Nailing your app branding: How Keepsafe owned their narrative
This fall at Mobile Spree San Francisco, we invited Jessica Taylor, Director of Marketing at Keepsafe Software, to speak to our audience about what goes on at the top of the marketing funnel.
Rather than putting focus on driving conversions, Jessica told us the story of how Keepsafe identified, tested and implemented a brand narrative, then used that brand narrative to increase traffic through content marketing and PR. Without Adjust’s attribution and analytics tracking, app marketers don’t understand how their campaigns or businesses were performing. But a brand narrative is another key component to acquiring high-quality users: without one, marketing to customers and connecting to them in a real way is impossible.
You can watch her entire talk now, or read below for a summary of the key points of her presentation.
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What is startup marketing?
For startups, if you’re lucky enough to achieve product market fit, you won’t have to do any marketing at all, for a while. But this organic interest will eventually level off, and that’s when startups tend to add a paid marketing program. Eventually, there becomes a point when this is not enough to continue to stay revenue positive, and this is when startups look towards adding a content marketing team and brand awareness campaigns. A strong brand narrative is essential for these types of campaigns.
Developing a brand narrative
It’s simple: companies who position themselves and create their own brand do better. A lot better. Here’s the thinking behind brand narratives: either you can be positioned or you can position yourself. A famous example, Jessica told the crowd, is Chrysler’s introduction of the minivan in 1984. By rolling out the minivan, Chrysler introduced a brand-new category of vehicle to market. By defining the minivan as the spacious family vehicle alternative to a station wagon or passenger van, they were able to hold a shocking 80 percent market share. They did this by following a four-step program: they defined the consumer problem, coined their solution, told the world, and ultimately won market share.
To define Keepsafe’s consumer problem, Jessica’s first task was to find out where Keepsafe had been. She set out to answer four key questions: what do I have? Where do I go? Who am I? What am I saying? By looking back at their brand guidelines, product strategy, and the stories of Keepsafe’s founders, Jessica was able to see what their values were and what they wanted users to understand about the brand.
Talking to your users
Conducting a ton of user interviews was a key step. Jessica found that Keepsafe’s users weren’t especially concerned about data security or being hacked. What did concern them was the invasion of privacy by people they knew, and how much they trusted Keepsafe in protecting that privacy. Those personal anecdotes led to a demographic study that yielded 6,000 responses.
Jessica found that a surprising 80 percent of Keepsafe’s users were men between the ages of 18-45 and over half of them were married with children. Her survey contained one open-ended question: why do you use Keepsafe?
The respondents answered overwhelmingly: ‘wouldn’t you like to know?’, ‘protect my children from things on my phone they shouldn’t see’, ‘sexy photos’, ‘keep my girlfriend’s photos safe from the world’, ‘nudes bro!’.
What this revealed is that a brand can be about a lot of inspirational qualities, but it can also be about a killer use case. With the results of the demographic survey, Keepsafe had found theirs.
Understanding your brand’s value
This part, Jessica cautioned the crowd, takes a little longer. This step means taking all of those inputs you’ve received and synthesizing what your brand’s value is. Jessica started to think about the kinds of spaces in which people live their lives, the difference between public space, social space, personal space, and intimate space, and how Keepsafe gives people a private way to “explore and be who they are”.
Jessica came to the conclusion that the category that Keepsafe was is in wasn’t privacy and security after all, but ‘personal space protection’.
Write down and test your narratives
With that information, Jessica’s team created three different movie trailer-like stories for three different narratives about the brand. They tested all of them on Facebook and YouTube, keeping the reach and number of impressions similar. They then looked at engagement rates. Two of the three had similar engagement rates, so they pulled Audience Insights for each.
The results were that one of the narratives was very representative of who their users were already; men ages 18-45 who skewed more towards Android. The other narrative was different. That narrative had a more even gender split, skewed younger, and those users were more likely to prefer iOS. These were higher value users for Keepsafe. It wasn’t representative of where Keepsafe was at the time, but rather where they wanted to be. Ultimately, they chose the third narrative.
Reach your audience: tell your story to drive interest
Now, how do you share your brand narrative? According to Jessica, the first step is to follow news stories in your category. She follows stories on privacy in politics, hacks (especially celebrity phone hacks), and tech trends.
In doing so, she began to develop a point of view on these trends. At the same time, she took a second step by becoming familiar with the journalists writing those stories, and developing a “beautiful, one-sided relationship” with them. Jessica would keep up-to-date with their stories, engage with them by leaving comments, and offer pitches to the writers of those stories. Eventually, she told the crowd, someone might reach out to write a piece.
You can also explore your narrative in your own space - with posts on your own company blog. By doing so, you have a space to refine your own narrative and look at your stats to find out the topics that really resonate with your audience. Ultimately, Jessica was able to secure nine top placements in six months for Keepsafe - a huge success.