Branding Tips for Smartphone Apps

Do you remember life before Instagram? Do you recall how you spent time before you were busy scrolling through photos and watching Instagram Stories? This app silently crept into our lives, and before we knew it, we couldn’t live without it.

It didn’t happen on its own, though. The brains behind this app put in the effort to make us dependent on it. According to Kevin Systrom, a co-founder of the photo-sharing platform, the app took only eight weeks to build, but it was the result of over a year of work. The developers wanted the app to stand out from other apps, so they focused on one thing: communicating through photos. Subsequently, they named the app to complement its purpose. The name Instagram is the amalgamation of two words: instant and telegram.

The reason for sharing the story of this famous app is to emphasize the importance of branding an app. Whether it’s a social media app such as Instagram or a simple game app (we’re all addicted to Candy Crush, aren’t we?), the packaging is important.

According to Statista, there are around 2.1 million apps for Android users and 1.8 million for Apple users. If you don’t want to be just another app on someone’s smartphone, you need to work on branding. The logo, content, user experience, and how you keep your users engaged all form a part of your brand. Here are six things that you can do to make sure your app is a success.

1. Choose a name and logo that make a great first impression.

Before you start thinking up branding ideas, you need to answer some basic questions such as, “What is the unique selling point of your app?” and “Who will be using it?”

To come up with a catchy name, you need to keep in mind the functionality of your app. If you choose a confusing name, chances are good that your app will get overlooked by your target audience when they’re searching for an app with that functionality. 

Research shows that 63% of apps are discovered through an app store. For this reason, it would be wise to incorporate keywords into the name. For example, the app Live Auction clearly states what it is about. But you also need to make sure the name is unique. If you try to be a copycat, you’ll definitely get lost among your competition.

The first impression also includes the logo, which is a cue that helps your target audience remember you. Your logo can be a simple symbol, like Instagram’s camera logo, or you can write the app name in a unique font.

2. Create a good user experience.

A brand isn’t just a logo and a name. It’s also about the experience you create for your app users. People remember how you make them feel. Good user experience means guaranteeing customer satisfaction.

To create a memorable user experience, you need to focus on the usefulness of your app. Cramming your app with features that users don’t need or deleting features without considering feedback from users are bad strategies. Nike made this mistake with its Nike+ Running app. The app had a loyal user base until it axed the features that made users stay with the app. This led to a backlash on social media and many people deleted the app.

3. Build a landing page.

A landing page is where your customers arrive when they click on your app. It should have a clear picture of your app and describe its best features so people don’t have to search your website to figure out what your app does. Add a newsletter signup field to the page. This will help you update interested customers in new developments and build a database for future email marketing campaigns.

Also consider building a pre-launch landing page to generate curiosity and hype among interested parties, which may include users, industry experts and other app developers. 

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4. Share an explainer video.

Videos are your gateway to new customers. In a recent survey, 48% of consumers said that they purchased a product because they saw a video about it on Instagram. According to LinkedIn, video content receives 20 times more shares than written content. Also, LinkedIn video ads have 50% more views. Airbnb has a good example of an effective explainer video. It tells users how the app works and addresses apprehensions its customers may have.

If you don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to reach users, make sure that you have a good explainer video ready for your app. Place it on the landing page of your website or in the app stores, and you’ll see your conversion rates shoot up. 

5. Get brand ambassadors.

Brand ambassadors are influential people from the community who are loyal to your app. They play a vital role in attracting customers, as 74% of consumers rely on word-of-mouth recommendations before making a purchase.

Apart from spreading the word about your app, brand ambassadors give potential users proof that your app is being used by real people. They can also be an excellent source for feedback about your app.

6. Leverage social media.

Once the app is launched, use sponsored ads on social media to promote your app. You can also work with social media influencers to reach your target audience. Encourage your top users to write reviews and then promote them on social media as proof that your app is making a difference in someone’s life.

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