Is your mobile app about you or about me?

March 30, 2011

It seems like just about everyone is jumping onto the mobile app (iPhone, Droid, Blackberry) wagon these days.  Most apps fall into one of four categories:

  • They’re functional/useful (they help you do something you want to do)
  • They’re about access/ease (they help you get stuff/information you need)
  • They’re entertaining (they amuse us, keep us busy, are funny)
  • They’re lame (they couldn’t think how to fit into one of the above, so they’re sort of dumb)

For many brands, they’re rushing to be there but have no idea why.  (which leads to lame apps like Coke’s* — where you you tip it back and it’s like your drinking a Coke – sound effects and all)

It’s much easier to create a functional or get me access type app.  You’re Walgreen’s and you let me renew my prescriptions.  You’re DropBox and you let me access my files. But to be genuinely entertaining AND drive home your brand message?  Now that’s impressive.

See the difference?  Coke’s app is about them and how refreshing they are.  Walgreen’s and DropBox are about the user and what they want/need.

That’s why I am applauding Sealy’s app called the In Bed Tagger.  (Keep in mind that their tagline is: Whatever you do in bed, Sealy supports it.)  Watch this brief video to see their app in action.


They got it.  An app isn’t a sales gimmick or supposed to be a digital brochure.  And it’s not about them.  Their app is all about the user and having some fun with the old fortune cookie game.  By focusing their app on us… it tells us a great deal about them.


*In fairness, I will say Coke’s other apps, like their snowglobe app, are much more about the user and therefore…more fun and more like the brand I know and love.


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