Mobile app development is simultaneously one of the most popular ways to improve your company and one of the largest potential risks you can take for your business. No matter how much work you put in throughout the development process, there is no guarantee of success. However, this should not discourage you, as there are multiple steps you can take to bump up your chances of success. The approach we will look at in this article is mobile app branding.

Through a series of different processes, designs, and user research, you can brand your app in such a way that it gives you a leg up on your competition. On top of that, by creating this solid foundation, you are setting yourself for long-term success. Next, we will look at mobile app branding as a whole and then offer 5 tips for launching your product.

Let’s get started!

mobile app branding

Intro to mobile app branding

Whether you are a start-up company or a large enterprise business, branding is essential when creating a product. When it comes to building a mobile application, branding is what will differentiate your product as much as features and capabilities. Just picture the most-used apps on your phone and you will know what I mean. You know exactly how they look and feel to use because of the branding that went into them.

When you are preparing for a product launch, mobile app branding is even more important. This is likely the first time your users will interact with your company and making the right first impression is critical. Remember, 21% of users abandon an app after one use. This means that you could only have one chance to make an impression. Mobile app branding is how you can do that, and do it well.

Where to get started

Now, as easy as it is to say that mobile app branding is important, what does that look like in practice? More specifically, where do you get started? Well, like all app design, the branding of your application should be built into everything from the ground up. From the home screen to the list of creators, every page of your app should be on brand and offer users the experience you want to provide.

In order to further build out this invaluable foundation, use the following few tips to begin the mobile app branding process and set yourself up for further success down the road.

1. Lay out your product’s brand

The first step you should take when deciding what kind of mobile app branding you want to pursue is to lay out every aspect of your product’s brand in one place. You should include any important stakeholders in this conversation, especially your design and development teams.

Then, as a group you should lay out the goals of the product, the areas you want to focus on, followed by where in the market you want to be. This last part is key and while you shouldn’t base all of your mobile app branding on your competition, your branding won’t exist in a vacuum and competitors should be taken into consideration.

Finally, create a plan for how the brand will be woven throughout the app moving forward. This could be as simple as choosing fonts and colors or as involved as coming up with custom icons and emojis. Either way, a solid plan early on will do wonders for the end product.

2. Gather early user feedback

The next step in laying the groundwork for your mobile app branding is to gather early user feedback for adjustments and tweaks that will need to be made. Feedback this early in the process is invaluable, as it will likely shape the direction of your branding efforts moving forward.

Additionally, the users who first see your product will often catch the most obvious errors. Although this doesn’t seem that beneficial, the more of these errors you can remove early in the process through QA testing, the less they can permeate the product by the time you launch arrives.

This will also be a good opportunity to make sure that your user feedback loop is effective and find any weak areas in the process. User feedback throughout development is necessary, so getting it down from the beginning is a huge bonus.

3. Focus on UX

Finally, the last approach to mobile app branding that takes place before most of the code is written is to focus on UX (or User Experience) and then build it into the app. UX design is becoming one of the best ways to differentiate your product and your brand. By involving the users and their feedback, the better your product will be. Simple as that.

If this process sounds familiar, it is because it comes from Agile methodologies for app development. While not every team uses an Agile approach, it can greatly benefit your product before launch and make sure that the product you build serves your users, rather than a few stakeholders.

Build on this foundation

Now that you have a solid foundation built upon user feedback and market competition, the time has come to start defining your mobile app branding. While earlier you may have simply discussed things like colors and fonts, this would be the time to flush out those designs and choose a logo along with other design options. If you have a solid foundation, this will just be a matter of choosing what works best with current user base.

That being said, just because you are building off of this foundation doesn’t mean that you can’t change down the road while still staying true to the brand. This is why we recommend A/B testing and other tactics to find what resonates most with your audience. You will likely be honing this right up until product launch, so do your best to stick with it.

Approaching product launch

Depending on the capabilities and features you are building into your app, the buildup to product launch could take between 4 weeks to 12 months. Regardless of your timeline, once you set the date of your launch, the clock starts ticking and your resources become limited by time.

Our advice here is to conduct an audit of your branding approach this far, along with what you need before launch. Similar to a product backlog, creating this list will ensure that there are no surprises before product launch. This will allow you to focus on what is important and let the rest come with later.

