American Marketer


Four standout expectations from branded apps: Part 2

March 28, 2012


By Frank Defino Jr.

Many marketers are looking for creative ways to capitalize on the growing trend toward mobile devices. Creating an application is a great way to get your brand in front of mobile users, but only if it creates a positive user experience for those who download it.

In part 1 of this series, I talked about two important user expectations to keep in mind when creating your branded app:

• First, users download apps because they want to make it easy to do things on the go, not just because they want to interact with your brand.

• Second, users want to be able to do something with their apps that they cannot do just by going online.

Here are two additional key user expectations you will want to be sure to meet with your branded app:

Expectation 3: Users want apps that are intuitive and simple to use
If your app is getting in the way of your consumer, then you have failed right off the bat.

What we mean by that is a good app needs to do exactly what you say it will do while providing a completely transparent and seamless experience.

Too often, mobile apps get cluttered, confusing your user and potentially leading them to delete your app.

For example, a navigation that is not well-thought-out could frustrate the user.

Your interface needs to feel completely natural to your user, and one way to gauge this is to watch how a child intuitively interacts with technology.

Ease of use was certainly a large part of the design genius that has brought huge success for both the iPhone and iPad.

A great app should have the same fluid, easy to use and aesthetically pleasing design as the iPad.

An example of getting it right?

Although not promoting a brand, Where To? is an app that exemplifies a highly intuitive and simple interface.

Getting from your current location to local points of interest could not be easier than with the Where To? app, which will take you where you want to go without any typing. It also puts a map, turn-by-turn directions, and ratings and reviews just a touch away.

Expectation 4: Users prefer apps that have recurrent value—giving them a reason to use the app again and again
An app that only offers a one-time benefit will not last long on a mobile device.

One of the reasons that many news and weather apps are very popular is that they offer recurrent value because every time they are used they provide new content.

Making sure your branded app has recurrent value is an important way to keep your brand in front of those who download it.

Keep in mind recurrent value is not limited to new content either.

A good app has to be maintained and updated on a regular basis to get rid of any bugs in the system, as well as adding new features as technology continues to advance.

An example of getting it right?

Kraft’s iFood Assistant brings 1 -2-3 recipes, food preparation how-to videos, a shopping list builder and coupons straight to your smartphone.

The app offers recurrent value every time you plan a meal or shop for groceries and will even direct you to the nearest store and the aisle in which you can locate your ingredients.

With the continued rise and popularity of smartphones and tablet computers, apps provide an important shortcut for engaging mobile consumers with your brand.

Ensuring that your branded app meets and exceeds the expectations of mobile consumers is essential for your app to deliver a customer experience that will enhance your brand’s value.

Frank Defino Jr. is vice president and managing director of Tukaiz, a marketing services production company in Franklin Park, IL. Reach him at