May 8, 2017
Category: Business & Strategy
A successful business requires not only a great product or service, but also a culture where employees can thrive. Here at InspiringApps, we believe one way to help build a vibrant and diverse team is through flexible work policies.
We are not alone in believing in the value of flexible work environments – a large portion of the American workforce desires more control over when, where, and how they work. According to Gallup’s most recent State of the American Workplace report, “More than half of employees (53%) say a role that allows them to have greater work-life balance is “very important” to them when considering whether to take a new job. Similar numbers of employees (51%) say they would change jobs for one that offered them flextime, and 37% would do the same for a job that offered them the ability to work where they want at least part of the time.”
While flexible work policies can make employees healthier, happier, and more productive, it’s important to note that businesses also reap significant additional benefits. In this post, we’ll discuss what constitutes flexible work policies, and explore how to leverage the advantages they offer. We’ll also comment on some potential challenges and how to address them for the benefit of the company and the employees. Read More
November 7, 2016
Category: Business & Strategy
With the recent release of Apple Watch 2 and new versions of Android Wear smartwatches introduced regularly, the idea of building a watch app is front of mind for many clients. A watch app seems cool and timely (couldn’t resist), fun to use, and super convenient. While a watch app is all those things, it may not be the right choice for your business.
Although some watch apps (like fitness tracking, Apple Pay, music) do still offer some functionality without a phone nearby, watch apps do not stand alone at this point in time. As a result, one doesn’t build a watch app instead of a phone/tablet app, but rather alongside these devices. The best watch apps do not mimic the features of the phone app, but act as a companion app that takes advantage of the unique features of the watch in order to bring additional value to the user’s experience. In almost all cases, the user will continue to use other devices for more in-depth tasks. Read More
September 24, 2013
Category: Business & Strategy
Last week, we continued our InspiringPeople series with Dr. Peter McGraw from CU’s Humor Research Lab, or HuRL (I know, right?) Pete shared with us the story of how he went from a tenure-track professor studying morality to a leading expert in the field of humor research.
Pete’s journey taught him a handful of important lessons than can be applied almost universally, giving us a bit of enlightenment alongside a lot of laughs.
Pete realized he hated writing… not a good place to be for an academic expected to publish in-depth research papers at least once per year. In order to develop this essential skill, Pete took some specific steps:
- Work on that skill every day
- Do it when you’re at your peak energy level
- Make it a sacred time
- Acknowledge that it’ll be hard at first… but it’ll get better
Through making a concentrated effort to develop this skill, Pete was able to learn to enjoy writing and began publishing more – and more often – than he ever had before… and now, he’s co-written a book!
Taking advantage of your community can be incredibly beneficial to your work. Pete learned this lesson one summer after he started living with a friend in a collaborative environment. He realized his research and teaching weren’t blending… and he was friends with plenty of entrepreneurial people who were doing innovative work, but he wasn’t applying it to his research. By capitalizing on the nature of his community, Pete was able to awaken his entrepreneurial spirit and begin realizing his goal of living a remarkable life.
Spending all of your time in the same environment limits your potential; reach out and broaden your audience to gain a new outlook on an issue. Pete was doing research almost exclusively in the lab – that gave him an incredibly small audience to work with. Going out “in the field” and interacting with people beyond his subjects and colleagues – including travelling all around the world – provided new perspectives and better data.
Having a strong theory can guide your decision making. Through their research, Pete and his colleagues at HuRL developed a key theory to explain what makes things funny – and what makes them not funny – called the Benign Violation Theory, or BVT. Using the BVT, the HuRL team were able to determine what kinds of tests to run in the lab. These guiding principles allowed them to take a more strategic and efficient approach to their research.
Spending time with different types of people from around the world taught Pete that everyone is uniquely funny. Our reactions to an event are based on our experiences; so something one person may find funny or interesting may not elicit the same reaction in someone else. Similarly, everyone is skilled or talented at something; seek to create an environment where your personal skills and those of your team can flourish.
Pete noticed that a lot of comedians spend their time around other comedians… one of the best ways to be funny is spend time around funny people. By surrounding yourself with people who are good at the things you want to be good at, you can learn what makes them successful and apply those factors to your own endeavors. That’s why it’s so important to have a good team in your business. The better people are at their jobs – and the better they are at working with and teaching one another, the more dynamic your environment will be and the more talent you’ll have to draw from each other.
