Posts Tagged ‘apps’

Cross the Generational App Divide by Discovering Improvement Points

Monday, October 13th, 2014
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flickr user Jason Howie under CC BY

It happens all the time: older generations just don’t get the latest gizmos kids these days are using. What doesn’t happen every day is when there’s a conversation about it in an editorial space and the publication makes that conversation public.

That’s what news site Quartz did last week. In talking about payment app Venmo, writers under 30 said they used the app all the time and that they and their friends found it incredibly useful. The response from the over-30 crowd: “Why?!”

Venmo allows users to pay their friends for split checks, rent, whatever. The fact that one of your friends paid another can show up in your feed, like social media, or the payments can remain private. The over-30 participants in the chat remained bewildered as to why under-30s would want such information shared and why they would connect their bank account with an app in the first place.

As an under-30 myself, I’d never heard of Venmo and would probably never use it. But the over-30s in this conversation missed a crucial point, one that is frequently missed when talking to and marketing across generations: It doesn’t matter if you don’t get it, because people use it anyway.

In August The Atlantic published some findings about the most popular apps by generation, and while everyone’s top apps include Facebook and Pandora Radio, there’s a surprising (or not so surprising) difference between age groups. People over 55 play solitaire and use Yahoo! Mail, people 35 to 54 use Viggle and still play Candy Crush, users 25-34 still use Skype and have the highest Netflix usage, and people ages 18 to 24 use Kik Messenger, Snapchat, and Ifunny :).

This makes plain what most people would expect: Just as different generations respond to different words and messaging, they use different apps and interact with their smart phones differently. The Quartz discussion makes clear that for public relations pros and marketers, it’s important not to get caught up in thinking “why would you use that?” but instead to focus on the facets of popular apps that draw in users of specific age groups and leverage that understanding to reach an ever broader audience.

The most important thing to focus on is what does the app improve? Most apps that resonate with users will improve an existing procedure. Kik allows you to message your friends while also browsing news and games. This improves chatting by not forcing users to switch apps all the time. Venmo makes it easy for kids who don’t like to carry cash to easily and immediately pay each other back.

You might not be an app developer, but analyzing app use across generations can help you figure out what users and generations value and then speaking to those values.

Your Guide to Style Guide Apps

Thursday, October 9th, 2014
Guide to Style Guide Apps BurrellesLuce Ellis Friedman Public Relations PR Software Media Monitoring Press Clipping

screenshot of The Writer’s style guide app

One of the keys to consistent messaging and brand voice is having an in-house style guide, even if that guide is just plain ol’ AP style. The drawback to style guides is that, frankly, few but the wordsmiths reference them and they’re not always super accessible (who wants to carry around AP Stylebook or wade through docs to find the in-house guide?). Luckily, there are apps for that. In searching, we only found three of them, but they should be able to at least cover your basics. Here’s our mini-roundup of style guide apps.

AP Stylebook 2014

AP style is the stalwart style guide of newsrooms and the jumping-off point for most corporate style guides (at least in my experience). If you don’t want the bulk of the old-school paper version, AP has you covered with their iPhone app, though at $24.99, it costs more than the paper copy.

The app covers all your favorite spelling, grammar, punctuation, usage, and style guidelines and includes audio along with phonetic pronunciation guides.

The Writer’s Style Guide app

This new (and free!) Android and iPhone app puts a lot of your most burning language and usage questions right next to your Facebook app. It’s got plenty of handy entries about hyphens, ampersands, and more, but be aware that it is its own style guide and is British (for example, they prefer the British “per cent” over the American “percent,” and both of them over “%”). But it’s got great information, a section where you can input your own writing for a readability analysis, and even a fun writing trivia quiz.

APA Reference Guide

APA, aka the American Psychological Association, has its own manual of style, and its own app ($2.99) of the manual. OK, this one might not be as immediately helpful to public relations pros, but the style guide is used by a number of scientific and academic journals and textbooks.

Do you have another writing or style guide app you use?

Thanx Hanx: Why Old-School Isn’t Going Anywhere

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Hanx Writer Old School Technology BurrellesLuce Media Monitoring Public Relations PR SoftwareThis week in odd pairings, Tom Hanks launched an app. Slickly doing away with that stuffy “ks,” the app is called Hanx Writer, and it’s an iPad app that looks and sounds like a typewriter. If you ever felt like all the swiping and tapping you did on your iPad was just too silent, Hanx Writer rights that wrong and kits you out with all the clacks, dings, and whizzes your 21st Century heart could desire.

