Corporate mobile apps are more than marketing and communication tools which you offer your clients as alternate means of keeping in touch with you. They are – or definitely should be – fully integrated into your corporate identity strategy. Their design should comply with your company’s style guide. The way they work should represent the way the company represents itself in front of its clients. The strategy for encouraging prospects to download and install the app should be a part of the brand nurturing strategy.
Even though people consider hi-speed mobile data services as a regular necessity for participating in the social and business life around them, for corporate branding strategists, building a corporate identity for the mobile environment is still new territory.
A mobile app should represent and reflect the brand image just like any other digital property of the company.
Mobile apps are still viewed as “something extra” offered to customers and this is why some of the rigorous check-ups applied on every newsletter or landing page are skipped when it comes to planning and launching an app. But the truth is that a mobile app should represent and reflect the brand image just like any other digital property of the company. These are some of the main checks you should perform during the app planning and development stages to make sure that it is fully compliant with your brand image:
1. Style Guide Implementation
Building mobile apps is similar, technically speaking, to building a website. This is why you should start by checking that every element of the app, starting with the color palette and the typeface and going up towards the most specific elements of visual identity included in your style guide are rigorously implemented in the app design.
Even if app design is drastically minimal compared to web or print designs, any small diversion from your recognized brand image will chip away at your customers’ ability to recognize and connect with your brand.
2. Select a Main Function and Be Consistent
There are five main types of mobile apps, depending on what they focus on in relation with the user:
- Tool apps
- Game apps
- Social apps
- Design apps
- Sales apps
Before you start building your app, you have to decide which one of the above is its main function and scope. Depending on the function, your app will be built enhancing user experience, graphics, social media integration or mobile payment platforms. If you cannot offer your client clarity and simplicity from the first time they use your mobile app, their frustration will reflect negatively on your brand image.
3. Maintain a Consistent Tone
The mobile app should mimic the same kind of interaction your customers have with your customer service team, your website and your social media accounts. This means that the app developing team should work closely with your online marketing and social media monitoring teams, and find a way to implement your unique tone of voice in all the messages and prompts your mobile app user receives while using your app.
4. Consider Ways to Encourage Sharing
When you plan your social media and blog content, you pay close attention to the calls to action and the ways in which your followers can be persuaded to share it to their friends. This is how a brand grows in the online environment.
For the mobile environment, your main target is to persuade users to recommend your app to their friends and invite them to install it. Mobile referral programs can be integrated into your app, such as a prompt for the user after giving your app a 5-star rating to share his or her user experience with their friends, or special discount campaigns for mobile payment sales.
As a final thought, always make sure to update your mobile app after you implement changes into your corporate identity style guide and brand image. Your mobile app needs to be deeply connected with the rest of your branding strategy and grow together with it. In this way, your customers will be permanently aware of your brand and will be able to identify it throughout all your print or digital properties.