Branded Mobile Apps and their Potential to Connect with Consumers like Never Before
Over the course of the last decade, mobile phones have evolved to more than just a simple communication tool. With a plethora of features and functionalities now commonly available within most of our smart phones today, we use these devices as a catalyst for how we access information. Most people can surely relate to a time during the day when their eyes gazed over the screen to the latest version of Angry Birds or Sudoku, but mobile devices have grown to so much more than that. According to analysts, in the next decade mobile devices will outnumber regular PCs as the primary way to access information. Information rich industries can benefit from this emerging technology and I can think of one in particular – real estate.
Searching for a new place to live is often one of the most important decisions of someone’s life. The ability for homebuyers to gather the most up to date information quickly and efficiently is paramount. What better place than a mobile device to access this information while you are out exploring the area that you want to live? With branded mobile real estate applications, the homebuyer is empowered since they can direct any and all inquiries about any MLS listing to the realtor that the app is branded to – pretty powerful stuff, both for the customer searching for a home and the listing agent or agency.
According to an Indiana University study cited in George Vlahakis’s article, “New study is first to test the actual impact of branded apps on consumers,” “mobile apps which are informational in nature or utilitarian were more likely to engage users than those where the app focused on entertainment or gaming.” As much as searching for a new home can be fun and exciting, it is serious business. User engagement is key and since real estate is an information rich industry, real estate professionals can capitalize on the homebuyer’s need for accurate, up-to-date information as well as that personal connection that can make the difference between a prospect and a closed deal.
Robert F. Potter, director of the Institute for Communication Research at IU Bloomington and an associate professor of telecommunications in the IU College of Arts and Sciences is quoted in Vlahakis’s piece indicating that branding can invite consumers on a deeper level if their purpose is gathering important information: “You’ve invited the brand into your life and onto your phone. If it’s an informational app, you’re inviting that brand even deeper in, because now you’re thinking about what’s in your life and apply it to the things that the apps are presenting you with.”
The bottom line point is that branded apps are not just information rich tools for home buying, they are innovative ways to increase brand loyalty. People are loyal to things that are present in their everyday life, REALTORS have the opportunity to use branded mobile apps to garner that brand loyalty and drive sales.