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Attract and engage customers with apps – The Age Editorial, May 2018

10 May 2018

If you think mobile applications are just for banks, department stores and global brands, you might still be living in 2010.

Mobile apps are taking off with small and medium-size businesses, helping firms attract and keep customers.

Research shows consumers love their apps. They spend about three hours a day using them and use an average of 40 a month, according to a report by App Annie, a global provider of app market data.

With more than 5 million apps available in iOS and Google Play stores, there is an app for just about everything.

Steve Brendish, chief executive of Melbourne’s 2 Dam Creative, says a business that is not providing customers with an opportunity to engage via the smartphone at their fingertips is at risk of being left behind.

For almost 10 years, his award-winning company has been helping businesses of all sizes embrace a mobile-first strategy .

‘‘Today, a mobile app is as essential to a business as a website has been in the past,’’ says Brendish, who has worked in the design industry in the United Kingdom and Australia for 28 years. Apps are purely about engaging directly and in a meaningful way with customers, he says.

The apps Brendish’s agency has developed are successful because his team employs a user-first approach in its practices.

‘‘First we build a proof of concept, which investigates if your idea is needed and is going to solve a problem and be used,’’ Brendish says.

‘‘Then we conduct extensive user testing and interviews, competitive research and quality assurance. It is the same method we use for tier 1, ASX-listed organisations delivering an innovation to market or start- ups and private companies seeking to drive customer engagement and satisfaction.

‘‘There’s also a go-to-market plan. You can’t just build an app and cross your fingers that people will find it in the app store.

‘‘Many businesses go wrong by simply using a developer to build an app, which has no design or marketing thought behind it and it’s often not solving a problem.’’

Award-winning apps created by 2 Dam

Creative include My Build, an app that home renovators and builders use to keep on top of their budget, time and paperwork. Cub Cadet is an app used by ride-on lawn mower owners to log use of their machinery.

‘‘We do a lot of deep thinking at the front, not just about the strategy but also about the end user, to make sure the app will deliver a solution to both the customer and the company,’’ Brendish says.

He has just returned from London where he spoke to more than 5000 conference delegates about digital design and app

retention – ergo, how to make apps ‘‘sticky’’ and how to design those apps to leverage artificial intelligence.

‘‘App retention is the big topic that developers are talking about – 70 per cent of apps are deleted within 24 hours.

‘‘We’re consistently invited to conferences to share how our agency designs apps that are beautiful and functional, how they deliver real value to the bottom line of businesses and most importantly are engaging to the customer and retained by the end user.’’


The Age, Thursday 10 May 2018