Brands, at the core, can be thought of as being about three basic elements - visual appeal, identity and emotional proposition. The way a brand is perceived depends on its value or usage to the consumer. Translating this value onto a tiny mobile screen can be tricky, as one size doesn't fit all.
Even though the most exciting brands today are increasingly mobile first (Uber), almost all of the existing ones are still developing their mobile strategies and trying to find their mobile identity.
Here are some of the things to keep in mind while taking your brand to mobile:
1. Be consistent with your brand's identity and purpose
It is crucial that the core visual elements of your brand remain consistent with that of all other screens. That usually means that there is some level of adjustment that goes into creating the same experience (identity), yet maintaining all the elements of usability.
Case in Point:The Nike App emulates its Brand’s visual elements perfectly on to the mobile screen while being usable and robust in its experience, but the kicker is the way it interacts with the user. The brand becomes a part of the user’s emotional journey to reach their goals, which is much stronger than just wearing their shoes.
Think about the core tenets of your brand’s interaction with your user before you emulate it onto a smaller screen.
2. Create an emotional proposition
The emotional proposition a brand can offer, is more often than not, a function of its usability and what it helps the user get done. That puts more emphasis on seamless usage and ability to do as much (if not more) with the app as with the other mediums.
Case in point: The CVS mobile app is great for patients to utilise pharmacy related services. Its a great app for patients to get their prescriptions, but features can be used by other patients as well. It is easy to navigate and additionally offers a drug interaction checker and pill identifier is novel and gives patients more options. For most people who use the app, there is bound to be an emotional connection with the brand.
Simplicity of usage trumps the most amazing visual experience. Sort out the navigation before addressing the aesthetics.
3. Use mobile’s strengths and give them something extra
Your brand will have its own value and emotional propositions. But there are always the extra things you can offer using the power of mobile. Data and location services are an example of what most brands can leverage from mobile platforms, but weaving these into your brands experience can really amplify the value you deliver.
Case in point: Airbnb’s app lets you find accommodation on the go. Under the "Search" tab, the "Help! I need a place, tonight!" button helps users find and book nearby apartments that are available at the last minute.
Use the features unique to mobile and leverage them by weaving them into your Brand's interaction, experience and purpose.
4. Be innovative, play to mobile's strengths
Given the mobile platform’s capability to be 10x more powerful, precise and measurable, there is immense scope to innovate with your brand’s interaction with the user.
Case in point: Apple has just come out with iPhone 6 and a part of that is the Health App. What you get from it is an extension of Apple’s brand identity- premium, exclusive and intense focus on helping the user achieve his/her goals. Using multiple sensors, they have been able to innovate in things like elevation measurement and a 24/7 health partner that gives comprehensive data about your activity.
Mobile has many more data dimensions than any other medium, and every brand can benefit from more data if they use it to innovate in their brand's experience.
For most of the brands who are still starting out with their mobile journey, a good starting point is to revisit the basics of brand building. The visual elements, identity, and emotional proposition will fall into place for mobile just as soon as there is clarity on what is at the core of your brand. Emulating it on a small screen then becomes only a matter of resizing the visual elements.