How to your create your own brand app

Did you know that almost half of small businesses (48%) have their own apps? Offering benefits like increased brand loyalty, improved customer relationships and boosted branding, it’s little wonder so many companies have taken this step. If your own brand hasn’t, then it might be time to re-think your approach, or you risk getting left behind.

The process of creating your own app is called custom app development, which, as low-code development platform EASA explains, involves: “designing, creating and deploying tailor-made software applications for specific users”, for instance: “Uber’s ride-sharing application, Netflix’s video streaming platform, and Apple’s iOS software.”

The advantages of embracing custom app development are clear, but how exactly can brands like yours go about doing so?

Work out your requirements

The first step in creating your brand app is to clearly define your objectives and requirements. Some of the main things to consider here include:

  • The purpose of your app and the problems it aims to solve — whether it’s to speed up the shopping process or to help monetise your brand, for example.
  • Your target audience — the app may be primarily aimed at a particular segment of your overall customer base, like prospective customers instead of existing ones.
  • The platforms your app will support — i.e. iOS, Android, or both.
  • The essential features and functionalities your app must have to meet your business goals — such as in-app messaging, search functionality and social media integration.
  • Who will do what — you will likely need to outsource parts of the custom app development process, though the rise of low-code development platforms has made it possible for almost anyone to create an app nowadays.

Working out your budget and timeline is also crucial at this stage, as this informs your entire strategy going forward.

Choose your app development approach

Once your requirements are established, it’s time to choose the development approach that best aligns with your goals. You have three main options here — either a native app, a hybrid app or a progressive web app. It’s important to consider the technical expertise required for the different approaches and evaluate the pros and cons of each one based on your specific needs.

Generally speaking, native apps offer the best performance and user experience but require separate development for each platform. Hybrid apps, on the other hand, use a single codebase for both platforms, saving time and resources, while progressive web apps provide a cross-platform experience through a web browser. You can learn more about these app types here.

Create mockups

Visualising your app’s user interface is a critical step in the development process. This allows you to gather feedback from stakeholders and potential users early in the process, saving time and resources. You can then use this feedback to ensure that your app’s design aligns with your brand identity and provides an intuitive user experience.

So, be sure to create detailed mockups or wireframes that illustrate the layout, design, and flow of your app. To create these mockups, use a design tool like Sketch, Figma, or Adobe XD. These enable you to design and iterate your app’s interface before any code is written.

Plan the app’s security

Security is a paramount concern when developing a brand app considering it involves handling sensitive user data. Consequently, it’s crucial to formulate a robust security strategy to protect user information and maintain your audience’s trust.

As part of this, you’ll need to implement secure authentication methods, encrypt data transmissions, and conduct thorough testing for vulnerabilities, among other things. Consider compliance with data protection regulations such as GDPR or HIPAA too, depending on your app’s nature.

Launch the app

It’s finally time to develop your app according to the chosen approach, ensuring that it meets the established requirements and incorporates feedback from the mockup stage during the process. Once you’ve done this, you’ll almost be ready to release your app to the public.

Before you do so, however, it’s important to coordinate a strategic launch plan, taking into account factors like app store submissions, marketing strategies, and user onboarding. A successful launch requires a well-executed plan that creates a buzz around your app and encourages downloads, as well as ensuring that everything runs smoothly.

Gather feedback

The app may be live, but the journey doesn’t end there. It’s important to actively collect feedback from users through app reviews, surveys, and analytics tools. This enables you to analyse user behaviour, identify pain points, and address any bugs or issues promptly. By engaging with your user base and responding to their feedback, you demonstrate your commitment to providing a quality app experience.

Consider also implementing regular updates to introduce new features, improvements, and optimisations. Ultimately, continuous improvement is key to maintaining a successful brand app.