We’re so grateful to have had the opportunity to hear Pete talk, as well as to have been joined by some amazing community guests!
August 22, 2012
Category: Business & Strategy
If the goal is for your app to go to a distribution partner like the Apple App Store or Google Play, you may need someone to help you navigate those waters. You will also need developer accounts with those outlets and may need to coordinate the launch with the marketing team. Planning should start at least a month prior to distribution.
For internal enterprise distribution you don’t need to worry about potential issues with the Store or Marketplace, but you may need help with distributing the app to your users in the field. Additionally, distribution and the communication plan surrounding it will need to be coordinated.
What are my options?
The storefront you utilize to get your app into the market will largely depend on decisions made early on in the process about the form and function of your app. For instance, if you decided to focus on Apple products, then the Apple App Store will be the logical choice. Similarly, Google Play, Nook and Amazon represent options for other hardware and software platforms.
There are four notable distribution options for your finished product—through online stores, ad-hoc distribution, enterprise distribution, or via the web.
How should my app be branded to complement our overall strategy?
The branding of your app is the visual look and feel, and tone-of-voice that combine to give your app its own personality. Branding sets your app apart from the competition and makes users fall in love with your product. Your branding efforts will vary depending on whether you are integrating with an existing brand or starting from scratch.
Branding to Match an Existing Visual Identity
If you are creating an app for a brand or company that already exists, you can strengthen the corporate brand and save resources by pulling visual elements (colors, fonts, copy, look and feel) from existing collateral. Expect to be flexible with existing visuals. Adjustments may need to be made to accommodate native operating system interface elements or to take advantage of plug-ins.
Branding a Visual Identity from Scratch
If you are creating an app that is not tied to an existing brand, you can create an identity from scratch. This may feel overwhelming, but adequate research will clarify your app’s personality. Thoroughly investigate users and competitors. Form a solid core brand proposition and tone-of-voice for your app which appeals to users and embodies its main function. All visuals and copy should support the direction you choose for your app.
Research is key in determining the sweet spot for your app’s pricing. You want a price that will not deter people from checking it out but one that is high enough to reflect the product’s value and maximize revenue.
Consider these questions when setting a price:
- Are you developing a small-scale app where volume is going to be your key to success?
- Alternatively, are you creating a large-scale app that focuses on a particular business sector or industry? If this is the case, your app may command a premium price based on the business efficiencies gained.
- Is your app meant to be a revenue generator, or is it intended to build visibility and brand awareness with your customers?
- What is the size of your potential market?
- Is there a lot of competition in this space?
- What are your competitors charging?
- How do the distribution channels for your app influence the price you will set?
Content strategy is not a new concept, however the ways in which we create and distrtibute timely, thoughtful and relevant content has transformed with each new technical advance. Now, as we are faced with consumers looking for up-to-the-minute (sometimes even second) content updates it is important to understand not only what to share but how best to share it.
Content Strategy in a Mobile World is an article recently published by iBusiness and authored by Suzanne McKee, Director of Marketing at InspiringApps. Read the full article here to explore how content strategy has evolved and what you can do to successfully share content with your mobile audience.
August 2, 2012
Category: Business & Strategy
What do I need to consider for a successful external marketing campaign?
If your app is heading to the Apple App Store, Google Play, or other app deployment site, you will want to put significant time and effort into making sure your target market is aware of its presence. Gone are the days when simply putting an app in the store means it will be seen by the masses. The app market is so saturated it is imperative to implement solid marketing strategies to get the word out about why your app stands above the rest.
Within external marketing there are a few other things to think about. When your app is published, will you be employing a push or pull marketing strategy? In other words, do you want people to go to the app store knowing exactly what they are looking for, or will you rely on people stumbling upon your product and trying it out? Sometimes both are appropriate.
Either way, traditional marketing concepts apply.
Your marketing team makes a critical contribution to the planning and development process with their market knowledge, research, and branding expertise. They serve as an important representative of the customer’s voice from the moment your idea for an app is conceived.
Involving your marketing team from the beginning means not only do you benefit from their input throughout all phases, but because they have been fully engaged and have a strong sense of product ownership, they will be poised and ready to act when your app is ready to launch.
The adage,”If you build it, they will come.” does not hold true in a marketplace flooded with apps, books, and games. It’s time to focus on how to get the word out about the amazing app your company has put so much energy and brainpower into producing.
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