Mobile apps and brand engagement

Brand owners face a daunting challenge today: how do I engage with my consumer across so many channels & media? Brand presence in social media has become de rigueur for several years now to address this issue. Add engagement through mobile, especially mobile apps and the task is even more challenging.

Consumers are in love with their mobile phones and apps play an important role in that experience. Flurry Analytics reported in November 2014 that time spent on mobile devices grew in the US by 9.3% – from 2 hrs and 42 minutes to 2 hrs and 57 minutes – all in 9 months. ComScore reported in August last year that mobile apps account for a majority of our time spent (higher than desktop usage or mobile web surfing) on digital media. But there is a caveat to such usage: consumers have a limited repertoire of apps they turn to most often. A majority of the apps downloaded may be used very rarely, which does not help in brand engagement if brand owners are considering bespoke apps.

So how do we overcome this problem? Turns out that if the app is of some use (utility, productivity or entertainment value) chances of the app being used are higher. Of course, that is no magic pill either. There are issues of app discovery, relevance and promotion which come into play. In this context, what furniture major, IKEA created recently represents out of the (app) box thinking. They did not create an app in the classical sense but created a keyboard shortcut, IKEA Emoticons, which functions as a communication tool. The link to the brand? Most of the icons relate to the home: couches, shelfs, drawers and so on.

Games are another great way to engage with consumers through bespoke creations with a strong link to the brand essence. Compared to traditional advertising, advergaming has a better chance of engaging with the consumer as gaming is an inherently immersive activity.

Brands need the right partner to create engaging mobile apps which help in deepening the consumer relationship. It calls for sound strategy, a robust process and a capable design team. If you are a brand owner seriously considering a bespoke mobile app, why not write to us? We will be happy to engage in a conversation.

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Lakshmipathy Bhat VP - Marketing Communications. He is an ex-advertising professional, new media enthusiast and an avid blogger.

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