June 26, 2014

Mobile apps and brand reputation

Written By Martin Sandhu
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BBC NEWS

The age of the smartphone has brought with it the era of the app. Apps are an essential component for a smartphone and when you consider that more than a billion smartphones were shipped in 2013, it’s easy to see why apps are such big business.

Mobile applications open up a whole new communication platform for businesses, offering what is essentially a direct link to a consumer’s pocket. Whilst this is a huge marketing opportunity, it also poses some risks for brand reputation.

When it goes wrong

How consumers used smartphones and apps is both a blessing and a curse, it means very little will be missed which is great when you’re running a promotion or trying to increase sales, but not so great when things for wrong.

Glitches happen with apps, it’s the nature of technology and the majority of users understand that, but persistent issues that go unchecked or one big problem can be damaging to the reputation of both your app and your brand.

BBC News app

This week the BBC News app suffered a glitch that lead many to believe it had been the victim of hacking. The issue led to a flurry of spam-like push notifications being sent to users of the app. One of them, spotted by The Next Web, read: “NYPD Twitter campaign ‘backfires’ after hashtag hijacked. Push sucks! Pull blows! BREAKING NEWS No nudity in latest episode of Game of Thrones!!! MORE BREAKING NEWS IIIIII like testing.”

The BBC later explained via Twitter that the messages were the result of a testing error, not a hacker. For such a trusted and respected brand this error is embarrassing, with some commentators suggesting that a hack would indeed be less damaging.

Monitoring is key

It is easy for these things to fly under the radar as marketers and app developers may not use their apps in the same way consumers do. Monitoring and regular analysis of apps is essential in order to both spot and prevent issues.