Brand Building Strategy On a Budget: App As a Robust Tool For Business [VOL. 2]

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01 Sep 2017
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10 min
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Daria R.
Copywriter

Every job requires tools. Or hands, or a mind or a spade. Brand marketing requires it's own tool. And the era of mobile technologies demands something new, something different from TV or radio ads. Mobile branding applications are the instruments for modern brands. 

In our previous investigation, we explained the importance of brand creation and how you can do that on a budget. This article is about the business goals that a branded app development can solve, about the type of an app you can design and the vital factors needed to be taken into account to make the app work for your brand.  

Business goals of branded apps

If you have a business and think how to build a personal branded app, you need to consider what business objectives it has to fulfill. After a marketing research, we can define such business goals of a branded mobile application:

mobile app branding strategy

Kinds of branded apps according to their business purpose

One mobile app can perform several tasks, however, it is better to create separate app for each purpose.

Communication

Communication is needed to increase brand awareness. The branded apps designed for this goal usually have lots of information about a brand. Modern trends show that the more formats you use, the better it is for marketing. So if you want to introduce your brand to the world add pictures, audio, videos and even VR content to an app (if is possible, of course).

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Want to use VR for your business but don't know how? all the tips and hints from Cleveroad are here!

CRM

In such a case, an app has to connect a customer with a brand. The app also collects information about customers and about potential users.

Sales

Sales is another goal that a branding app has to achieve. Branded apps for sales offer a personalized approach and the best experience for a user.

Product innovation

Apps, that are targeted on product innovation allow their users to influence on their products. They encourage users to participate in product design and reward winners. It also enforces brand awareness and engages customers.

Marketing research

An app can survey customers in many ways. Such apps allow you to understand users' behavior better along with their needs and preferences.

What types of branded apps are there?

On the first stage of the project preparation, you need to have a clear vision of what business goal the app has to fulfill. Then, you need to choose the type of an app and create your own branded product, according to the functionality and its main idea. There are five general types.

personal branding app

Types of branded apps according to their functionality

App as a tool offers some functionality that helps customers perform various tasks. The main goal of such application is to help a user with a task while collecting information about this task and the user. The app is needed to collect information about customers' needs. Analysing this data you see how to improve your service and meet all users' requirements. Let's take a look at some of the best brand apps.

For instance, Nike Running Club is a branded app for runners. Here a user can track distances, store activity logs, share your results with your friends and set challenges with them. As well as that, here you can buy brand running shoes (Nike, of course).

branded business apps

Nike running club app

The other example is the BMW remote app. The app allows customers to lock and unlock the car, track its position and adjust the climate control.

iFood Assistant by KRAFT and Heinz's Food In A Minute app offer a long list of recipes which include at least one of their products. The apps have video recipes for users' convenience and marketing purposes, of course.

Brand applications as a tool recommend goods directly or indirectly. iFood Assistant by KRAFT and Heinz's Food In A Minute apps and Nike offer their goods indirectly while BMW remote app works only with the BMW car owners.

If you have decided that your brand needs this particular type of an app, you may expect to cover such business objectives:

  • Communicate brand values and products 
  • Increase brand image and awareness 
  • Make product recommendations 
  • Collect user data 

App as a game. These apps are usually very interactive, they allow customers to create their own variant of brand goods. For instance De Beers For You, Forever App gives customers an opportunity not only to buy a diamond ring in their shop but also to create it in the app. Of course, the company will create you your ring according to the chosen design.

Domino's Pizza Hero app looks and feels like a real game. Just one, but you get the pizza which you created online. The app differs from the usual ordering applications. Here you can mix ingredients, knead the dough, spread sauce, sprinkle cheese and much more.

how to brand an app

Domino's Pizza Hero app

The app can be gamified completely or partly. The use of gamification principles allows you to engage users. For instance, lots of airline companies encourage passengers to use their services and collect miles. After a customer has collected a certain amount of miles he or she gets a free ticket or a discount. Thus, a company engages users into a game in which they get a nice bonus and become a loyal customer of a particular brand.

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Don't know how to engage employees and improve their effectiveness? All you need to know is in our article about gamification principles

Such apps for brands get a user accustomed with a fantastic user experience through the use of different elements of a game. The mobile app branding strategy brings its dividends in the form of brand awareness enhancement and users' engagement.

Developing this type of a branded application you'll cover:

  • Brand engagement with loyal customers 
  • Increase brand image and awareness 
  • Make product recommendations 
  • Collect user data 

App as a social instrument. The target of these applications is to advertise your name developing brand identity through social media in a fun way for users.

Take a look at the app Maxhibit developed by the brand Smirnoff Vodka. What the app does is it takes users posts from different social networks, mixes them and creates a small video which you can edit, as well as choose a custom music track from their library. The final video can be shared in social networks. The app aggregates photos, tweets, check-ins from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and creates compelling stories.

