Your handbook to successful mobile app branding
Micah Motta, Senior Content Writer, Adjust, May 26, 2023.
Your mobile app brand is crucial to its success. Functionality and UX are crucial, but before users can experience that, they need to be aware of your brand and attracted to your brand’s icon. And, once a user experiences your app, you want to ensure they remember, value, and trust your app’s brand. So, whether you’re branding an app or revamping its current branding, you’ve come to the right place to learn how to create a brand. Get started with the following brand design tips and brand guidelines app marketers need to know.
What is mobile app branding?
Mobile app branding is the creation of an app’s identity, consisting of the app’s tone of voice, visual design, icon, and mission. Branding an app requires careful consideration of the app’s intended users, as ultimately, an app’s brand can be employed to establish an emotional connection with the users.
What is a branded app?
A branded app is one that is created by a pre-existing company to promote its brand and expand its services to the digital realm. Famous mobile app examples include the eyeglasses store Warby Parker’s app, in which users can virtually try on glasses, order them, and communicate with the store, and the Swedish home furniture store IKEA’s app, which lets users see how furniture items would look in their home.
Why is app branding important?
Your mobile app branding impacts the entire user journey—from user acquisition to retention rates to retargeting. The brand identity of your app should be trustworthy and consistent.
Here are some branding statistics from Zippia that reveal how a great brand can drive your app’s bottom line.****
- Revenue is increased by up to 33% if a brand presentation is consistent.
- A stunning 83% of shoppers like to buy from brands they trust.
- 90% of customers will pay more if it’s a brand they trust.
- Customers that completely identify with a brand are 52% more valuable.
Get started: Define your app’s brand identity
So, how to create a brand identity? In order to create your brand’s identity, you first need to answer the following questions:
1. Who is my target audience?
Determining your target audience is an essential step to building your brand. In order for your app to appeal to this audience, you must understand their likes and dislikes, communication preferences, and more.
Figuring out an app’s target audience is easier for some apps than others. For example, an app for a university has a clear audience of students, the majority of which are likely from a younger demographic. However, the most interested parties for a piano-learning or haiku-writing app may be less certain.
Tactics to define your target audience:
- Perform market research
- Analyze possible competitors already in the market
- Develop personas
Once you nail down your target audience, the work isn’t over. You should revisit who your key audience should be on a regular basis and optimize.
2. What is my unique selling proposition?
It is imperative to define what makes your app different from the other apps in your vertical. In marketing, this is called a unique selling proposition (USP). So after pinpointing your target audience, next ask, “What problem am I solving for, and in what unique way am I doing so?” Is your app obviously better than your competitors, or does it offer a service that doesn’t exist yet? This is your USP and should be fleshed out in your branding.
For example, grocery delivery app Gorillas’ tagline is “Faster than you”, indicating the app’s USP is that users can get their groceries delivered to their doorstep faster than it takes them to go get or pick up groceries from the store.
3. Write your mission statement, values, and tone of voice guide
Establishing your mission statement, brand values, and tone of voice guide will elevate your brand’s consistency.
Mission: This is a short goal summarizing: “Because my app exists (blank) happens.”
Brand values: These are key principles guiding how your app business operates.
Tone of voice guide: This is a handbook for communication with users, humanizing your brand.
When your app’s purpose, the values, and the tone of voice are clear, you’ll have a fully realized brand identity that users can come to know and love.
4. Select a memorable name for your app
After determining your target audience, your app’s USP, and your mission statement and values, christen your app with a legendary name. Your app’s name should align with your brand identity, be optimized for keywords in app stores, and be unique.
5. Don’t forget to tackle ASO
App store optimization (ASO) is a marketing tactic used to boost your app’s visibility in an app store. While factors impacting your app’s ranking can vary by app store, things like including optimal keywords in your app name, subtitle and app description can help your app rank higher and increase its likelihood to be found organically in an app store. Additionally, when you have screenshots unique to your app, it’s like photo branding an app store listing.
ASO is something app developers should strive to get right from the beginning. Check out The mobile app marketer’s definitive guide to app store optimization for everything you need to know.
Next, craft an iconic visual identity
With over seven million apps across Android and iOS platforms, standing out requires your app to produce a stellar visual identity. In a 1979 New York Times article, Nancy Beach wrote, “ The clothes we choose to wear — and how we choose to wear them — send out messages that reveal many aspects of personality.” The brand design of your app is no different.