It’s been number one in the iTunes App Store since its launch last week, so it’s clearly striking a chord with modern-day typists. Perhaps it’s not surprising, since repackaging of the old in the guise of the new isn’t exactly a groundbreaking sales or marketing tactic. But what makes the app so interesting, besides appealing to sensory satisfaction, is that so many people seem excited to reconnect with an old, some might say more traditional, time and technology.

Hanx Writer is yet another reminder that old-school technology doesn’t really disappear. Five years ago everyone thought books would die and be replaced by ebooks. Spoiler alert: They didn’t. Radio is still around as is its supposed replacement, television; hipsters love shooting on film; and though the news just loves to talk about the demise of print, it’s probably safe to say newspapers and magazines won’t become extinct. So instead of worrying that old technologies will be replaced, let’s just remember new technologies, like new movie stars, just elbow their way in.

The “old” is still there, and often, it’s just as useful and influential as before.

And of course, now there are apps for radio, TV, photos, and print publications. For anyone worried about Millennials who don’t experience the joy of writing on parchment with a quill and inkwell, I’m sure Tom Hanks will get right on that with his next app.

This Week’s Shot of Fresh: Make the Camera Love You, Media Formerly Known as Print, and the Paid App Marketing Microcosm

Friday, March 28th, 2014
flickr user sWrightOsment under CC BY license

flickr user sWrightOsment under CC BY license

Shot of Fresh is our weekly roundup of Fresh Ideas content.

11 Tips for a Successful On-Camera Interview

See that red light? That means you just forgot everything you meant to say. Check out some of Johna Burke’s tips for not only remembering your words, but making them sound good, too.

Print Is Dead, Print Isn’t Dead: The “Chinatown” Scenario of a Shifting Media Model

The whole print is dead/not dead back-and-forth is reminiscent of the Chinatown sister/daughter debacle but with less Jack Nicholson. Maybe the reason we can’t agree on whether or not print is dead or alive is because we say “print” and mean “high-quality, edited journalism.”

Marketing Observations: Why People Pay Ten Dollars for an App

What can you gain from observing why a frugal person would buy a $10 app? A few marketing lessons, including how cost vs. price factors into a decision.

Marketing Observations: Why People Pay Ten Dollars for an App

Thursday, March 27th, 2014
flickr user Jason Howie under CC BY license

flickr user Jason Howie under CC BY license

One of my colleagues, who religiously shops at dollar stores, purchased a $10 app, PYKL3 Radar, for his phone, a move I thought almost out of character for someone of his shopping habits. As someone who resolutely downloads only free apps, I was intrigued.  What does PYKL3 – and other apps – have going for it, and how could that be applied to overall marketing and PR lessons in general?

Fit a niche interest

PYKL3 is a weather radar app. My colleague is planning to be in Kansas in early May, and with tornado season in full swing at that point, he wants to keep track of storms. He also has some personal interest in tornadoes, and while he isn’t a storm chaser, the app caters to one of his niche interests.

An app or service that fits into a niche can help draw more interest, and targeting a niche audience with narrower marketing not only hones brand focus, but helps foster brand loyalty, which can help brands fare better when they premier an expanded product line.

Fit more than one niche

Another way more people pay for apps? It fits in more than one niche. In the case of PYKL3, it fits into several niches: people who live in areas prone to dangerous storms, people visiting areas prone to dangerous storm, emergency responders, and storm chasers.

Marketing to one niche can help build interest, but catering to multiple select niches with overlapping interest can really elevate your brand. If your service appeals to more than one niche, that will again assist your brand in eventually reaching beyond the niche.

Be so useful that the cost makes the price worth it

When you’re planning to drive down a turnpike during tornado season, there’s a major safety factor, so for my colleague, PYKL3 is so useful that the $10 price seems low compared to what the cost could be (like an untimely confrontation with a funnel cloud).

The price of something is just the dollar amount consumers pay, but the cost is what they stand to lose in time, efficiency, or health. Creating a service that people need and pricing it so that the cost of not having it is greater than having it makes the service justifiable and even necessary.