How to harness smartphone applications to help your brand
It has been estimated in the United States alone, there are more than 45 million smart phone users, and as consumers continue to demand “bigger, better, faster” mobile applications, marketers have taken this as an opportunity to push their brands and their businesses forward and drive their sales and brand recognition.
With this rapid advancement in the smartphone market, many marketers are now trying to take advantage of new technology to give themselves an edge over their competition. Platforms such as iOS and Android, and previously Nokia’s OVI Suite, have garnered a great deal of popularity among users and apps have now become an integral part of the mobile experience. While marketers do try to engage consumers through apps providing a mix of utility and entertainment, currently brand promotion is only limited to in-app advertising and branding of smart phone applications. Apps themselves are promoted by releasing them on the app market, be it the iTunes App Store or Google Play, which in itself generates a good amount of exposure for the application. Promotion is enhanced by positive ratings from users, who also take a cue from the number of downloads for a particular application. In this way, marketers hope to generate indirect exposure for their brand as well.
However, such marketers are missing out on the true potential of smart phone applications to promote their brands. They may resort to, for example, giving out such items as branded pens, fridge magnets as well as other free giveaways, all in an attempt at brand promotion. Smart phone applications can be very easily utilized as the digital equivalent of these giveaways. In fact, they have an edge over free pens and magnets since after the initial expenditure, smart phone applications are free to distribute, regardless of the number of copies that are made. They also have the advantage of being more permanent in nature, since they are installed on the user’s handset and do not go away unless they are deliberately uninstalled. Equipping smart phone application with complete contact details as well as links to other communication media such as websites and social media will serve as a permanent reminder of your company and its products, as well as provide a quick and easy way to gain access to required information about them. It can be thought of as providing your users a permanent business card for your business that they will then carry in their pockets.
There are also several ways in which apps can be developed to promote a company and its services. For example, a health studio may give out printed booklets with calorie counts, and banks and leasing companies have mortgage and loan calculator. All of this functionality can easily take the shape of an application that provides useful information, while at the same time referring the user to the company. For example, a health studio could come up with an application that allows a user to log exercise and food intake, along with estimates of the amount of weight loss, followed by a one liner stating “This is only an estimate. For more accurate calculations please contact us”.
The smart phone market is a relatively new one and there are many untapped opportunities that can be explored. When developing a mobile application for their brand or business, it is up to marketers to come up with innovative ideas for brand development and promotion.