Your brand needs an app

Source: Google ImagesAnd it must be free. Apps provide marketers with the opportunity to create an experience. Think of some of the best apps that you have used in the past. What has made them so compelling? Have you noticed that when you open a really good app your tendency to divert your attention to other things decreases? (even if your phone is capable of multi-tasking - having many apps open at once). A great app is one that offers value to a consumer. That value may come in the form of some quick entertainment (Angry Birds does a good job of this), quick information (Google maps for instance or any news app) or a quick way to connect (the Twitter app).

The trait of creating value is something that great apps have... and it is also something that great brands have. We’ve all heard the saying that when a consumer buys _____ (insert brand), they are not buying _____ (insert product/service) but they are actually buying _____ (insert feeling/experience). Your brand needs an app because it can provide you with an opportunity to create that feeling/experience, even before your consumer buys your product/service.

3 Things marketers should know about apps:

  1. Offer value - It does not really matter what product or service you are selling because every product/service can offer value to a consumer. A fantastic example of a brand that offers value to a consumer through an app would be Kraft’s Big Fork Little Fork app. This app helps educate a target demographic on the positives of healthy eating.
  2. Don’t advertise, educate - Don't use your app as an another medium to advertise your product. Consumers get enough of that already. Instead, use your app to educate consumers about the benefits of your product or better yet educate consumers about something they will genuinely find interesting. For example: If you are a beer brand, educate consumers about the brewing process for your particular brand or consider educating them on what beers go best with certain foods.
  3. Be free and be shareable - It's very easy to throw a price of 99 cents on an app, just so it can bring in some kind of revenue... but why don't you just offer it for free and make money elsewhere? Offering it for free does one compelling thing: If consumers download and genuinely like your app... then they will actively search for your brand and want to choose it. It's no longer a case of you trying to draw a consumer in to your brand, instead a consumer will want to select your brand because of the value you have offered him or her for free. The second part of this point: be shareable. If you offer something of value, a consumer will innately want to share that with friends (so that they can be seen as valuable also). By building this feature into your app, you are creating the potential to make consumers your brand advocates.

Final thoughts: Apps are becoming increasingly ubiquitous. Last week Apple launched their app store for the Mac. Although the feature phone is still dominant in most parts of the world, the smartphone is rapidly increasing and may even take over feature phone in popularity this year. Soon enough almost everyone in the world with an internet connection will have the ability to download an app. With the hundreds of thousands of apps out there, you have to create a compelling enough reason for someone to download yours.