Visual mobile app branding elements
- Logo/app icon
- Color palette
The above four elements cover how your app’s visuals will create your brand design. Users will take in your app’s icon, screenshots, in-app visuals, and layouts to assess whether or not your app’s personality is relevant to them.
Your app’s icon is important
Don’t underestimate the power of your brand application to your app’s icon, as this is often a user’s first impression of your app. We cover this in detail in our article: How to create an app icon: Insights and best practices.
App UX matters
The last point we’d like to highlight here is to prioritize your app’s UX design when laying out the user flow of your app. Personalities aside, all apps should strive for a cohesive and intuitive flow from one screen to the next. In doing so, your app will gain a reputation as one of the most trusted app brands. Get UX brand design tips and brand design examples here: Mobile app UX design 101: Tips for success.
Promote your app’s brand
Now that you’ve spent time building your brand’s identity, it’s essential to share it with your target audiences. For example, a human can say, “I’d like to be known as a happy-go-lucky and loyal individual”. But if they don’t communicate and act in ways that reflect this, they won’t be known for these things. The same goes for the branding of your app.
Here are some examples of apps promoting their brand’s personality.
Wendy’s maximizes user engagement to show personality
Wendy’s fast-food restaurant and delivery app is notorious for its snarky, fun-loving attitude geared toward a younger audience. The brand is known for its roasts and high-level user engagement on social media. If you look at the brand’s Twitter bio, you’ll see the text matches Wendy’s witty personality.
Fitbit’s app redesign inspires users
Creative Design Leader Anna Shaw explains a recent overhaul of the design of the Fitbit app, which served “to bring mobile app experience in line with the brand and create a more modern, fluid experience for users.”
As Fitbit is centered on wellness and health motivation, the design revamp elevated the app’s UX to reflect the brand’s identity. As you can see in the image below, the Fitbit app now showcases a central statistic, aligned with the user’s “focus area”. This design update also stretched the user’s health statistics across the screen, showing how much of a goal the user has completed. In our book, this is one of the top brand design examples.
Dove utilized TikTok influencers to share its values
Hygiene brand Dove, partnered with TikTok content creators such as @miahcarter and @nadyaokamoto to launch a campaign against the “Bold Glamour” TikTok filter and other body distorting filters. Dove’s tagline is “A real life version of beauty”, and by launching this influencer campaign, Dove was able to reaffirm it’s brand identity by supporting the idea that authentic and natural beauty is welcomed.
Ready to try influencer marketing?
Read Influencer marketing for apps: Best practices, examples, and more for tips and ideas by app vertical. If you’re looking for a deeper dive on influencer marketing and user retention, check out Part 2 of Scaling your app to 1 million users: The ultimate guide for some brand building examples.
Measure and refine your branding efforts
Whether you’re launching a brand new app or embarking on a rebrand for your app, tracking the impact of your efforts is critical. We’ve listed several key performance indicators (KPIs) that are most commonly used to monitor the success of branding an app.
For a user acquisition campaign, follow these KPIs:
- Cost per install (CPI) /Cost per mille
- Return on ad spend (ROAS)
- Lifetime value (LTV)
To see if your rebrand had any impact on user engagement, look at:
- Retention rate
- Active users
- Session length
Be pro A/B testing
A/B testing isn’t new to the marketing realm, and yet still, app marketers could apply this mobile app strategy more often. There are two types of A/B testing to run during your app’s brand development phase.
- Marketing campaigns A/B testing: Monitor the effectiveness of your campaigns.
- In-app A/B testing: Review how changes to app’s UX and UI design impacts KPIs.
It’s essential to define what you would like to test and carefully segment your audience. After analyzing the results, you may be surprised as you uncover important insights. Read Everything you need to know about A/B testing for mobile apps to learn more.
Ensure the data you act on is accurate
Do not, we repeat, do not put in a mountain of effort into measuring your mobile app branding if you aren’t certain the data you’re using to monitor your endeavors is clean. After all that work, you deserve to see and act on the results.
To ensure your data remains accurate and error-free, we recommend partnering with a mobile measurement partner (MMP) like Adjust. With our measurement and analytics suite, marketers can drive fast results utilizing real-time measurement data on their branding campaigns.
Ready to jump-start your app growth and launch your new app brand with Adjust? Request your personalized demo now!