Written on the 7 June 2016 by Laura Daquino


SYDNEY startup On Message knows from experience it's no longer enough to be on social media replying to fans, so the business is offering something a little more streamlined for brands. 

The soon-to-be launched On Message was founded by the trio behind independent creative agency The Works to provide clients with a unique way to communicate with their audiences.

It follows a 'revolutionary increase' in the use of messenger-based apps such as Snapchat, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, which the team says has now overtaken traditional social media platforms.

On Message works with existing platforms as somewhat of an automated bot, where the brand fan asks questions to receive specific answers. The algorithm tailors the response by intelligently scanning the text.

Douglas Nicol, partner of The Works, says the launch will cement the business as a 'thought leader' in the field of messenger apps and marks a 'tectonic shift' in how apps are developed and used.

"The shift in platform popularity has caught many marketers off guard and they are unaware on how to best engage their customers who are moving from being a wider audience to becoming an individual," says Nicol.

"If we look to China and the success of WeChat you can see a future where brand engagement, customer service and e-commerce has become one seamless and open ecosystem, a shift that we can already see with consumers and their social media behaviour in Australia.

"This is so much more than a new version of SMS, it is a tectonic shift in how apps are developed and used. Chat platforms are the next great outlet where brands integrate their services and engagement into the customer's message stream eliminating the once hard to manage, stand-alone brand apps."

Existing apps function in a similar manner, like Hi Poncho for weather, but a solution hadn't yet been developed for brands wanting to answer user questions.

Holding key accounts like Optus and Woolworths, The Works team noticed a need for brands to become more conversational with their users, where comprehensive FAQs would no longer cut it.

The startup was conceptualised in late 2015 by The Works and is currently building a team of Australian tech developers for launch in a couple of months.

"We do a piece of data each year called 'datification' where we quantify Australian social media statistics rather than the standardised US statistics, which informed the On Message concept," says Nicol to Business News Australia. 

"We've discovered good brands these days truly are socially-led and brands at the forefront of this will be investing in messaging platforms early. In three years, we believe messaging will have established itself as a frontrunner."

Pictured: On Message founders Damian Pincus, Kevin Macmillan and Douglas Nicol. 

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