Of course, the main goal of such apps is to popularise a particular brand with the help of social networks. These apps build a community of loyal customers.

Social-centric applications will help you with:

  • Brand engagement and loyal customers 
  • Increase brand image and awareness 
  • Product innovation 
  • Make product recommendation 

App for sales. As you might have guessed, the app has to sell. Or, at least prepare customers for a purchase. There are lots of apps like this, IKEA, for instance. In the app, you can add items to a shopping cart and in the store, the app helps you to find them. It keeps you informed about all the new items. And soon the app will add a VIrtual Reality feature, so you could 'try' a piece of furniture in your apartment.

The main goal of these apps are:

  • Sales 
  • Increase brand image and awareness 
  • Collect user data 

App for design. Brand design apps capture a customer with some innovative design ideas. If you still don't have a Camper Weather app, I would highly recommend that you download it. Because checking weather here is a pleasure, not a routine. Every element has a wonderful design and makes sounds or imitates musical instruments when reacting to touch. So even if it's cloudy you can play a melody on it and smile. Camper is a shoe brand and they don't advertise their articles here directly. The brand decided to interact with their customers and potential clients in a non-intrusive way. Their intention was to influence customers with their philosophy behind the concept.

With this app, you can:

  • Communicate brand values
  • Increase brand image 
  • Collect user data 

A good looking app always attract users. But bear in mind that brands usually design more than one app. Each is focused on one business objective.

How to create a brand app

To design a branded app that will appeal to users, you have to take into consideration three main blocks related to the most important functionality set.

designing branded mobile apps fundamentals and recommendations

Blocks needed to create a branded app

Firstly, it is mobile orientation. First of all, you need to focus on mobile features. To develop an interesting mobile application for users you have to follow the latest trends. For instance, camera features are very commonly utilized in branded applications. Cameras can be used for taking photos (with a branded item) and then posted in social media. Or, a camera can also scan Bar and QR-codes and show information about a product to a user. IKEA utilizes cameras to show how the item is going to look in a particular place of a house (Augmented Reality).

As well as that, the GPS feature is very helpful too. A user has an opportunity to check the nearest store, like in the Adidas Eyewear app.

As we already have mentioned, the more trends and innovations you use, the more users like your app. Various sensors are needed to be used to improve the user's interaction with an app and with brands consequently. Swaying, shaking and swiping are favourable now. These features work great in an app as a game and apps as s design.

Voice sensors have been used in the My L'Oreal Mirror app (app for sales), the feature enables the program to answer customers' questions. Customers get a unique experience which increases engagement.

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Find out what other mobile trends for IOS you can use designing your app

Augmented and Virtual reality helps users imagine how the items will look in a real environment. IKEA was a pioneer in this sphere. However, now we have lots of branded mobile apps with this feature including apps with virtual fitting rooms.

Payment features make the purchasing process incredibly easy. If you plan to sell via the app, a payment gateway is a must.

Secondly, social features. It's no longer a secret that social media is a fantastic tool for your business. The effectiveness of branded mobile phone apps depends on social interaction. What you get with it is an engagement and an interaction with potential users, encouragement and increased sense of intimacy with customers. The latest scientific research showed that social interaction positively impacts customers' satisfaction and loyalty.

To make it more clear we divided social features into interaction among content and among users. Interaction among content includes user generated content, like creating and sharing photos, videos, commenting, rating and tagging. Interaction among users includes such features as following or unfollowing a person, chatting and invite friends. When designing social features for your branded app you need to think more about interaction among content. This functionality will deliver you more benefits, while interaction among users features will be rarely used and can be considered as secondary or additional.

More effective tips about users acquisition in 2017 you can find in our fresh video. Don't forget to subscribe to our video blog if the video was helpful for you.

Thirdly, brand mention. Bear in mind that there are different brands. Single brands or corporate brands. For instance, Nestle is a corporate brand and Aero is a single brand that belongs to Nestle group. Let's take a look at the Brand mention elements. These elements are name, colours, logo, mascot and if it's a single brand - brand package.

It is very important to include the brand name, colours and logo into the app. Brand mascot (if it's a fictional character or an animal) can be a part of your game app or design-centric app.

The article is aimed at guiding and helping with branded app development for IOS or Android. Choose the business objectives your app has to cover, the type and the functionality according to your purposes. A good branded app should include different levels of customer motivations. Genuine interest in your branded business app can be gained if you mix entertainment, functionality, information, socialization, stimulation, and aspects of modern trends. All this requires long a preparation stage and research. If you want to combine all these factors in one application, write us to get a qualified advice.

BTW, our next article is about start-ups based on the blockchain technology, don't forget to subscribe to our blog and be the first to read our investigation!

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