8 Pillars of Branding an App

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It is a known fact that the number of mobile phone users has grown exponentially over the years, and with this the number of mobile apps has also increased. According to Statista, there are over 20 million mobile apps today, and you can find an app for almost everything. Think of anything and chances are there would be an app for that – from communication, news, gaming, writing, ride-hailing, food-delivery, sports, weather, banking, music, video-streaming, shopping, and the list can go on forever. We download and use so many of apps daily to do things conveniently. Just open your smartphone and see, you might also have at least 10 apps on your phone right now.

With millions of existing apps and more apps being launched every day, the mobile app ecosystem is growing rapidly. Which means it is not easy for new apps to grow and reach their audience. Either you are a small startup business that wants to launch a new mobile-only app, or if you are an already established business that wants to launch a mobile app as an extension of the brand, it is important for you to know how to market your app to the users. And app branding is what helps you do that!

So, if you want to know how to strategically brand an app, then you’re at the right place. This article is your guide to how app branding works and what are the key pillars of app branding. Continue reading to find out about the 8 most important aspects of app branding.

Here are the 8 pillars of App Branding!

A successful app branding strategy consists of the following elements:

#1. Bug-Free App Experience

It is a known fact that a good app is the one that performs well. It is crucial to attract users and build brand loyalty. If your app is sluggish and faulty then you are going to lose your customers to competitor apps out there that perform better. So, the cornerstone of app branding is to have an app that accomplishes what it is intended for and guarantees that the users have a smooth and bug-free experience at all times. For example, if it is a photo-editing app, then it is crucial for its success that it performs smoothly so that the users can complete the process of photo-editing without the app crashing or failing.

Ensuring a bug-free experience has more to do with the design and development aspect of the app. Nonetheless, it is very important for a successful branding strategy. The key to having a fully-functioning application is to work closely with technical experts. Either you have an internal team of developers and designers, or if you have outsourced the job to a mobile app development company, you need to work closely with them to develop and design an application that performs error-free and guarantees a bug-free user experience.

#2. Recognizable logo and Icon

A brand logo and the icon for its mobile app are both central to the strategy of creating and promoting a brand. It is important to have a correlation between the two so that together they form the brand identity. Your app icon can be a part of your brand’s logo or it can be some other related symbol, sign, or letter. For example, for Facebook, the app icon is the letter ‘f’ that is part of the brand logo. And for Twitter, the app icon is a bird symbol which correlates with the brand logo.

For an app to stand out from the competitor mobile applications, it should have a unique and recognizable icon – a symbol or sign that becomes the brand identity. So much so, that people can immediately recognize the brand just by looking at the icon. Snapchat’s mobile application is a great example of this. The brand’s signature animated logo and app icon of a white ghost on a neon yellow background is representative of Snapchat’s brand. The logo is unique and recognizable that it can hardly be confused with any other brand or app.

Therefore, having a creative and unique brand logo and app icon can make your mobile application be successful and stand out.

#3. User-centric design

Branding and design go hand-in-hand. For a good brand image, it is important to have an app with user-centric design. So, what is a user-centric design you must be thinking? An app that is designed keeping in mind the customers, their preferences and experience, is called to have a user-centric design. Your customers who will use your app are the most important stakeholders and their experience should matter the most and you should design your app such that it is easily usable and appealing for the users.

There are a few ways you can ensure that your app has a user-centric design, such as conducting user research and analysis before designing the application and performing user testing before the app is launched. With user research, you can gather the requirements of your customers. For example, if you want to launch a photo-editing mobile app then you can conduct a user-research to find out what editing tools the users want, what features they like from your competitor’s apps and what they don’t, etc. This way you can develop and design an app that the users want, which increases your brand’s chances of success.

#4. Social Network and App sharing

The more your users refer and share your app with others, the better it is for your brand. That is why an app sharing feature is important for your branding strategy. You should link your social media profiles in your app and request users to subscribe or follow them. You should also ask them to share the app on their social media and refer it to their friends. Users should also have the option to share information through other channels such as email and text messages.

The more information your users share the more promotion your brand will receive. Therefore, you can also choose a strategy to offer incentives to your users in exchange of sharing your application, for example, a discount, gift or some other benefit so that they share the app with others.

#5. Consistent design

To create a strong visual brand identity, it is important that all the fundamental elements of design are consistent, such as the scale, font size, typography, colour, shapes, texture, and theme. When the design is cohesive and consistent with the brand identity it reinforces the brand image and makes it stronger. For example, for the brand of Facebook, the signature dark blue colour, white font style of the logo, mini animations and other design elements are consistently used everywhere, within their mobile app, website, and across all the individual pages within them. This is an example of good branding because their consistent use has made these elements a distinct and signature design identity of Facebook’s brand.

#6. Keywords

Anyone familiar with the field of Search Engine Optimizations (SEO) and content creation, know how important keywords are to reach a greater number of online users. In a similar manner, keywords are important for app branding as well, because using the right keywords will describe your product or service to the customers and those who are looking for an app like yours will be easily able to find your app.

There are 2 different types of keywords: Brand keywords and Descriptor keywords.

  1. Brand keywords, are combination of words that will help users find your app. For example, Facebook, Facebook app, Facebook mobile app, and so on are examples of keywords that people will use to find the Facebook app on a search engine. Some extended versions of brand keywords like Facebook social-networking app, Facebook app for iOS, Facebook for android and so on are also important. These brand keywords should be used on your app store page or landing website so that those who search these can find your application.
  2. Descriptor keywords, on the other hand, are used to convey your brand’s message and describe it. For example, you can use keywords like free, easy, entertaining, exclusive, global, helpful, etc. to describe your app to the users and grab their attention.

Using the right keywords can greatly increase the reach of your app, therefore, keywords should be thoughtfully used for branding your app.

#7. Catchy Tagline

There is no denying that visual design is important for brand identity, but taglines can also play a huge role in the brand’s success. Catchy brand taglines like ‘Just Do It’ for Nike or ‘Nothing is Impossible’ for Adidas are examples of how a phrase becomes a brand’s identity. Similarly, having a catchy tagline for your mobile app can grab users’ attention and describe the app. Every popular mobile application has a tagline, such as Instagram’s “Capture and Share the World’s Moments” or Youtube’s “Broadcast Yourself”. So, branding an app means that you should have a catchy tagline.

#8. Landing Page

For mobile app branding and building an online presence for your app, it is crucial to have a landing page. Landing pages are designed for search engine traffic and a landing page for an app helps users find the app. If the app is for an already present business that has an existing website then you can create a separate page focusing on the app. Or even if it is a mobile-only app you can have a landing page that can guide visitors about how to install the app and provide information about the features and functions, and offer customer support. For example, Uber is a mobile-only app but nonetheless, Uber’s landing page is a great example of good branding. It is a simple website that describes the brand, provides information about sign-up and installation.

Final Thoughts!

Mobile app branding plays an important part in the overall success of your mobile app. And to have an effective app branding strategy it is important to put think about all the aspects such as design, user experience, consistency, landing website, tagline, keywords, logo and icons. A well thought out branding strategy that is consistent with the brand identity can your app stand out from the millions of apps out there.

About the Author!

Emily Williamson is a Technical Writer at Goodcore Software. It is a bespoke software development company in the UK. We focused on helping entrepreneurs, small, and medium businesses create competitive and winning software. I’m passionate about exploring and writing about technology innovation, mobile apps and software solutions.

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