Consistent Branding in Mobile App Development and Design
All too often brands forget that their mobile apps need the same careful and meticulous branding as any other of their advertising channels.
Your brand works hard to maintain a consistent, well-defined identity, so users can easily recognize you, keep you top-of-mind and form a lasting relationship. But all too often brands forget that their mobile apps need the same careful and meticulous branding as any other of their advertising channels.
These three steps can help you maintain the integrity of your branding, and help you release the right app:
1. Strategy, strategy, strategy
I can’t stress this enough. Even one badly planned, one-off app negatively impacts your brand and confuses your customers. Having an Enterprise Mobile App strategy is absolutely essential. The strategy should clearly outline the problems your brand solves for your customers and how your app provides those solutions.
Once established, the strategy should be reviewed and refined until the CMO and CTO both sign off and provide their support for the Mobile App Strategic Roadmap. For multi-nationals there’s an often difficult added layer: you must get buy-in from Global HQ.
After you have full leadership buy-in you need to socialize this strategy with IT, marketing, Global HQ and all third-party mobile vendors.
Take advantage of your Brand Management team to help make sure your app is positioned correctly, is in line with the needs of your target demographic, and maintains the emotional connection with your customers you’ve worked so hard to build.
Maintaining a clear direction prevents individual teams, departments or vendors from releasing apps that serve only their needs and not the overall needs of your brand or your customers.
2. Establish a Mobile Style Guide
Remember there are now 1.5+ million apps in the US App Store, and a million+ apps in Google Play.
A mobile copy/creative style guide should be established to ensure that all your mobile apps have clear and consistent app titles, user interface design, standardized user flows, nomenclature, tone and icon design.
These are the key to maintaining appropriate brand messaging and critical to ensuring your app is discoverable and clearly identifiable with your brand.
Apps like Subaru’s Gs Your Face, their and Hyundai’s horrendous Walking Dead Chop Shop have exceptionally poor branding, with icons that bear no relation to their brands, and naming that gives customers no hints as to the maker. They also all happen to be terrible, ill-conceived apps.
With the ultra-rapid evolution of both iOS and Android Mobile App platforms these style guides should be reviewed and revised in time with iOS’ and Android’s annual release updates.
3. Create a Mobile App Standards Review Committee
It can be difficult to keep your IT, MarComm, Global HQ and a host of mobile app partners all on message. As a result, a global Mobile App Review Committee is essential. Make the committee an integral part of the process from the start to avoid off-brand missteps.
Present comp, copy and wireframe reviews as well as end of sprint release reviews. Involving them throughout the process ensures apps are staying on brand and within strategic guidelines, and that needed revision can be done early and well before release.