Tips for mobile app branding at product launch

Once you have created this audit list, you will already have a semi-cohesive plan for getting your product to launch. Next, we will look at 5 different tips for turning that list into a well-oiled machine that gives you the end product you need, rather than just the one you think that you might want.

Let’s start with an important one: performing diligent research.

1. Perform diligent research

When you are establishing the brand for your mobile app, there is almost no upper limit of research you can perform in order to find the best possible approach. Diligent research is not only something that can open your eyes to new opportunities, but it allows you to benchmark the competition and see what areas you need to focus on for your app to be successful.

First, take a look at other apps that are already doing something similar to what you are creating. Learn from both their successes and their failures to find where you can fit in and potentially take on market share. If possible, sit down with a UX designer and find out what other businesses are doing to push their branding forward and utilize the latest tips and tricks to make an impression.

2. Offer a visual treat

The next part of mobile app branding that you need to invest in is the visuals of your application. While some designers will try to impress users with over-the-top graphics and even videos, it’s more important to offer a visual treat throughout that doesn’t hit users over the head.

We will get more into keeping things simple in a minute, but basically this just means that you want your app to look nice and for users to want to look around. Again, the first impression you make with your mobile app branding is by far the most important, so investing a little bit extra into the visuals of your app is highly recommended.

3. Drive the user experience

Now, so far we have already about building the user experience of your mobile app from the ground up, but now will come the time where you need to drive your users into that experience. Simple things like adding tips for using the application or an onboarding video can answer a lot of questions before users become frustrated. Good design won’t require much explanation, but an introduction can make a world of difference.

On top of showing off your design to the users, run multiple tests with a series of different users to make sure that the UX is universal, not just something that works with you and your team. Often, developers will think that they have found all of the errors, only to discover that users interact with their software in a different way. This is why QA testing is important and should not be ignored.

4. Keep it simple

The next tip we will offer for mobile app branding is to keep your app as simple as possible, both in terms of the user interface and your branding efforts. Let’s first take a look at UI design. UI best practices dictate that you should only include relevant information as it is needed from your users. Rather than cluttering up their options, build a flow that ensures there isn’t a wasted moment spent looking for the next step.

In terms of branding, we simply believe that you shouldn’t hit your users over the head with it. Too much text or too many images can make your app seem overeager and potentially even badly organized. Instead, shoot for a minimalist approach whenever you can and use negative space to tell the story.

5. Give users a reason to come back

The final tip we will leave you with for rolling out your mobile app branding at product launch is ultimately what will lead to a successful application: give users a reason to come back. Whether it is your design, your offering, your branding, or (hopefully) all three, users need to have a reason to open your app again and continue using it. With so many users dropping off after their initial session, this is should be your ultimate goal.

Thankfully, there are a couple of ways to do this.

  • Make signing up as simple as possible. This way they feel invested in the app, but don’t get frustrated by the initial sign-up process.
  • Walk users through the onboarding process. Use prompts, videos, and small tests or quizzes to show how simple the app is to use and then let the design do its thing.
  • Remind users of value. Whether through push, SMS, or email, you need to remind users why they downloaded the app in the first place. Without being invasive, give them nudges to come back in case they forgot.

In the end, it’s not important which tactic you use as long as you find what users value and provide it to them consistently. Not only will this increase the chances they will come back, but they will do so without prodding. This, ultimately, means you have done your job well.

Maintenance and future improvements

By the time you launch your product you will likely have invested a lot of time, energy, and resources into your mobile app branding and development and you will likely want to rest easy. Unfortunately, that’s not how this works. In order to maintain your brand and the usability of your app, you need to perform regular maintenance and plan out future improvements based on user feedback.

Far too often, app development teams will wonder why their users start falling off two or three months down the line without making any updates after launch. Don’t fall into this trap. By constantly keeping things fresh and working well, more users will begin to join and see the value that you offer.

Final Thoughts

As you take these tips and begin to apply them to your own app development projects, we hope that you will remember continue to find new ways to amplify your mobile app branding and continue finding success. While these are helpful tips, the development world is always changing and staying up-to-date is a vital part of this process.

Additionally, if you read through this and found that your team isn’t capable of handling every aspect of this process, consider outsourcing part of your development team. This is one of the best ways to stay relevant and ahead of your competition.