Branding, the App Store and Your Mobile App Marketing

I recently talked about the importance of consistent branding in your mobile app design. Today I’ll talk about how equally vital it is that your branding be clear and consistent in the App Store as well.

Franchisees: get ‘em in line

If your brand has franchises, it’s essential that they adhere to the same mobile app brand guideline your in-house apps do. Discoverability is a huge concern for any brand, but becomes exponentially harder when customers don’t know what to look for.

For example, when I search for Hyundai on the App Store this comes up in the search:

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I think this speaks for itself. Brand Managers, you must get franchisees in line and require compliance with your Mobile App Brand Guideline. 

What’s in a name?

Most users don’t want to read long app descriptions to know if this is the app they need. It is essential your app name clearly communicate the job it does for the customer. If not, you risk being passed over. For larger brands with multiple apps like (Google, McDonalds, Ford, Toyota, 3M or H&R Block to name a few) it’s even more important to have a proper name to help drive users to the correct app.

Global cross-publishing

If you search the US App Store for McDonald’s, you’ll find apps intended for Sverige (Sweden), UK, Egypt, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Uwanna, Poland, Italy, Turkey, Brazil, Ukraine, Guatemala and Finland – and that’s in addition to apps for the US. Why are so many multinational brand’s publishing non-US apps in the US app store? They add to an already cluttered search with useless and confusing apps. Moving these apps to their respective App Stores eliminates confusion.

Publish under the brand’s account

McDonald’s Happy Apples (another Egyptian app in the US App Store) was published by Digital Republic, McDonald’s Egyptian agency, McDonald’s BR was published by Arcos Derados Latin America, and McD App published by Mowing instead of the McDonald’s Corporation. Did you get all that?

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There are several issues with this process: in a sea of keyword bombing (more on that next) consumers are easily confused as to what is a legitimate brand app and what is an impostor. Having the app published by the brand immediately legitimizes it. Further, users can click to see more from the app publisher which helps cross-sell your brand apps. If you let your agency release under their brand your app will be one of dozens of other apps (including your competitors’) that the agency’s released.

If an app is released by your brand’s agency there are serious risks. The app is not under your control. Should things go south with the agency, will they go through the long and complicated manual process with Google and Apple to transfer the app? Not to mention the fact that if the agency lets their developer account become delinquent Apple will remove the app (we watched this happen to large brand… not pretty.)

Don’t tolerate Keyword Bombing

Dunkin’ Donuts is a major player in the mobile market, and they have one really amazing app. Yet a name search produces nearly 30 apps that are squatting on their name. Some apps even look and feel like an official brand app.

These squatters dilute your mobile branding with inferior apps, and confuse (in many cases even trick) the customer into downloading them over your brand app. Most importantly, this keyword bombing it is a violation of Google Play’s and Apple’s App guidelines. You should aggressively police Google Play and The App Store and immediately report apps that are out of compliance. This is your brand and you were charged to protect it.

There are 1.5 million apps in the App Store, and getting yours into the right hands is even harder than you think. Establishing and maintaining clear and unbreakable guidelines helps make this Herculean task a little easier.

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