If you own a business or brand, you’ve probably already realized that a branded app can be a serious brand differentiator. And with more and more local businesses creating branded apps, you might even be feeling the pressure just to keep up.
The growth of mobile apps makes it more attractive to have your own. But it can be intimidating to think about going through a development process, not to mention ridiculously expensive. In this article, we’ll walk you through what a branded app is, how to get one for your brand, and some of the options for developing a branded app.
What is a branded app?
A branded app is any app that appears under your brand in the App Store or Google Play Store. Branded apps can be created for many different reasons, anything from managing customers and scheduling for your local business to replicating a social media app, from teaching and e-learning to e-commerce.
People who use your branded app will see your brand's icon on their screen, and engage with an app that you have customized. Usually notifications from your brand or a part of this too.
What is a branded app company?
There are a lot of different ways to get a branded app, from using a DIY online app builder to a white-label app development company to paying for totally custom development.
Here's how each of these work:
DIY - these solutions specialize in basic app design you can create yourself, usually with a simple drag-and-drop app builder. This is usually the lowest-cost way to get a branded app. However, you need to handle all the tech stuff yourself, including getting the app into the App Store and Google Play Store, and handling any updates or issues.
White-label - these app builders give you a proven solution with a high-quality app, and they add your own brand to it. You get a great app for a much lower price than custom development. But you need to find a solution that fits your needs. If your branded app requires unique functions, you may need a native app development company.
Native app development - these are app development companies that specialize in building an app completely from scratch. You get a high level of customization for the highest price.
Below, we'll introduce you to examples of branded app companies that specialize in each of these, and help you understand which is right for you.
Benefits of a branded app
- People engage with YOUR brand
- It’s easier for your customers to access and spend money
- Streamline your customer service and engagement
- Branded notifications and customized experience
- Maximum accessibility (51% of consumers use mobile retail apps at least once a week)
How to create a branded mobile app
1. Get clear on why you need an app
Before you set out to create a branded app, it’s worth making sure your business or brand will see the benefit. For the time and money it may take to create a mobile app, you want to be clear that it’s worth it. There’s nothing worse than going through the work only to realize your customers aren’t interested, or your team can’t use it.
Here are some questions to ask as you think about whether you need an app?
- How would an app replicate our current products or services?
- How would a branded app add value BEYOND our current products and/or services?
- What benefits could our users get from an app that they aren’t currently getting?
- How will an app streamline or improve how our team works?
- How could an app help us unlock new revenue?
For example, here are some of the ways that we’ve seen a branded app add value to Mighty Pro customers:
- A non-profit onboarded 9,000 national members.
- A YouTuber launched a live challenge and 4,000+ members joined.
- A faith-based community expanded to 470 leaders in 67 countries.
- An entrepreneurship org. launched to 5,000 members.
- A health-focused launch to 100 high-ticket members added $40,000 in ARR for the company.
- An author & speaker launched a 4-week promotion and saw an additional $30,000 in revenue.
- A podcaster and author sold 5,000 seats to a $997 course in 10 days.
- One community launched a 13-week add-on course and generated an additional $100k in revenue in 2 months.
- One social impact SAAS company mixed an event app with their regular conferences and saw a 70% increase in contributions & engagement.
Whether you’re adding courses and community, or whether you want your app for scheduling or e-commerce, there’s a good chance it can add value to your existing business.
But don’t just guess at the value it will add. Be strategic about what you want from this process and you’ll be WAY more likely to see your app succeed.
2. Identify your ideal user
Every app has an ideal user–the person who benefits the most from the app. Here are some examples of ideal users for some popular apps:
- Instagram - People who love to engage with and be inspired by visual content
- LinkedIn - Professionals who want to grow their network and apply for jobs
- Duolingo - People who want to learn another language
- Etsy - Consumers who want to buy unique homemade products
Although these are all global apps with millions of users, your app will probably follow the same logic. Here are some examples of ideal users for some different apps.
- Customers who want an easier way to view a menu and place orders online (local restaurant app)
- Customers who want to quickly book a massage with a local masseuse (local business app)
- People who follow a YouTuber that want more access (e.g. Adriene Mishler’s FWFG & Kula apps)
- Learners who want to follow a course on their phone to achieve a transformation (a course app)
- People who want to join an online community to learn, grow, and make friends (an online community app)
- Event attendees who want to keep connected through the year (an event app)
As you try to identify your ideal user for your branded app, one fantastic strategy is to interview some! Sit down with some of your potential app users and ask them questions to find out whether they’d use the app and how it could add value to their lives.
3. Choose your app development approach
As you contemplate the approaches to branded app development above: DIY, white-label, or total custom development, identify the one that fits your brand. This might be a good time to research white-label solutions to assess whether there’s one that could fit your needs.
4. Choose your app company
Whatever approach to app development you choose, you’ll need to find an app company that creates branded apps. We’ll introduce you to some below.
