In this post you will find a overview of relevant existing theories that could help to explain how branded apps create brand value and therefore enhance the consumers brand experience. This approach is lacking to include brand loyalty and the creation of advocacy. However the most important aspect, in my opinion, is that an app can become part of the consumers daily routine (for examples of good apps please see this link). These theories are taken from the thesis I made on Branded apps for Strawberryfrog. All further related articles and the actual thesis can be found at this part of my site.
Brand value creation is a concept that has remained vaguely defined for more than 25 years. Nonetheless it is seen as an interesting indicator to measure the success of brands. In this theoretical background a closer look is taken at theories of how brand value is created within the human brain and how marketers can best approach the process of establishing brand preferences. Most of this research was conducted in the early 1990s, but is still seems as relevant today as it was 20 years ago. In conclusion, it will be explained how branded apps can influence brand value perceived by the consumer.
For the purposes of this paper, brand value, also referred to as brand equity, is conceptualized from the perspective of the individual consumer. Consumer-based brand value is created when consumers are familiar with the brand and holds favorable, strong, and unique brand associations in their memory (Keller, 1993). As Keller stated in his research marketers should understand how marketing programs affect consumer learning and how they recall brand-related information.
Also for the purposes of this article, apps are considered as a form of marketing. Therefore key brand-value principals need to be examined to understand how apps can establish brand value. In the depth-of-processing approach by Craik and Lockhart (1972), it was assumed that when consumers are more actively thinking about and involved with a brand or service, stronger associations in their memory will be created.
Furthermore Keller (1993) states that quality (e.g. the manner in which a person thinks about information) and quantity (e.g. how much the person thinks about information) result in better memorization of information. In other words, if information received by consumers is of high value to them and it is repeated frequently, it will be more easily remembered.
Additional research has concluded that attitudes formed by direct experience, like using an app, are more accessible from memory than indirect forms of behavior, such as watching TV commercials (Fazio & Zenna, Direct Experiences and attitude-behavior consistency, 1981). In the consumer’s mind, these brand attitudes are more accessible, more likely to be activated while choosing a product and more likely to guide future brand preference (Berger & Mitchell, 1989; Fazio, Powell, & Williams, (1989)). Once these types of links are created in memory between brand and perceived message, they are believed to be extremely durable (Loftus & Loftus, 1980).
From the above mentioned literature, it can be concluded that the power of branded apps lies in the fact that they are experience driven and add value to consumers’ lives by offering valuable, relevant features and information for that consumer. This establishes more prominent links in the brain between brand, product and benefits. An app is quick to access and should be designed to promote frequent usage, which will create stronger connections in consumers’ minds. In other words, an app is more likely to create high brand value in the consumer’s mind if it creates a qualitative experience and encourages regular use.