While the latest surveys show that the majority of the event industry is not yet using event apps, they also forecast that almost 60 percent of pros plan to increase their event tech adoption. The reason why is simple: Early adopters are reporting overwhelmingly positive results regarding mobile apps’ ability to boost ROI and enhance attendee engagement. And 91 percent of event professionals have reported that increasing attendee engagement is one of their top priorities.
But let’s say you’re already on board with the fact that—in today’s hyper-connected world—you need an event app to boost your attendee experience. We can even take it one step further: You’ve done your research on vendors’ pricing plans, features and customer reviews and have almost selected a winner.
After seriously considering your event goals and challenges, any provider worth their salt is going to find out one important fact: Do you need a branded app or if building one within your event-tech vendor’s container would be the best fit?
Whoa. If you just read the above and had flashbacks to Charlie Brown’s teacher speaking in class, you’re hardly alone. Some definitions are in order.
Branded vs. container app: The downlow
The branded app:
“A brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room,” Amazon’s Jeff Bezos once surmised. In essence, your brand is a combination of the look and feel, voice and messaging, and set of core values and positioning that consumers associate with your organization. For many companies, strict branding policies are non-negotiable.
If this is the case for your business, you’ll probably want your event attendees to find your event app in the app store under your own name, and featuring your own logo. From that point on, you can use your vendor’s templated platform to easily build out the rest of your branded interface. Sound like the right fit? Then a “branded app” (also referred to as a “white-labeled” app) is for you.
“Right,” you might be thinking. “Who wouldn’t go for this option?” Well, there’s a catch. While it used to be quite simple to set up any branded app with Apple—your app vendor could submit the application for you directly under their own developer account—in 2017 Apple changed the rules. Now, branded apps must be submitted under the Apple Developer account of the original content owner. That’s your organization.
The result? Building a branded app requires the event producer to have an Apple Developer account and takes more time to publish than a container app due to being subject to Apple review (which can last up to 7-10 business days). What’s more, as a whole, creating a branded app is more expensive because of the increased resources involved in the submission and publishing process.
However, for organizations with some IT prowess, larger budgets and a decent amount of time prior to their event date, the branded app can still be a worthwhile choice.
One more thing to keep in mind: Branded apps are often available in two different formats:
- As a single event app, which is branded specifically for—and applies only to—one event you’re producing.
- As a multi-event app, which is branded to your organization and contains within it a number of different events you’re producing.
The container app:
What if you’re an organization with a budget that overrules your branding, or need your event app published immediately at the highest possible quality? In that case, you’ll want to strongly consider what the event app industry calls a “container app.” In layman’s terms, that means you would instruct your attendees to head to the app stores and search for the name of your event app provider, download their app, search for your event name within the provider’s event app, and join your event from there.
Leveraging a container app is a great option for organizations that are not subject to strict branding guidelines. With the exception of the app container itself, the best event-app vendors offer the same primary features within their container apps as they do in their branded apps. You can build and personalize your app with your own logo, photos, videos, document uploads, sponsor pages and more. The most intuitive event apps have a seamless, self-service set-up that includes a step-by-step build, and drag-and-drop functionality.
Bonus plan: With a container app, the pricing is considerably more cost-effective and you can publish your event immediately.
Branded vs. container app: a workflow
Still a little confused? We get it. Here’s a handy branded vs. container app roadmap to help you work through your decision.
To Brand or Not to Brand Your Event App: A Roadmap
Whichever route you take, we wish you all the best in your event app search, build and publishing process!