Moving to Mobile: Tips for PR Pros on Creating a Winning Mobile App

– by Shawnee Cohn, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/NY
MRT

Shawnee Cohn

If you think mobile apps are solely for fun and games, think again.

A recent study conducted by Flurry showed that consumers are spending more time on their mobile applications than on the Internet. The tablet revolution is changing the way in which journalists tell stories, as well as how they prefer to be pitched.

However, PR pros do not have to sit back and wait for their clients to generate media coverage. Smart businesses can ‘go mobile’ by creating their own apps to connect with customers and build their brand.

Here at Business Wire, we launched our very own mobile app so that our news content can be easily accessed from any location.

Leaders in the industry insist that PR professionals must not only learn about mobile app development, but also take advantage of the opportunities it offers to increase brand loyalty.

However, not every application hits a high note, and many have failed in the past. So what is the formula to create a successful mobile app?

Recently the International Association of Business Communicators/NY Chapter hosted a panel covering the ways in which brands can utilize mobile strategy to strengthen their PR, communications and marketing efforts.

The panel featured:

  • David Weiner, Digital Media Manager, PepsiCo
  • Lou Tosto, SVP Digital & Mobile Sales, CNBC.com
  • Sarah Meron, Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Communications, American Express Company
  • Adam Carey, Client Services Director, Imano
  • Nicole Kuritsky, Senior Manager Emerging and Social Media, Rodale

The group of mobile marketing experts had a wealth of beneficial tips to offer regarding best mobile practices. Here are some key take-aways:

The customer is key: The panelists agreed that positive user reviews are highly influential when it comes to the success of your app. Make sure that your design allows for both a seamless and engaging user experience. Also, keep in mind that including polls and surveys within your app can be a valuable tool to help you learn about your audience.

Ask yourself, “Do I need an app?”:  Sarah Meron of American Express notes that brands must consider whether their application creates a new experience for the user, different from that which is available on the original website. Will your iPad app offer value that the customer cannot find on any other platform? David Weiner of PepsiCo commented that brands should first place emphasis on becoming mobile-friendly before beginning the app development process. You might be convinced that your app is the first of its kind, but take a thorough look at the various stores to make sure an app similar to yours does not already exist, suggests Nicole Kuritsky of Rodale.

If you build it, they might not come: Building an app does not necessarily guarantee that customers will automatically rush to download it; thorough marketing and PR efforts are still as critical as ever. Make sure all systems are go before the app is live, and remember to include a link to the app store in whatever marketing materials you release to promote the new development. Adam Carey of Imano also suggests including a casual game within the app to spark the interest of potential customers. But be careful before you try to create the application yourself; development is a complicated undertaking. Partnerships with mobile consulting firms are the “name of the game,” and you “will fail if you try it yourself,” according to Sarah Meron of America Express.

 For more information on the IABC New York Chapter , visit www.nyiabc.com. You can also get the latest mobile/wireless news by registering at www.businesswire.com.

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