Your branded app checklist
Mistakes like the ones mentioned on the previous page are easy to avoid. You just need to be aware of why you're doing everything you're doing as you create the app. To make sure that happens, I always go through this five-point checklist to ensure my clients are on track.
Why are we building this?
What's the ultimate business goal here? Is it as simple as creating buzz or driving more traffic? Or are we trying to shift perception, increase loyalty, or introduce a new product line? The actual reason itself is far less important than actually having one that everyone in the room can agree on.
What's our success metric?
Number of downloads is never my measure of choice; it's just too easy to game. You want your metrics to tie back directly to your goals. They need to answer the question, "Why are we building this?"
What unmet need are we looking to meet?
Users need a reason to download the app. "Because it makes me smile, and I like things that make me smile" can be a valid reason, but it never hurts to do a little research to confirm the consumer need before the project starts.
Are we putting enough time and money against user experience and design?
Companies that think nothing about spending $400,000 to produce a single TV commercial regularly balk at spending $400 for a few hours of user experience expert or design advice. Given how critical these two disciplines are, you can file that under "penny wise, pound foolish."
How do we plan to promote this?
As I noted earlier, the "Field of Dreams" approach no longer works. You've got to aggressively promote your new app, and using paid media should definitely be one of the approaches you consider. You've spent time and effort creating the app. Why not spend some money to let people know about it? But whether your plan is for paid media, earned media, or word of mouth, you do need to let people know about it.
So there you have it: all of the reasons you shouldn't build an app, and a list of checkpoints if you decide you should. The key question to keep in mind should always be "why?" As in "why are we doing this?"
If you can answer that credibly and successfully, your chances for success are quite good.
Alan Wolk is managing director of social media strategy for KickApps.
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