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Last week, the 10 billionth app was downloaded from the Apple store. Remarkable really. If brands were not racing to develop an app before, the race is officially on as this news is sure to push any brands that have been holding off over the mobile edge. Before your brand dips its toe into the app waters, a few questions to check off the list for marketers and developers: Why an app? Yes, an obvious question but so often with new technology we 'just want it'. We feel the need to keep up, show that our brand is on trend. Clearly the world loves apps 10 billion times over, but not all apps. There are many apps that were created by well meaning, hard working marketers that have yet to get more than a few downloads. Will the app fill a need or will be for entertainment only? An industry specific tool Does the app allow the medical community to share data easier in emergency rooms? Does the app allow architects easy access to solutions to complex mathematics while on the job site? A fun tool, but a tool none the less Golf tips that can be accessible on the 7th hole when the ball just keeps going to the right no matter what you do @%!& There is a clear path to success (and optimization) if the app fulfills a very specific need. Not to simplify it, but find a real need that matches with your industry and then challenge your developers to make it user friendly. Entertainment: This is where success is both harder to control and can be more broadly defined. This is the challenge for the marketer. If it's for entertainment ' be true to entertainment. Don't say you want to create the most fun app ever, measure it on downloads and then ask: "but where is the product tag line in the app?" It is user friendly? No choice here. If it's a bad idea, it won't matter. If it's a good idea and it's not user friendly, someone will rebuild it, only better. Make sure the end game for the brand and the user is clear and achievable.

The Long and Winding Road'?¦ That Leads to Brand Loyalty

Today might be the worst day for an artist to release an album, unless you are The Beatles. 40 years after the group split and 10 years after the launch of iTunes, The Beatles are now available for digital download. Apple teased the launch on 11/15 with their announcement that 'Tomorrow is just another day. That you'll never forget.' Speculation around the announcement ranged from chatter about a cloud-based subscription service to Ellen DeGeneres' latest tweet: 'Apple says iTunes is making a big announcement tomorrow. If it's a baby, I hope they name it Ellen.'? While I'm excited to purchase a new digital version of Yellow Submarine, my favorite Beatles songs are already on my iPod. Or in the words of @adamisacson 'Today, Apple is announcing to the world that millions of baby boomers still don't know how to rip mp3 files from their record collections.'? I was looking forward to the 11/16 release of my favorite American Idol, Lee Dewyze's new album ' but 12 hours after it should have been available on iTunes, it is still not there. Lee has been patiently thanking fans today via Twitter for their support while iTunes figures out why his album isn't available yet'?¦ In a recent tweet he is reminding fans that his album is available right now on other online sites. And yet here I am still waiting for iTunes to figure out their Beatlemania before I jump ship and purchase elsewhere. I'm mostly waiting for the ease of iTunes & iPod syncing, but apparently I'm more loyal to Apple than I ever realized. I don't own an Apple computer, or even an iPhone although I do have more than one iPod, love a good Justin Long commercial and I'll be the first in line for a Verizon iPhone if it ever happens. As a marketer I know brand loyalty is important, but today I have seen firsthand how impactful it can be. If I remember today for anything, it might be for realizing the true effect of brand loyalty. Oh and for Lee's new album, which as of 12:05 PM is now available on iTunes. Congratulations @LeeDewyze! PS. Does this mean Garth Brooks is coming to iTunes next? That will be the day that my iPod will never forget.

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