From politics to marketing, strategists are increasingly focusing on using social media for relationship building. For example, in 2012, the Obama campaign used their Facebook app to send targeted messages to their advocates saying, “send your friend, Sandra, this youtube video on healthcare policy”. A huge portion of their time and money was spent on measuring social networks to identify which influencers they should tap to target the perusable.

The same trend is visible in the realm of marketing. Brands are increasingly turning to their employees as their number one product advocates. The 2014 Edleman trust survey found that consumer trust in official press releases is declining while trust in recommendations from family and friends is increasing. My absolute favorite example of a brand running with this strategy change up has to be Intel’s Tablet Smart Squad. They gave their employees Intel Tablets to try out and then asked them to share their experiences. Seriously- that simple. Check this out:

This move towards micro-relationship focused strategy (or Human to Human in the words of Bryan Kramer) has created a new market for relationship-building/facilitating tools. Enter Refresh -a brand new iOS app designed to reduce the awkwardness of small talk and maximize networking. The best way to explain it is through an example. First, create an event in your calendar, then open Refresh and add the name of whoever is going to be attending the event with you. Refresh will then pull in all of the public social network data for that individual.

I’ve chosen to use Bryan Kramer as my example here in part because his extensive social presence allows me to demonstrate just how crazy deep Refresh goes (I’ve only included 50% of the screenshots!) As they say, a picture is worth 1,000 words. In this case I’m betting it’s worth 100,000.

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This degree of interconnectivity and data mining (including the scores from the last game of your favorite sports team!) is phenomenal. I also love the capacity to go directly to the person’s various social profiles. It also incorporates your gmail history into the profile-showing  the most recent email you’ve exchanged as well as the first one. Think of the practicality here. The most recent email probably contains the info about where’ you’ll be meeting and the first contains the initial seed of your relationship.

From a technical standpoint the app appears to be built very well. I have yet to experience any loading delays- which is saying something given that I often have fairly spotty 3G service.

But what about those people who aren’t connected to social networks? My father-in-law, for example, only has a sparse LinkedIn account. But Refresh was still able to pull together several mutual relationships and some basic info- enough to get a conversation started. And, let’s be honest, a lack of presence on a lot of social networks is also a good tidbit of info!

Refresh is purpose built to connect online and offline relationships. This makes it not only an invaluable tool but also a potential trendsetter for the next generation of mobile apps in a world increasingly focused on relationships.

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