How to Get BRAG-ing Rights

May 25, 2023
By: Ravi Pimplaskar

Our BRAG Index 3 puts a lens on the relationship between brand building and user growth. BRAG stands for “Brand Relative App Growth”, and like the name implies, compares “brand power” with app performance. Brand power is measured by the amount of people that say they are aware of an app and would consider installing it. 

Simply put, the more known and desired an app is, the higher the brand power. But apps with low brand power will often surpass expectations. And that’s exactly what the BRAG Index 3 looks for.

But identifying those overachieving apps is only the start. The BRAG Index 3 seeks to find out why these apps found success. What underlying strategy was used to take their brand to new heights and achieve transcendent user growth. 

The BRAG Index 3 found 4 common strategies among these “Transcenders.” Here’s a look at how each strategy delivered “BRAG-ing” rights.

Community Marketing

Not everyone has the skills to be a DJ. Beat Maker Pro allows aspiring DJs to make and share new beats easily. With a limited, niche market, Beat Maker Pro will never have the brand power of Amazon Music or Spotify. But mainstream success is also not their goal. But by building buzz (and beats) within their community of DJs, Beat Maker Pro was able to elevate their brand awareness and convert users quickly. 

Community marketing success is not limited to just niche apps. Peacock grew their streaming platform by aggressively growing their brand in small communities like car racing and wrestling superfans by hyping up big events on their streaming platform. By rapidly locking in whole communities of fanatics, Peacock surpassed expectations while also being a relatively well-known app.

Advertising Execution

Creativity in mobile advertising is back! Without algorithms to do the bulk of the targeting work for companies, marketers have rolled up their sleeves and found their creative chops. Not many people knew who Temu was prior to their “Shop like a Billionaire” Super Bowl ad. But the ad itself was the culmination of a longer strategy. Prior to the ad airing, they used aggressive search marketing and incentive programs in tandem to draw people to their app. When the ad finally aired, people saw an app already with millions of reviews about people saving money – immediately giving the brand legitimacy.

Marriott Bonvoy also has successfully managed to find success beyond its peers. The hotel loyalty app uses video ads that mix the thrill of travel with the fun of finding a “deal.” With people dipping their toes back in the travel pool in Q1, they upped their video storytelling with 2x more creative ads and a focus on social platforms. The result was 2x more observable impressions than their closest direct competitor. 

Product-Led Growth

Sometimes all it takes to grow your brand awareness and gain a new user is to find quick and easy ways to give people a “glimpse” of your product. This is what Telegram did to help people test-drive their instant messaging app. By including a QR code in messages, first-time users were able to experience the app in group chats with friends as a “guest.. This “try before you buy” strategy helped them simultaneously grow awareness and users.

Another example of Product-Led Growth is the merging of content from HBOMax and discovery+ to the new “Max” streaming service. By creating a broader, content portfolio, Max seems to extend the success of HBOMax and also perhaps save/revive discovery+. The reality in streaming is that there have been too many options and it’s way too easy for consumers to leave. Consolidation was inevitable to keep up with the top brands – something we wrote about recently

Device Integration

While some used their product to grow the app, others used the vehicle that gives access to their product: the smartphone. Shazam’s integration into Apple’s user interface has helped the app stay relevant 20 years after its launch. The app can be accessed right from the Control Center, letting people find out what songs are playing even when they are using earbuds.

Facebook is preloaded on more phones than any other app. They recognize that they are most vulnerable to churn when people get a new phone and being on the device already protects against that. Meanwhile, TikTok and Spotify also use preloads, but for them it’s to amplify growth. Both apps are well-known leisure time apps making them ideal for organic discovery. When people have free moments and see these apps on their phone, they’re eventually bound to dive in.

Do you know of any apps that used these four winning strategies? Share them with us on our LinkedIn channel! And if you haven’t seen the full report, make sure you check out the BRAG Index 3.

By Ravi Pimplaskar
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