Mobile apps have become one of the quickest and most interactive streams of revenue for many companies. In some cases, entire businesses can be run through mobile apps. The success of other apps combined with the fact that mobile has overtaken desktop as the primary web device, inspires business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs to look to create their own apps. But that begs a question - what could your app actually do?
There are still plenty of businesses that operate daily with the help of shops, offices, websites, sales forces and conventional marketing methods without relying on mobile technology. These largely offline businesses might wonder what their app could do, particularly if it wasn’t designed to generate sales or revenue. However, mobile apps can help to increase customer engagement with your brand. Take a look at these forward-thinking companies that use mobile apps to create a buzz around their brand and engage with their audiences to amplify their offering.
Who doesn’t love what the team at Virgin come up with?! As one of the UK’s biggest brands, Virgin also leads by example when it comes to the innovative use of creative marketing campaigns. It embraces technology and immerses its customers in all things Virgin.
Virgin recently launched an app with a loyalty programme – Virgin Red. It collates discounts and deals on Virgin products, services and offers from partners too. You can book cheaper train tickets and airport lounges, buy a 2 for 1 cup of coffee or a box of wine – whatever you fancy! The app is used as a tool to invite people to engage with Virgin products and strengthen their brand loyalty.
Another side of the app is a treasure hunt; and we all love treasure hunts! Users are encouraged to look for golden coins that Richard Branson found on Necker Island. The coins give users chance to win various prizes and even a trip to the Necker Island and meet the billionaire himself!
Every day, the app displays a clue as to where the golden coin is hidden. Most of these are references to Virgin products – holidays, bank, airline outlets and more. It’s a great way of embedding the brand and its various channels in an interactive way. For example, people are encouraged to follow Virgin Money on Twitter or walk into the Virgin Holidays store for the secret code.
Virgin has millions of customers across the UK and while they don’t need to necessarily purchase anything from the app, it’s an innovative way to get people engaging with the brand on multiple channels.
The Rock Clock
The famous WWE wrestler and actor, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, recently released his own alarm clock, to help users complete goals and even wake up at the same time as him. The Rock encourages fans to be more proactive to succeed in whatever they’re doing, and this app is a tool to help them.
It allows to set an alarm for any goal and select different ringtones, such as The Rock singing ‘Good Morning Sunshine’. When it rings, there’s no snooze button so the user just has to get up and switch it off. Every morning, The Rock uploads a motivational (or sometimes promotional) video to the app to encourage his fans to carry on with their efforts. This adds a layer of personalisation and makes it less automated, as well as allowing to engage with The Rock and follow his activities.
A mobile app like the Rock Clock is fun and transfers The Rock’s charismatic and inspiring personality very well. The app gained over a million users in its first week. If you’re using it, you will probably watch his upcoming films and any wrestling-related activities too.
Nike+ running app
For any runners out there, being able to track progress and distance is really motivating. Nike saw an opportunity to offer these capabilities through its running app – Nike+. It displays routes, tracks miles, speed, calories and time, as well as allowing to sync music and even change it according to the speed. Users can even play power songs for extra motivation. The app offers a great way of keeping track of your progress and comparing it to previous runs. Nike+ users can also connect with others by creating a profile on the Nike website and share their routes and results online.
Since its launch in 2010, the Nike+ app has gained over 18 million users and a growing online community.2 There’s no in-app purchasing involved, but the brand awareness is growing amongst those users. Add to that the fact that the audience is made of up target customers for Nike, and there’s a clear value in increasing brand recall and engagement.
Give something back
If you’re not sure about what your app should do, think of it as an extension of your brand and consider how it could help the user, and your customers, to feel engaged with your brand. All of these apps offer something to the users, whether it’s discounts or helping with practical tasks, such as waking up or running. This is what engages consumers and maintains their loyalty so they stick to the app and brand longer. If you’re struggling to find an idea of how to monetise an app, make it useful and interactive for your target audience.