Things to Consider When Creating a Branded App, and Why Our ICE App Works for Hospitals

It seems like everyone has an app idea. Especially if you work in your organizations marketing department, you have probably been approached by staff, board members, and other colleagues who claim to have the next great app idea for your company. But according to a recent Forrester Study, “Mobile Apps for Marketing,” branded apps aren’t for everyone—and they require a great deal of thought when creating them to be sure they are worth the effort.

A few years ago we created the ICE App as a branded app for hospitals. The app allows people to add a banner to their mobile phone home image that includes an In Case of Emergency phone number, so first responders can easily see who to call if someone has an accident or medical emergency, without having to open a person’s phone and search contact information. The app is offered by hospitals free for user’s to download. The branded portion of the app: next to the emergency number is the hospital’s logo.

So just what should you consider when evaluating your branded app idea? A few thoughts from Forrester follow, as well as a close evaluation of how our ICE App for Hospitals measures up:

Audience skews younger. Almost 2/3 of app users are Generation X and Generation Y. 19% of those 56 to 66 use mobile apps. So if your app is geared toward a younger crowd and you are aiming to reach those up to 55, you are more likely to find success.

  • ICE App Evaluation: Ideally a hospital would like to reach the older generation also, but the younger generation does have health issues. And reaching Generation X, who is getting older, is great. These people also may be making health decisions for the older generation. As far as app content goes, anyone can have an emergency, and Generation X is increasingly aware of this.

The best apps enhance brand experience or build loyalty. Most people who will download your app are aware of your brand and like it before they do so. The app shouldn’t try to do the job of introducing your brand—it should be helpful and provide a reminder of who your company is.

  • ICE App Evaluation: The ICE App is not out of the blue—it makes sense for hospitals. It certainly provides a valuable service to the users, making them prepared in case of an emergency. It also suits a hospital brand—it is about helping you when you have a health crisis. Users will hopefully become aware of your app through a solid marketing plan, and they will see that you are going out of your way to provide them with tools to better their health.

Create apps people will return to. Research from a Pew study shows once apps are downloaded, people may not open them very often. 68% of smartphone owners open only 5 or less apps one time a week. So your app idea needs to be functional, and something users need.

  • ICE App Evaluation: Users have no choice but to see your brand when they use this app. They download it, set up the picture with their ICE information, and then they never have to open the app again. Your brand with their ICE phone number will appear on their home screen every time they turn on their phone. In terms of shelf life and stickiness, an app can hardly do better.

Learn more about the ICE App and how your hospital can put it to use.