Brand strategy insights: the effects of an app on the perceived value of your brand
Would you be able to estimate the value of your brand?
I give you the answer: no. This is because I have not specified from what point of view. The financial value of your brand, in fact, may often not overlap the value that your customers associate with your brand, which is why we talk about two distinct concepts: Brand Value and Brand Equity.
The Brand Value refers to the financial value of your label, this is how much your actions are worth on the market for interested buyers.
The Brand Equity, in a completely different way, refers to the value perceived by your customers, in a mix of trust, credibility, perception (which can be positive or negative) and sensations that your label conveys.
Certainly, the one affects the other when increasing, but the first one you can leverage with your app is definitely the Brand Equity. Read how.
First Step: Brand Recognition
If I told you about a carbonated drink, served in a glass bottle with a red label on it, does it ring a bell? That is the Brand Recognition. It is the ability of consumers to recognize a brand by being subjected to a stimulus (in the example that I gave you, the stimulus is visual, because it is as if I had shown you that bottle).
Therefore, in this case, the consumer recognizes the brand upon solicitation.
Of course, being able to build such value around your brand that your products are immediately associated with you is not a walk in the park. But an app can come to your aid thanks to:
Social Media integration
Integrating an app with the most famous and important Social Media is surely more effective than the same integration to the web. This happens because it is much more difficult for someone to think of sharing a link on Instagram from desktop, and even via the mobile web, the time required to load each page could discourage the user. The in-app experience, on the other hand, being the app itself fast, smart and fully user-friendly, is able to increase the satisfaction of users, who will be more likely to share a product, an offer or news from the app directly to their friends. They just enter the app and with a single click access their favorite articles, send a product to their best friends and ask them for an opinion about it, through any instant messaging app. From the word-of-mouth created, your brand will begin to enjoy an ever greater fame, becoming more and more easily recognizable.
It is important to conceive meticulously every message you decide to send to your users. It is also important to personalize each communication, so that they are sure that what they read has been designed specifically for them. But what if I told you that there is one small detail that can play an even more important role? I am talking about the icon that appears in each notification (in the lock screen, when the phone is locked, or in the top bar, when the phone is in use). Seeing your logo, for example, as the symbol that represents the notification itself, immediately stimulates your user, who in a few milliseconds will associate that notification with your shop. Over time, this association will get stronger and stronger, and when combined with highly inspiring and positive messages (such as tempting offers) users will begin to recognize and talk about you.
Your symbol, everywhere
In order to stimulate an immediate association with your brand, it is vital for your users to see a few but recurring concepts. Let me remind you for a second about the example of the bottle that I gave you at the beginning, to render the idea very trivially. How much more difficult would it be to make an association in your mind between the product and its brand, if the producers of that drink had continually changed the color of the label, or had abandoned the glass bottle over time? You will agree with me that the brand identity would be gone in the blink of an eye, and it is essential that this does not happen, when you want to leverage a Brand Recognition. Speaking of a digital product, it must be considered that it is not only the shape of the product or its packaging that contribute to this identity. Think about the importance of an integrated communication, the same applies to your image. An ADV that invites users to download your app, highlights the symbol of your shop, your logo, which is the same whether users browse the home page of your site or interact with your app. Everything is linear and coherent and an app is nothing more than an additional tool that transmits your image to people. An additional touchpoint or, as I would define it, an additional “reminder” of your product / service always at their screen. Being surrounded by this image will help them remember you.
Second Step: Brand Recall
The Brand Recall is the augmentation of the Brand Recognition. It is the ability of consumers to recall your label in their minds when they need a specific product. In other words, it is the reputation level of your label among them.
In this case, on the contrary of the subject that I introduced before, I am referring to a situation where a consumer recognizes the brand spontaneously, without being solicited.
Even here, an app can be an optimum ally.
One of the most common used techniques to estimate the level of Brand Recall related to a brand is by making surveys and interviews. Asking the consumer “If you think of the product Y, what brands come to your mind?” is useful to investigate how deep is the emotional bond with some company. Nowadays, there are such many alternatives on the market that choosing one immediately is hard. People tend to make use of their short-period memory: “Who did I buy that product from the last time?” or “Did I see that product recently? Where?”. Hence, imagine now being on the consumers’ smartphones with an app. How easier would it be for them to think of you when answering those questions? A website requires to be searched for, an app is always before their eyes.
When they need to make a purchase, users use their memory to search through the drawers in their brains all the alternatives to choose from. There are producers that they had dealt with in the past having satisfying results, and that they could choose to buy again from. Or those ones that they had only heard speaking of, to whom it is maybe time to give a chance. In both cases, the experience that the users are going to make will be a crucial piece to build their future “experience memory”, that will play, in turn, a key role in the decision-making process of next purchases. For this reason, an app is unmissable: ease of use, rapid selection of products and checkout, predictive researches and autofill. Every user’s order is processed so quickly that they hardly notice it. Since they will remember about the ease of the purchasing process, they will not hesitate to choose your app to purchase again in the future.
Final Step: Brand Awareness
The Brand Awareness is nothing but the sum of the two concepts that I have just explained, the Brand Recognition and Recall. It is a consciousness of the brand, of its overall value (which I underlined to be not financial, but mostly emotional).
Tell your story
Your products, the way you arrange them, the news you decide to publish on the app: everything will tell something about you. Show to your users what really stands behind your brand.
Organize the app with visually captivating contents, enhance the shopping experience with a clear and inviting presentation of the products. Keep in mind, that an app allows you to provide a more vivid and real presentation of your products and makes the digital shopping even more similar to the in-store experience.
The purchase is important, but so it is the pre and post-sales assistance (and maybe even more). Make sure that users can always find you available when they need it (for example through a ChatBot). But above all, design communications that repeate over time, that are interesting and answer some of your customers’ questions before they even ask you. It is always nice for them to know that there is someone who holds them dear.
An app allows you to leverage the fact that a smartphone is at hand 24/7 and, therefore, fuels your user’s knowledge and awareness of your product, service, business.
Do not waste this precious opportunity and build an app for your e-store now. The image of your brand will be positively influenced (…and so they will your revenues).