Mobile apps provide a key way to reach niche audiences

A commercial for Apple's iPhone boasts, "There's an app for just about anything." While that might be hyperbole, organizations of all sorts are seeing the usefulness of creating smartphone applications.

A commercial for Apple's iPhone boasts, “There's an app for just about anything.” While that might be hyperbole, organizations of all sorts are seeing the usefulness of creating smartphone applications. Communications pros are also taking advantage.

“It's obviously not for all campaigns, but [it's constructive] for the brand that wants and can utilize the mobile experience,” explains Russell Hirshon, senior project manager at Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide. “The mobile screen is the primary screen for a lot of individuals, so to be in that space... through a mobile application is an absolute benefit.”

However, Tom Shea, account executive and digital productions lead at Weber Shandwick, adds that to successfully take advantage of the mobile application space, companies need to specify content for the application and phone themselves, not just push “the bare minimum” onto a mobile device.

“It has to be something compelling – something with a social currency or something that adds value to what you are doing,” he says.

Aside from creating new iPhone applications, the corporate use of existing applications, such as those that relay Twitter content, are also beneficial for efforts, Shea says.

Hirshon adds that specific mobile applications are usually better for well-established brands looking to expand their presences onto mobile devices, than for new brands.

“If you're an established brand... and have a... presence in the marketplace, expanding that brand into the mobile space is a lot easier,” he says. “If you're trying to establish your brand primarily in the mobile space and... don't have a known footprint outside of that, it's a lot harder.”

Key Points:

Mobile devices are the primary point of Internet contact for many consumers, so applications are a key way to reach them

Well-established brands have a better chance of establishing a mobile brand with applications than newer brands

Brands are smart to establish specific mobile strategies, not just push products better suited for other parts of the Web into applications

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