Branded Mobile App

“Does My Brand Need a Mobile App?” and Four Other Questions You Should Be Asking

By Staff Writer
In April 17, 2014

Last month, about 22,740 mobile applications were added to the Apple App Store. That’s 734 new apps a day. With over a million active apps available on the App Store, it’s no surprise that many marketing managers are asking the question “does my brand need a mobile app?” The answer? It depends.

A big mistake that many brands make is to develop a mobile app just to check it off the list. They know their customers are using their smartphones as a primary means of accessing the internet and assume that the best way of reaching them is through an app. But if the app doesn’t bring value to their customers beyond what their current website does, the investment might be better spent optimizing their website for mobile.

If you’re one of the many marketing managers asking “does my brand need a mobile app,” here are some other questions you should be pondering.

  1. Do you have an idea for an app?
  2. This is a good place to start. Rather than creating an app that mimics your brand website just to have one, work with your agency or creative team to develop an app that brings value to your customers while reinforcing your brand. This “value” can take many forms, from useful information to mindless entertainment.

    Take Charmin’s SitorSquat app, which helps users find public restrooms near them. The app is vastly different than the brand’s website, but provides a valuable service to their audience while communicating their key brand benefit: a more enjoyable “go.” Or Cartwheel by Target, a mobile couponing app that allows users to virtually “clip” coupons and then generates a single barcode that the user can present on their phone at the time of checkout.

  3. Has it been done?
  4. If you have an idea, do your homework. Make sure what your app offers is unique in some way, shape or form. The world already has so many flashlight apps, for example. What makes yours special? Remember that your customers will have to take action to download the app, so offering up something they have already seen/downloaded and slapping your brand on it isn’t a wise investment.

  5. Does it leverage the device’s utility?
  6. Does your app make good use of the mobile device it’s downloaded on? Does it use the camera, the geo-location capabilities, push notifications, etc.? If not, maybe you don’t need a mobile app at all.

    A mobile-optimized microsite might be able to help you achieve an app-like experience without requiring users to download the app. This means you could link customers to your microsite through social media, online advertising and more.

  7. Do you have the budget for an app?
  8. As more and more app development companies come into the market, the cost of creating an app is becoming more and more competitive. That said, an app is a critical representation of your brand and like most things, you get what you pay for. Buying an “off the shelf” app and skinning it with your brand look and logo isn’t very likely to deliver something new or very valuable to your customers.

    If you and your agency/creative team have a killer idea for a mobile app – one that supports your brand, is unique and brings value to your audience – make it a budget priority and do it right. It’s also wise to devote some resources to promote the launch of the app through PR and advertising. With 734 apps being added every day, you don’t want to get lost in the shuffle.

Staff Writer

So who is this mysterious staff writer? Could be anyone really, as long as they meet our very strict criteria. 1) Worked with us in one capacity or another. 2) Have something pretty interesting to say. 3) Want to use our blog to say it. See? Told ya they were strict!