#App Development

Issues with internal communications – can apps help?

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One of the biggest issues with internal communications is the illusion that any form of communication has actually taken place. Sending out material, setting up and running an extensive and carefully planned intranet, and even team meetings, can in many cases merely give the illusion that communication, true communication, has actually taken place.

But it probably hasn’t.

What it probably has done, is just made you feel better, made you feel that you have ‘communicated’ but it’s likely to be communication without interest or understanding. Communication without interest or understanding isn’t really communication, it’s noise, background noise, or wallpaper.

Apps can be extremely effective at delivering the right content to the right hands at the right times, they are highly interactive and accessible. We rely on them to communicate brand messages to our customers, so why not use them to talk to our internal audience?

Get in touch with us to discuss how we can develop a strategy with a communication route that can generate communication with understanding, and importantly engagement!

Update to St John Ambulance apps

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Earlier this month we refreshed the most downloaded app we have ever worked on, the St John Ambulance first aid app, as well as the cycling app for the same client. The updates includes a new icon to match St John Ambulance’s latest branding style, as well as technical changes to the iPhone version to allow it to better support iPhone 6s and new iOS systems.

We’re proud to be part of such a high profile app for a charity that saves lives. If you haven’t downloaded the app on your phone yet, we’d encourage you to do so – its available on iOS, Android and Blackberry. You never know when you might be faced with an emergency situation – and if you ever are, having St John Ambulance’s procedures on your phone may just save another life.

http://www.sja.org.uk/sja/first-aid-advice/free-mobile-first-aid-app.aspx

Situational marketing – the role of apps within the hyper-personal experience.

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One of the most signification changes in marketing over recent years has been brought about by improvements in technology. This is the move from broad and generalised marketing messages to the specific and hyper-personal.

Back in the Mad Men era, one ad was produced that had to influence everyone who saw it. Then, twenty years ago, companies started to personalise direct mail and regionalise advertising – and ten years ago to tightly target their marketing to create a personalised client experience.

Today we have location-based marketing, remarketing and websites and apps which adapt and engage with clients on an almost one to one level. Apps can play a crucial role in this form of individualised marketing; an amazing way for companies to engage with clients – as they want, when they want – and if done correctly.

The key is to make that engagement as natural and involving as possible. When it interrupts, distorts, or tries to impose its own needs on people – client engagement will, at best, be a short term change – a blip in customer behaviour. At worst, done badly, it could turn sentiment against the supplier, being seen as an unwelcome and demanding intrusion.

To be really genuinely useful an app has to either seamlessly fit into the customer’s life, or gradually adapt in a way that will influence and moderate behaviour and change activity. It must provide value – save time, or money, or make life easier or better in some way.

Yes, there will always be game-changers, apps or advertisements that will take the world by storm and alter the way that audiences behave, but they are rare and genuinely hard to predict. So the best route for companies is to avoid the generic, to truly understand the audience being targeted and build highly specific apps around their needs.

Apps needn’t be complex – they just need to bring obvious benefits. For example, the construction expert witness group Diales created an app so that clients could identify its experts anywhere at any time by word-searches on global presence, industry sector and specific skills – taking the client directly to the CV and contact details of key experts without the need to go through a call centre or sales/marketing contacts.  Simple, but effective.

In marketing terms, this is called creating engagement through integration with the customer. Here in the 21st century with its wars and recessions, collapsing oil price and growing competition – its just common sense.

The three basic questions you need to ask when commissioning an App – Who, How & Why?

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There is no benefit in developing an app for its own sake – yet we can’t count the number of times we’ve heard the statement “we just want an App”.

As with every piece of marketing, you need to start by asking some key questions – ideally even before the decision to make an app is taken – or, at the very least, at the start of the development process.

This might seem an obvious thing to say, but the App market today is a bit like the website market of 12 years ago.

Then, everyone wanted a website and every business saw websites as a massive opportunity. At the height of the dot.com boom, loads of money was thrown at companies that didn’t have a real business plan – but were built around the idea that they were ‘on the web’ with an amazing offer. It seemed that having a website concept was enough – you just needed to throw enough money at it for it to work.

It didn’t – and the same lesson applies now. An App is an ideal solution for some businesses and some issues – but it’s not a catch-all solution for everyone. You might think that an app is a passport to success – but if you don’t think it through, you could just be wasting money and possibly annoying customers, too.

That’s because too many companies are jumping on the bandwagon – the market is being flooded with Apps that may have high production values, but lack any real substance. Apps where the connection to the brand, the product range and fundamentally to the audience – is questionable at best.

Today, everyone is being asked to download apps – and resistance is already growing. So, begin with three crucial questions – Who, How and Why? Each of these should be treated as a development gate – if you can’t answer it adequately, then maybe you shouldn’t go ahead.

  • Who – Who do you intend to reach? Try to avoid generalisations such as “everyone” – this is rarely, if ever, appropriate. Apps are best targeted at a specific pool of users. So who are they – what motivates them, what do they hope to get from your app? This is especially important if the target audience has a relationship with you already – as existing customers, you really don’t want to let them down.
  • How – How do you want them to interact with the app? And how will you deliver it to them – on which devices and platforms? (Android, Apple or others?). The functionality of an App designed to be used on the move and across a range of devices can be vastly different to one with a more limited use e.g. by visitors to a single event or exhibition.
  • Why – There are two complementary aspects here. Why will our target audience use the app and why do we want them to use it at all? Setting motivational objectives for the audience and business objectives for yourselves are crucial to success.

And finally, remember another lesson from history. We used to say “you can have the best website in the world, but its no good if no-one ever reads it”. Well, the same applies to Apps. Its no good just creating one – you have to promote it too.

If you want to find out more, feel free to get in touch.

Searchable app supplied to DIALES

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We are pleased to have supplied DIALES, the construction expert witness support service of the Driver Group, with a searchable app. Users can select expert witnesses based on technical key-word filters and geographic location as well as services such as news streaming. The current app is for iPhone and iPad use, with an Android version to follow.

A merry digital Christmas for Ikon Science

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We are happy to have designed and supplied a digital Christmas card app to Ikon Science, a global technology company providing geo-prediction tools to the upstream oil and gas industry.