How to Build a Branded App (and Never Look Back)

How to Build a Branded App (and Never Look Back)

Now, when was the last time that app came from a brand marketer? What makes them app-etizing Just how much engagement potential does the mobile app market hold for content marketers? For example: In-app branding may be less disruptive than mobile ads: App usage requires a deliberate download, which typically comes with an understanding that the brand plays a role in the content experience (especially when the app is offered for free). They can supply valuable consumer data: When a user downloads your app through their favorite app store (Apple’s App Store or Google Play are the big players here) or registers an account, your brand gets access to the user’s info. For example, the Louis Vuitton City Guide app and its guide to Paris are both free to download, but if you want advice on traveling to other popular cities, you’ll need to make an in-app purchase. NBA Fit iTunes rating: 4.5 (10 reviews) Google Play rating: 4.3 (522 reviews) This co-branded app is well suited to the task of getting armchair sports fans off their phones and onto the courts (at least until tip-off time). While going about their day, app users can snap pictures on their phone of design inspirations they encounter or products they find appealing. Not only did the app correctly identify the mug, it offered up a product that came close to the mark: Takeaway: Use mobile’s unique strengths to your brand app’s advantage. Kohler View iTunes rating: 4.4 (14 reviews) Google Play: not available on platform The ability to give smartphone users a more pleasing view of their surroundings through augmented reality technology is one of the mobile app’s biggest creative advantages over other content channels – including the mobile web. Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute Author: Jodi Harris Jodi Harris is the Director of Editorial Content & Curation at Content Marketing Institute.

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When was the last time you downloaded a mobile app that became an indispensable part of your daily routine? What about one with content so compelling you didn’t want to put it down?

Now, when was the last time that app came from a brand marketer?

Apps have become such a commonplace feature in our lives that we might overlook how much power they can wield – and how much branding value they can provide – when used strategically as a content marketing platform.

Brand value leaps off the small screen

The value proposition for mobile apps goes far beyond creating a smartphone-friendly extension of your e-commerce site, an on-the-go version of your company’s products or services, or mobile games that incorporate third-party brands into play. Offering those conveniences to mobile audiences can certainly help your marketing agenda. But the branded app’s true strength lies in its ability to deliver a distinct and enjoyable mobile content experience that enhances consumers’ relationship with your brand.

Let me give you an example:

Fashion designer Louis Vuitton (LV) is probably not the first business that springs to mind when you’re planning your next vacation. But, given the caliber of the content in the brand’s City Guide app, maybe it should be, especially if you’re accustomed to traveling in high style.

To create the content, LV brought in regional experts known for their strong design aesthetic and gave them a platform for expressing their love of their host city. The app also offers ideas to help users elevate their travel experience in over 25 popular destinations, the ability to send digital postcards to jealous friends at home, and expert tips to help them find their footing no matter where in the world their LV luggage might take them.

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What makes them app-etizing

Just how much engagement potential does the mobile app market hold for content marketers? Consider these usage trends: According to eConsultancy, the time U.S. consumers spend with mobile apps is rising by 69% year over year.

Other research shows consumers are accessing approximately nine apps a day and 30 apps per month, leading to projections that app downloads will reach nearly 353 billion worldwide by 2021.

But strong market penetration and the potential for purposeful consumer attention are not the only benefits mobile apps offer. For example:

  • In-app branding may be less disruptive than mobile ads: App usage requires a deliberate download, which typically comes with an understanding that the brand plays a role in the content experience (especially when the app is offered for free). This implicit acceptance of brand messaging could be considered a strong marketing advantage – particularly in light of growing consumer dissatisfaction with mobile pop-ups and other more interruptive forms of mobile advertising.
  • They can add value to the customer relationship: Apps establish a direct, two-way communication pipeline between your brand and its target audience. By requiring a registered account to access your app, the opt-in relationship can be leveraged in a variety of ways – from providing users with exclusive features, members-only product discounts, or fast-lane access to your customer service resources, to soliciting their feedback or enlisting their assistance with product testing, social sharing, and other initiatives.
  • They can supply valuable consumer data: When a user downloads your app through their favorite app store (Apple’s App Store or Google Play are the big players here) or registers an account, your brand gets access to the user’s info. And you can use it to deliver more personalized communications or aggregate it with other CRM information to improve your targeting efforts.
  • They are highly monetizable: While consumers may be reluctant to pay an up-front fee to download a branded app (as this Forrester report contends) – especially if they aren’t sure how or if they’ll like using it – they may be more willing to pony up a few dollars for valuable in-app enhancements at key moments of need. For example, the Louis Vuitton City Guide app and its guide to Paris are both free to download, but if you want advice on traveling to other popular cities, you’ll need to…

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