Back in October, I had the privilege of presenting at the MXM Branded App Show Off during Ad Week. http://www.mediacrossmedia.com/mxm_series/nyc/oct_1_2012_branded_app/. Matt Snyder has been doing a great job in establishing the Mobile Monday’s event – and seeding the mobile community here in NY. He worked with the different mobile associations of NYC and put together this event specifically for Advertising Week. According to his YouTube page, “the goal of this event is to create an opportunity for the community to learn about the best Apps for brand marketing build by developers, agencies and marketers in NYC”. The event featured 7 different Branded Apps presented to the audience while being moderated by a panel of 8 judges. The event took place at Union Square Ball Room on Oct 1st 2012.
Here’s a recap of the event: (you can also see some photos of the event on his Facebook page here. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.436505746386162.89136.151610504875689&type=1
There were roughly 600 people in attendance. The 7 app presenters were apparently selected from roughly 50 registrants. The parameters for consideration were that the apps being showcased had to be designed for the purposes of promoting a specific brand – and for building the business of said brand. The event kicked off with a standard opening networking reception and bar schmooze – followed by intros from the hosts. Next were the presentations/demos – in a “battle of the brand” type showcase – by the selected Branded App presenters – that were moderated by a panel of judges:
- David Berkowitz- 360i
- Scott Jensen – MTV
- Taynah Reis – GDI
- Andrew Reis – SamStella
- Jake Ward – App Developers Alliance
- Timothy Ware – WSJ
- Chad Mumm – The Verge
- Richard Ting – R/GA
The 7 Branded App presenters were:
- Northface – Northface was the winner of this App –Off event.
- Duracell Powermat- Powermaster app – Provides a means by which consumers can not only monitor their current battery power, but also allows users to find Powermat HotSpot locations nearby AND also “nominate” places that they want to be HoptSpot enabled. This is a Social Gaming feature that drives advocacy and recruits users as a part of a grid-building movement to spread the word of wireless power. It features full social integrations and a badge winning program with leaderboard.
- Disney Parks – This app won the “Audience Award”.
- Girl Scouts
Each presenter walked the panel through the app and its features and were asked to focus on these points in the presentation:
- What were the core business goals for the app?
- What you did to build the Brand, and achieve those goals
- What was the effect of your efforts- brand value
- Any audience or ROI figures you could share
- Did your brand marketing effort lead to actual purchases or sales of the product and why.
- How did awareness get converted into ( for example) intent, purchase, support, loyalty and advocacy for the Brand.
- Any lessons learnt
Overall, it was a pretty diverse grouping of brands and approaches. Overall, what was clear is that mobile apps are still a tactic that demands innovation. Just making an app is no longer enough. I see 7 key things that are MUSTs for successful apps:
Content – App must either solve a real problem for the user – or must be a highly addictive time waster.
Functionality- Simply put, the app must work. i.e., if there’s a bar code scanner- it should open smoothly and connect to the desired content with no hiccups or issues; if it’s got an mCommerce store, it needs to close the sale for the user seamlessly and smoothly.
Design- it has to look good. Apps are getting sexier and sexier – and consumers want innovation and sleek design.
Usability – Kind of like Functionality – but this is more about how intuitive the app is – button sizes, locations of elements, user flow from screen to screen – placement of content on screen, etc.
Information Architecture – The logic of the navigation needs to be well thought out so it syncs up in a natural flow.
User Input- It needs to be easy for users to enter information into the app where required. Some apps are now auto-filling content or have great image recognition technology that can read credit cards.
Mobile Context – Where and when is the user using the app? Does the app take into consideration the location/time/activity/history/preferences of the user? This makes the app experience more personal and relevant.
Trust – Security – Does the user feel comfortable entering data into the app? How will it be used?