Archive for April, 2009

Branded Apps: The Next Frontier In Experiential Branding

Kraft Branded iPhone AppJust finished reading a very interesting article at imediaconnection.com on what we believe to be the next frontier in experiential branding: Branded Apps. In the article by Matt Kapco, titled “Secrets Behind 3 Branded iPhone App Successes,” Matt interviews a diverse group at the forefront of this new form of branded communication tool that’s exploding in popularity and importance. What brand in their right mind wouldn’t want to be tethered to a device that is with the consumer practically 24-hours-a-day? A highly recommended read for new and old brands alike at: http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/22121.asp

After reading this informative article we thought it might be fun to dream up a branded app ourselves. So, we put our thinking caps on and set out to select a company we thought could benefit by a branded app.

Zappos! LogoA relative newcomer to the experiential brandwagon and one of our favorites is the online shoes, handbags and now clothing retailer, Zappos! In a very short time the company has established itself as a benchmark leader in customer service and the brand itself is an online force with which to be reckoned. We thought that Zappos! would be a prime candidate for a branded Zappos! app, or “zAPP” as we like to call it, so we put together a wish list of what we’d like to see in a Zappos! branded application.

Zappos! Culture Book 2008At the core of their company “culture” and a key element to Zappos! success is their customer service. They even publish a book annually describing their culture in detail, which is available on their website.

So, in a Zappos! branded app, excuse me…zAPP; the app would have to have the ability to set up a customer service chat with a Zappos sales rep from within the application. This would be great because their reps make the Zappos! experience legendary and the ability to do this without straying from the branded zAPP is a must to fulfill the Zappos! brand promise. Better yet, if that chat session could be initiated within the zAPP and include a phone connection where it automatically connects to a rep from within the program, where both rep and caller could talk over speakerphone and view the products in question; that would be a newsworthy first!

Next, how about a “SoleSearch” feature? Type in the style of shoe you are looking for, say…a pump. Then heel height, toe style (i.e. pointed or squared), lace-up, size, width, color or color combination, leather or some other material and hit SoleSearch! The available shoes that match your search criteria then start appearing like magic in the zAPP’s window! Incorporate the iPhone OS shake feature and make the SoleSearch even more fun! Pretty cool, huh?

But why stop there? What if we know Zappos! carries a line of shoes you’ve had your eye on but it’s not available in your size at the moment because it is currently out of stock and thus not listed? How about creating an alert within the zAPP that we’ll call a “Shoehorn!” Simply enter the product number and the size you’re looking for and when it becomes available Zappos! sends you a “push alert” via the “ShoeHorn” giving you the heads-up that the object of your desire is in. Zappos! could even expand the capability to automatically place the item on hold, say for three days, giving you time to purchase your dream shoes when it’s convenient for you!

Well, I guess it’s become obvious we could go on and on about the subject of branded apps. What other companies do you think could benefit from a branded app and what type of dream app would you like to see?

This is an exciting time for brands to take a serious look at harnessing the power and potential of branded apps. This new technology, in creative hands, can go a long way in redefining and strengthening the experiential brand.

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