Of course I can’t claim this as an original idea, I first picked up the term i-Syndrome in a blog by Martin Wilson (link below) and I thought it had a nice ring to it.
i-Syndrome – The inability of a brand to see beyond the iPhone when considering it’s mobile strategy (I’ve refined this a little from Martins original)
As much as I love this term and agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment behind it I do think it’s rather missing the point. Building an iPhone app is not a mobile strategy – it’s a marketing strategy.
No marketing director (or perhaps a very few for select brands) would possibly advocate the cost of an iPhone app as their entry point into mobile. Any mobile agency worth it’s salt will recommend ways for the brand to either engage with existing customers or acquire new ones using mobile devices. This is unlikely to ever be ‘you should build an iPhone app, that’ll do it’. I’m very happy for iPhone or other platform apps to form part of a mobile strategy of course but it can only be a part of it.
Much more likely is that those brands creating stand alone iPhone apps have had the idea sold to them by a more traditional marketing agency, no doubt staffed from top to tail with iPhone carriers. Building an iPhone app is still just about guaranteed PR, at least in trade mags, and gives everyone a nice simple hook to build a wider campaign on.
Now I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with this as such but no one should kid themselves that it amounts to a mobile strategy, it’s a marketing strategy where the actual iPhone app itself plays just a small and passive part.
So, if you want a short lived marketing campaign, no problem, build an iPhone app (but be quick everyone’s getting bored) or if you want a genuine mobile strategy talk to a mobile agency.