International Data Corporation predicts that the number of mobile application downloads worldwide will grow from 10.9 billion in 2010 to 76.9 billion in 2014. The market intelligence company also anticipates mobile app revenues will surpass $35 billion in 2014.
Ever since the iPhone introduced the app store into their mobile repertoire, it has opened the floodgates to an entirely new arena for businesses to compete in. Not only are companies figuring out how to engage and inform their targeted clientele through mobile development, they are exploring the financial “app”ortunity from creating a successfully branded app.
“Sure, apps are cool—but where is the financial benefit from it?” This is a continuous battle between companies and their decision of whether to adopt this new technology. In order to shed some light on why the answer for these indecisive corporations is a “HELL YES!,” this is where we are going to emphasize the importance of branded applications.
Companies world-wide have adopted this advantageous advertising, giving them the leg up on the competition. By taking your brand and amalgamating it among an application interface, you are left with a business to technology hybrid. Your company’s application will make your brand incessantly accessible, subconsciously advertising your product or services constantly.
Sound little over the top? Let’s take a look at some of these companies who took advantage of this business “app”ortunity, and are now reaping the benefits from it. These are some of 2010’s top applications, as well as some of our personal favorites over at Brand Advance.
Kraft recognized the advantages of the app store’s growing market; and in 2008 conceived their app child ifood Assistant. Since iFood Assistant’s conception, it has made iTunes’ list of top 100 paid apps as well as being featured in their Lifestyle section. The brand informs its target market of useful recipes by category, while also providing shopping lists (which conveniently have Kraft products peppered throughout). The application even provides a recipe box, allowing you to save these Kraft recipes—nearly guaranteeing future Kraft purchases. Kraft has said that more than 60% of the people, who have downloaded the app since it hit the market, are still interacting with it today. ;The company maximizes its ROI by featuring Kraft-intensive recipes, and gaining loyalty through coupon distribution through their app. All-in-all Kraft has successfully done what the other recipe guru, epicurios, has done, but is using it to their advantage.
REI being the winter extraordinaire for outdoor sports decided it was their turn to stake their territory on the mobile mountain with their Snow and Ski Report by REI application. This application offers real time insight to skiers favorite ski resort and slope conditions. Even as a Floridian, this app was my best friend while on my winter get-away in the Rocky’s. The second I landed in Denver, I used this app to check the snow reports, five day forecast and resort conditions. Instantly decided that my wimpy Florida blood was going to need some serious extra body heat and used the app to direct me to the nearest REI. An hour later, I had myself some new gloves and hand warmers; and REI had another sale. Isn’t technology amazing?
This is one of my all-time favorites (and not just because its located across the street from the office). Chipotle is the “fast-food” restaurant that has done it right. Already a quick in and out dining experience, Chipotle has made it even faster. This chain had already won my heart with its group ordering option on their website; but the phone app sealed the deal. Now, when I find my inner burrito screaming out, rather than going to Moe’s, I instantly open my Chipotle app, find a location near me, and enter in my order. With my payment information already logged in, the only thing left for me to do is by-pass the line and pick up my delicious burrito bowl! Hungry yet?
This is a web-based music site giving visitors the option to create free playlists, rather than a random commercial ridden selection (Pandora, cough cough) that has now made itself even more accessible with its app for android (note: if your iphone has been jailbroken, then you too can enjoy the melodies of grooveshark). For a mere $5 per month, you can have unlimited access to any, and all, the music that you desire…you can see why the iphone hasn’t adopted the app yet, in fear of it competing with their beloved itunes’ sales.
This I thought was a brilliant way to keep the essence of a brand alive through the use of applications. With the onset of an increased decline in smokers over the past few years, Zippo has seen a dramatic decline in their own quintessential and personality plated lighters–famous among rockers and concert attendees. In order to overcome the deterioration of lighter sales, Zippo kept the essence alive by tapping into the underlying nostalgia behind their brand by developing an app that gives you the opportunity to choose from hundreds of lighter designs. Now, while everyone else are swaying their boring cell phones in the air at a concert, you can rock your personalized Zippo lighter…and for just 99 cents you can buy one for each of your favorite bands.
This app I found featured on mashable, and had to throw in there to show off this company’s innovation in applying social to a stereotypically stale business environment. As a credit card company, Barclaycard figured out a way to make credit advertising entertaining again. With the positive feedback coming in from their fun and playful tv commercial, they decided to piggyback off that momentum to create a business app. They figured, why not let everyone have a go. So now, by downloading their extreme waterslide, you can experience the fun for yourself as you collect objects and avoid obstacles. To date, about 17 million people have downloaded the branded waterslide, encouraging Barclay to download a rollercoaster version—which has been downloaded 9.7 million time since July.
For all of you baseball fans out there, MLB went above and beyond to keep us in the know. Winning the Best Mobile Video and Best iPad Branded App at the 2010 MOBI Awards, MLB.com app caters to the fans. Basically, the MLB app provides a glorified subscription to their MLB.TV, giving us full access to live video and local audio coverage, as well as video archives, game standings and other stats. So now when I need to check out how my Red Sox are doing, I’m just one Fenway Frank away from being at the real thing.