Thursday 27 March, 2014

Branded Mobile Utility Apps – Ideas that Might Fit Your Business Model

Branded mobile apps are offered by companies in order to build brand awareness. They give people something to do that engages them while also delivering the company’s brand message. This is a huge trend in the marketing world and it gets results. Everybody’s going mobile and companies need to take advantage of this trend.

The Two Purposes of Mobile Apps

There are two different purposes that apps go for. One is to entertain; the other is to make life easier for their users.

Entertainment apps are great at engaging your customers. There’s nothing like a fun, addictive game to keep people using your app. The only problem with entertainment-based apps is that they’re not always good at delivering the brand message. People get so caught up playing with them that they might not get it.

Utility-based apps are less sexy but they deliver the brand message more clearly. They provide something the mobile user needs and this need is connected to the brand.

Building the Best App

The best way to create a utility-based app that will really help out your customers is to ask yourself a few simple questions to get started:

  • What information does your customer need from you?
  • What service do they want or need that can be delivered on a mobile device?
  • How can you make whatever they do easier for them?

A great example of a mobile utility app is iFood Assist, an app offered by Kraft. Using iFood Assist, you can browse recipes by category or ingredients. Most of these meals also make use of Kraft’s products (how clever!). You can save and manage the recipes you like and the app also gives you coupons for Kraft goods.

You can see how this makes life easier for the user but also ties in closely to Kraft’s brand message, which is that cooking should be easy.

Good Utility App Ideas

Of course, your utility app needs to be totally original, but here are a few helpful suggestions.

Let’s say that you have a sandwich shop. You can offer an app that gives them an online menu where they build their own sandwiches from bread to condiments. They can then order the sandwich through their phone whenever they’re ready. By the time they get to your shop, it’s made for them.

A sporting goods store can offer information on local weather, sunshine, wind conditions and other information that the sports enthusiast needs to know. The app can let them custom-tailor their information for the particular sport they’re looking for (for example, snowfall data for snowboarders).

You can take advantage of GPS tracking and other features that are exclusive to mobiles. If you sell fishing gear, use GPS to tell them all the local fishing areas. You can create a search app that finds reviews of these fishing spots for them so they can decide which to hit when they’re already halfway there.

If you have a t-shirt shop, you can offer an app that lets them design their own shirt. This can be for any type of shop that offers custom-designed goods. Like the sandwich shop above, the app then lets them order it directly so that it can be waiting for them.

The whole idea is to deliver the information they need and tie it in with your brand somehow. This is the perfect balance of getting them engaged and spreading your brand awareness.

Bob Steele

Bob Steele

Bob Steele is an entrepreneur, software developer, marketer, and author living in the Denver metropolitan area. He’s an avid outdoorsman who loves skiing, hiking, fishing, boating, and just plain having fun. His interests include games, space, technology, physics, cooking (well eating actually), economics, business, internationalism, and team sports. With over thirty years of professional consulting experience, Bob has been exposed to many diverse business models and has gained a sensible approach to life. Bob’s company, WaveCentric is focused on commerce, marketing, and entertainment related products.

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