DIGIDAY:APPS – Will My App Succeed or Fail?

Matt Goddard, CEO of R2integrated discussed a simple framework by which a brand can determine whether an app will be competitive and ultimately successful in a competitive marketplace.  Just like any other 2×2 matrix tool, R2i’s “Mobile Engagement Quadrant” doesn’t tell the whole story, but it describes necessary criteria for success.

(click for a larger view of the chart)

As shown in the photo above, four kinds of apps are defined by two axes: “connection to brand” and “usefulness”.  The position along each axis is determined by the answer to a couple of basic questions:

Connection to brand

  • Do we have highly sought-after, proprietary content to offer?
  • Can we extend the brand promise or functionality to a device?


  • What problem do we solve?
  • How often will someone use it?

The four quadrants are defined by “high” and “low” values along these axes.  Each quadrant demonstrates different qualities, and of course, different levels of short- and long-term success.

Campaign-based Apps

  • Connection to Brand: High
  • Usefulness: Low
  • Example: Zippo lighter app
  • Comments: Campaign-based apps are popular, but they have a shelf life.

Popular Gimmicks

  • Connection to Brand: Low
  • Usefulness: Low
  • Example: Annoying Sound Machines
  • Comments: Two words: fart sounds

Straight Utilities

  • Connection to Brand: Low
  • Usefulness: High
  • Example: Cocktail Directory
  • Comments: Straight utilities dominate the app market.  They are fun and interesting utilities that may be tools of daily life.  The danger for brands, however, is that they may be initially successful but quickly commoditized.  Software companies and non-branded developers often program fully-featured apps better, and they can offer their own apps to beat the brand if there is no emotional connection keeping the user loyal to the branded app.

Branded Utilities

  • Connection to Brand: High
  • Usefulness: High
  • Example: Lonely Planet, mobile banking apps
  • Comments: Branded utilities are the most successful and sustainable apps.

At their core, applications are no different than any other product: they only succeed in a competitive marketplace if they can offer a unique value proposition.

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