When FourSquare opened it’s ‘borders’ to include South Africa, I think I might have been in the 20 first users. I worked hard to learn the culture and energy around this social media positioning platform that I was reading so much about. I religiously checked into every spot I found myself at. I think I even ended one of the early weeks on the top of the South African FourSquare charts (haven’t been able to get close since). Like, with all new social media platforms I’ve had to work hard to integrate how it ‘was done’ into my world. But because the work I do requires I continue learning about this new world we’re moving into, I persevered.

The power of FourSquare only hit home when I checked into Kauai at Sandton City a month or two ago. As I checked in I saw a small orange square with the words ‘Special Offer’ in the top right of my screen. I clicked onto the square and there it was. The magic of FourSquare! It was an offer from Global Wrapps (a few stores down from Kauai) saying that if I checked into Global Wrapps I would unlock a special offer that would entitle me to a R5 smoothie from them.

Amazing. It’s the equivalent of putting up a Global Wrapps banner in the best possible position inside their opposition, in this case Kauai, to speak to Kauai’s customers. That’s powerful! Amazing!

I didn’t take up their offer on that particular visit because I’d already ordered from Kauai. Today, because I knew about the promotion I did things differently. Event though my wife and 2 daughters wanted smoothies from Kauai, I decided to test Global Wrapps out. So I checked in, unlocked the special, and handed my iPhone across to the person behind the counter at Global Wrapps. He looked at my phone with much puzzlement, and then handed it to his senior colleague. He told me it was only valid on Tuesdays. But I could see in his eyes that he hadn’t seen a ‘special offer’ like the one I was showing him before. So I stayed for some conversation. He admitted that he didn’t know what this was all about, and he handed it off to another person, who looked, and then said it was his auntie’s shop and I should ask her. She was nowhere to be found, and so I left, a lot annoyed but not surprised and ordered from Kauai.

So there you have it. A fantastic idea. A great innovation. The first South African store I’ve seen use FourSquare in this manner, and it failed in the ‘last mile’. I imagine the story from Global Wrapps goes something like, ‘we thought up this brlilliant idea at head office, and unfortunately we haven’t been able to get all the stores, their owners, and staff that work there, on board’.

It’s the same story in most innovative and creative executions. It starts with great gusto and enthusiasm somewhere, but the execution fails dismally because someone forgot to tell someone at the edge that this is what we are doing.

In the last two or three months I’ve talked up Global Wrapps and their clever marketing through FourSquare. Oh how my story is about to change : )

Below are the images off of my phone to show you how it all works. I’ve also sent this story to Global Wrapps, Kauai and FourSquare. Will be interesting to see if I get a response, and what it is?

TomorrowToday Global