoFit mobile app

Going forward, SoFit plans to let users donate to charities and events via the app by sharing profiles with friends and family.

Letting users take a direct action is a smart way for an organization to stay top of mind with a consumer in a mobile app.

The SoFit mobile app will also be updated in the future to include a reward-based system that lets consumers earn points for completing tasks and interacting.

Users will be able to both earn points that can be redeemed for prizes as well as random rewards that will pop up throughout the app. SoFit is working with Kiip on the rewards features.

For example, consumers can earn points to download tracks from musician Dave Stewart, whose music is the theme song for the event, through the app.

Smart donations
The U.S. Department of State campaign shows how not only are consumers using their mobile devices to help manage their workout routines, they also expect to receive rewards and prizes as an incentive.

Additionally, fitness and exercise apps are categories that consumers are most likely using on an everyday basis, meaning that rewards are a natural way for organizations and events to keep consumers coming back.

The app also has a strong tie-in with social media, which helps users spread the word to friends and family. Social media and mobile go hand-in-hand and more marketers are using the two in conjunction to help build a digital presence.

For engagement for a physical event, you are not going to carry a laptop with you, Mr. Askenasi said.

We want to appeal to the masses here and drive engagement, whether it is through Walk a Mile or other events, he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York