Launching an app—more than likely after months of development—can be an exciting time for any brand. For some, it will be a great success. For others, a flop. Ultimately, users will reveal all the pesky faults and flaws in your app's design, no matter how polished you feel it is prior to launch day. And your branding is no exception.
Particularly, you might discover that your app fails to connect with your target audience in ways that your previous products did. This is often due to a gap between your typical branding and your app's design. An app is different from other offerings, to be sure, but that shouldn't mean it becomes a completely separate entity. If so, you run the risk of alienating your audience.
To avoid the disconnect, here are a few philosophies to help your team integrate branding throughout your app.
Prioritize brand consistency
Having a neon green sign on the outside of a fine art gallery would be an odd sight to behold. It just doesn't convey the feeling or the purpose of the place very well, in the same way that an app at odds with your brand would also be jarring to behold.
Use the same colors, logos, voice & tone to make your app as brand-compliant as possible. At first, this may go against your gut feeling. After all, most apps are informal and conversational, but what if your brand isn't? How do you translate your brand's tone from web or print materials to an app?
The fact is, if your brand's personality is working for you now, people have come to expect it, and changing your voice to fit a new platform can give your app an immediate disadvantage. Keep it consistent, offer your users familiarity, and meet your audience's expectations.
Keep it user-focused
Understanding what your customer wants and expects from your brand is vital for success. It can take a lot of user research, customer feedback, and good old-fashioned trial-and-error to make it work. But for those creating in today's UX-focused ecosystem, it is the user you need to think of above all else.
User experience is almost as important as the brand itself. As such, UX needs to be well thought-out and implemented in order to give users a positive experience. A responsive, useful and easy-to-use app is all part of a good brand experience. Users will perceive a brand differently depending on their experience.
Many apps are created as pieces of a larger corporate brand, or an umbrella of brands. If that's the case, you might be tempted to include all of this in your app. You're proud of the bigger picture and want to display it. However, it might be worth thinking of your app as "branding lite." It needs to hold the core of your branding—without over-complicating it.
Simplicity is what makes apps so appealing to users. They give them exactly what they need in a small convenient package. So, establish the key elements of your branding—logo, values, messages—and apply those to your app instead of the full package.
Tell your story
Good branding is good storytelling. Just because you're developing an app doesn't mean the story gets left out or ignored. Why did you develop the app? What value does it provide your customers? Both are essential questions that your brand story must answer in the app.
A brand story is a simple concept with three main parts: a problem, its solution, and finally, success. This is something you might even be doing without knowing it. It's a simple but effective marketing tool that should become a core component of your app.
Think of your app as a new chapter in your brand's narrative, but still a continuation of the same story. [ ] Remember: brand storytelling is not dependent upon any one media, so don't be afraid to tell it through your app.
As a business, branding is key to helping you grow and delighting your audience. When developing an app, it's important that this continues despite the change in platform. Help your app become an extension of your brand, rather than an alien add-on that causes your audience to disconnect. When all of your products and services work together to promote brand consistency, you'll watch your brand—and your bottom line—rise to new heights.