5. Go through the build process
Each branded app company will have a slightly different build process. For example, building white-label apps means that we will meet with you and/or your team to figure out what you need and to help you think strategically about how an app will improve your business. We’ll work with you step-by-step until we launch your branded app for you.
6. Adapt and grow
Adding a branded app to your offerings almost always requires some adaptation. In some cases, this means your team learning how to incorporate the app into their daily routine. In some cases, it means educating your customers on how to use the app.
And it almost always means watching your analytics and revisiting your strategy to make sure you’re hitting your targets. You can definitely learn as you go.
Branded app companies
1. Mighty Pro
Best for courses, community, and content
If you’re looking for a branded app builder that will let you mix courses, community, content, and commerce, come build with Mighty Pro! We build white-label apps that center around amazing community features that make digital business RADICALLY easier.
Our flexible spaces let you choose from features like livestreaming, live events, live and pre-recorded courses, discussion forums, member profiles, chat & messaging, and tons of content options. It’s the perfect place to grow a community, whether you want to sell memberships or connect with customers. And you can bundle any of the features above and sell in 135 different currencies.
We’ve built apps for brands and creators like Adriene Mishler, TED, Fortune, Cambridge University, and Drew Binsky. When you build with Mighty Pro, you’ll work with our team of Account Executives and Community Strategists who have scaled 7-figure creator brands and 8+-figure subscription businesses.
Finally, Mighty Pro is a leader in community AI with Mighty Co-Host™, which makes it RADICALLY EASIER to run your community–even with a few hours a week. With features like automatic marketing and landing pages, instant course outlines, and the Infinite Question Generator, Mighty Co-Host™ puts your community engagement on autopilot. Plus it enhances your human creativity with things like profile assist and the “make it better” text editor.
If you’ve already built somewhere else, we’ll even handle the migration for you. Schedule a call with us and we’ll show you what we could build together!
Best for local businesses to turn their brand into an app
Wix’s branded app solution allows a local business to adapt their Wix website into a branded app, which is a great solution for some businesses. People can use these apps to do things like book services, purchase products, or message the business, and Wix has some different applications for various industries.
Wix’s branded app lets users design some of their own functions with their Wix account, and then when you make changes to your Wix website it’s reflected on the app. You can also preview your changes for app only and connect your developer accounts for both the App Store and Google Play Store.
Wix’s branded app builder is perfect for the local business that already has a Wix website and wants to add some functionality: things like restaurants, gyms, or service businesses. It still gives you some notification options to boost your customer engagement and connects to some of Wix’s marketing tools. The main downsides of the Wix app is that it’s basic and a lot of customers have complained about the customer service.
Best branded app for corporate processes
Not every company wants a public-facing branded app. For those medium to large companies looking for a branded app to streamline the work they do on a daily basis, you might want to check out Appian. Appian builds apps for corporate uses, things like tracking workflows, streamlining operations, or managing a supply chain.
Their approach to development is what they call “low code”, meaning they pull solutions from a library of common corporate app needs and then provide simple customization for your needs. You might use Appian for:
- Tracking and project managing a construction project.
- Managing your supply chain
- Planning service days or shut-downs
- Tracking manufacturing or assembly-line efficiency
With customers like the U.S. Army and Deloitte, it’s a proven solution for companies that want branded apps for their internal operations.
4. Appy Pie
Best drag-and-drop local business apps
As an alternative to Wix, Appy Pie is a local business app builder that fits in the DIY category. You can use Appy Pie to create a drag-and-drop app that works with a lot of simple, local business needs. For brick-and-mortar businesses trying to boost their customer offerings, Appy Pie is a good option. Think of things like a restaurant that wants a menu and ordering service or a plumber who wants to schedule client appointments and handle invoices. This is the perfect use-case for Appy Pie.
Branded app development company
If you’re looking for a total custom development solution, there are a lot of them out there. But one that you might consider is NineHertz. NineHertz has custom-developed branded apps for solutions like game development, blockchain, e-commerce solutions, and digital transformation.
With multiple offices worldwide, they build custom apps for specific business needs, including font and back-end development and UX work. Businesses can add things like shopping carts, payment gateways, and security features.
If you have a large budget and need a complex, custom-developed app, NineHertz could be a good place to build.
Questions to help you find the right branded app company
1. What is the company’s approach to app development?
2. Does the company fit within your build budget?
3. How much experience does the branded app company have building apps like the one you need?
4. What do past clients have to say about the company?
5. What type of ongoing support does the company offer? (Will they be available if you need help?)
Ready to start?
If you’re ready to get started building your own branded app, book a call with us! We’ll work with you to bring community, courses, content, events, and commerce together under your own brand. Mighty Pro is the best way to get a community app that runs itself, and most Mighty Pro clients quickly see the app pay for itself with new opportunities and revenue.
Schedule a call today to learn more!