A branding strategy is the first marketing step you need to take when working on your app. Whether you’re promoting an app or a mobile game, you need to think about building a brand with your communication strategy. And you may need to get started even earlier than anticipated.
Why is branding so important for mobile apps and games
Branding is part of marketing. Even in the app world. Constructing and recognizing the identity of your app will help its success. Branding is not just about an app icon and a color scheme, it’s about crafting an identity and attracting attention.
With 3.6 million apps and 984,000 games in the App Store and 2.39 million apps and 442,000 games in the Play Store, you need to stand out. Users are swarmed by different options, branding is what’ll help them choose your product over others, especially when these numbers keep growing every year.
A strong brand image will help shape the way people think about your brand and how they interact with it. Airbnb’s CEO, Brian Chesky, recently talked about how shifting towards a marketing strategy focused on branding had been beneficial for the company, showing that even established companies are betting on brand awareness.
The first interaction users have with your app will be determined by your branding. Your app/game’s name, your icon, the aesthetics of your preview video, and your screenshots, all these elements are part of your branding. Even if you don’t have a branding strategy right now, your app’s listing page and ads are saying something about your product’s identity. It’s best to control that narrative right out of the bat.
Ryan Kelley, ASO Consultant, told us in an earlier episode of The App Marketing Snack that you can’t rely on the existing users of App Stores, and that branding is a key element not only to make people download your app but also to drive them to the stores in the first place.
A thought-out branding strategy will increase brand awareness and help your app or mobile game become memorable to users. In addition to that, it’ll help better target your audience. Your branding should be consistent with the kind of users you want to attract.
Start building a presence before your app is even out there
You should start promoting your app or mobile game before it’s even finished. Start by building a small community online (thanks to social media for example), create a website so users will have a landing page when they search for information about your app.
It’ll help you get to know your users, their habits, and their expectations. You can get valuable intel from early interaction with them (and adapt your app or game thanks to that feedback). If you can learn more about their needs, what they’re actively looking for, it’ll help you tailor your app better. Maybe you’ll even find out that the user base you were aiming for is not the right one for you and there’s a more relevant targeting option.
Not only that, but it’ll also help you during launch to have already a small base of interested users. Even when working on user acquisition and PR, you need somewhere to send all the interested peeps that may see or hear about your product. You need to think about building your brand before your app even reaches the app stores, working on a website and a social media presence will help you get comfortable with your brand voice and design and it will be a valuable experience before getting started on your app’s listing page.
Keep producing branded content
Branding means producing content not always to advertise a product or service, a new feature in your app but also just to further your brand’s identity. Look at Lily’s Garden’s Instagram Page:
Out of these 6 posts, only 1 is showing the gameplay and what the game actually looks like. All the others are just putting the game’s character in random situations. They’re also taking advantage of seasonality with a post dedicated to International Women’s Day, and even some for lesser-known official days like the get over it day.
This kind of marketing strategy is great for both branding and user acquisition. Lily’s Garden went so far with creating alternative lives for its character and putting them on display on social media that there’s a whole Wikia dedicated to the game and its characters.
Seasonalized and localized content are good tools for branding, they help expand your app/game outside of the app stores and give them a stronger voice.
Don’t forget your app listing page
A branding strategy is not just about producing creative assets in line with your identity and strategizing everything on your website and social media platforms. Your app listing page is also a great way to show your brand tone. Not only do you have several visual assets to help this endeavor (with the icon, the screenshots, and the preview video), but you can also play on the description (both the long one and the short one) to give your brand a personality.
Whether you decide on a humorous tone or a corporate one, the entirety of your listing page is a brand signal. Your assets and metadata can give you extra space to develop your brand identity. Some apps actually use the updates to crack a few jokes in their metadata texts, it can be a little extra to endear you to your users and be memorable.
Keep your future projects inline
Once you’ve started creating an IP, you can use it to promote your next projects. This works especially well for mobile games. The familiarity of finding some known designs (whether it’s in character design, background, color coding, etc.)
That sense of familiarity will boost the launch of any new app or game. When people know and trust your brand it’s easier for them to download the latest product and try out the newest option. A previous awareness of similar products will reduce churn as well. A user that knows your brand is a user with realistic expectations, they know what they’re going to find on the app/game and will be more likely to use it for longer.
A solid brand strategy will help you build a trusting relationship with your users and cement your long-term growth strategy. Users who have connected with your product or game will have a higher level of retention and monetization. That’s why ensuring your apps are conforming to your branding will help your portfolio’s success and ease the circulation of users between apps and games.
Have you set up a branding strategy for your app yet? What are your thoughts about it? Tell us in the comments!