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Mobile devices and apps are growing faster than the population. By 2016, Cisco estimates there will be more mobile devices (8 billion) than people. Apple recently surpassed more than 25 billion app downloads and Android users have installed more than 10 billion Android apps. Some go so far as to predict the end of the PC – overtaken by mobile tablets and smartphones in the very near future.
Nielsen says the average amount of apps found on a person’s smartphone is 41, but folks use only 8 of those apps weekly. So, although it’s not easy to make an app that folks will use – it’s certainly worth a try. Apps can win your brand points by making life easier, saving time, entertaining or simply brightening someone’s day.
And what we’re talking about are downloadable apps, not mobile websites. It’s important these days for your brand to create a mobile-friendly website, but a customer-facing app takes your online presence to new heights if the idea is solid. In fact, over 90% of the top 100 companies in the USA have apps – an average of 25 per brand, so the importance of apps in new media is clear.
To help, we’ve found four solid uses for branded apps that have the power to pump up your brand’s bandwidth when the idea fits the marketing goals.
Apps as promotional tools
Think of your current brand promotions and I bet you can think of a mobile app idea that would engage customers. A branded mobile app can deliver discounts, free samples and buy-one-get-one-free offers in a flash. Whatever contest, partnership marketing or sponsorship you have going could easily lend itself to a killer app. Games are huge in this category and can be updated to reflect new product lines as they arrive on the scene.
One example of this is Oreo’s “Twist, Lick and Dunk” promotional game app. Made to keep the Oreo brand top-of-mind, Nabisco has also built other promotions around the name, like an upcoming Canadian sweepstakes to attend the Stanley Cup Games.
Apps for events
Events are tailor-made for mobile apps and thankfully there are apps that can be tailor-made for your event with little expense. With so much pressure to get the most out of your event-planning dollar, putting sign-ups, collateral, messaging and polls on an app during an event gives it legs. Some event apps have the ability to push to posts about the event to attendees’ social networks. Eventjoy, Evvnt and Eventbrite are just three of many such providers, but a quick Google search will uncover several others.
Apps for retail sales
Of course, selling on an app is the perfect plan if you publish, manufacture or distribute anything that can end up in a sale. Usually, the hook with apps is their ability to make the buying process easier. Amazon is known for being truly a one-stop-shop for the phone, but its most impressive mobile app feature is the ability to use the camera function on a smartphone to scan a barcode of any product and find and buy it instantly on Amazon.
Apps that build customer love by making life easier
If you can find a way your product or service makes a customer’s life easier, you have the potential for a good branded app. Let’s face it, the apps on your own phone probably represent easier ways to do your banking, find a coffee shop, a restroom, or figure out the name of the song you’re listening to.
One brand that created an app for their products that is truly helpful was created by L’Oréal, which owns Lancôme, Urban Decay, Maybelline and Garnier. In its “Matchmaker” app, a customer can find the perfect branded foundation make-up match to the tone of their skin and the closest drugstore to make the purchase. But the coolest function is that you can match your skin color to a celebrity. Are you Gwyneth Paltrow or Jennifer Lopez?
But in the final analysis, if no one knows about your app, they can’t download it, so it’s important to promote the use of your app on all other mediums you employ. This is a little easier when you’re dealing with the launch of a new product, but finding ways to promote via paid, earned and owned media are also important.
So, let us know, have you built an app for your brand? Of course, apps are not required to build a brand, but if there’s an app for that, why not give it a try?
Brought to you by Vertical Marketing Network, a Leading Integrated Marketing Agency.
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