Don’t Build an App—Build Value

An app is a fantastic way to create a compelling experience for your customers, providing content and services they need while better aligning them to your brand.

But one of the biggest mistakes we encounter is organizations seeing an app as just that—a functional deliverable. Once it’s complete, they pat each other on the back, say “job well done,” and move on to the next item on the to-do list.

Your App should be conceived and executed as an integral part of your business—a core element of how you interact with your audience in a digital world.

If you’re going to invest the time and resources into an app, it should be more than something your company builds, finishes, and then leaves alone with the hopes that it will magically go viral.

Look at your app as a product, not a deliverable.


Clients often come to us with an app idea. Many times, they want to turn a physical product, such as a measuring tool, calculator, or stack of information, into a digital entity.


This type of functional app absolutely has value—with limits. Unless it is a tool that end users will use on a daily basis, you will see limited ROI if you stop there. You need to think of that functional tool as an entry point to a digital relationship with your end users, and build on that interaction in a way that creates a deeper connection with your organization.

So if you’re trying to create a more fulfilling level of engagement with your community, a transactional app experience is not going to help you achieve that goal.


One of our clients—a member-based organization—came to us with the idea to build an app for a digital “code of ethics” that its members could access via an app. The client knew this would make it easy for its members to find and use the code from anywhere—but that’s where the vision stopped.

When we heard this idea, we wanted the client to think bigger about what this app could be.

The original idea was an app of convenience. It wasn’t going to draw the member community together or align them closer to the brand. It would be a “nice to have,” but it wouldn’t have long-term impact on member recruitment, retention, engagement, or revenue.


A mobile app should enhance your business and the value you provide. It can start with a tool, but what other experiences can be built around it to create a continuous level of engagement?

That’s where a partner like Accella comes in.

A partner that has an eye toward digital strategy can help you analyze your goals and take your idea to the next level. For our “code of ethics” client, we looked for ways to drive dialogue and engagement around the conversations we knew its members were already having.

So we suggested this:

We build the pocket version of a “code of ethics” to get a quick win, but look at a long-term product roadmap that includes features such as:

  • Provide access to a members-only hotline with the possibility for in-app communication
  • Drive non-member revenue through in-app purchases of one-on-one consulting
  • Allow for ethics feedback from affiliate leaders via the app to decentralize and remove bottlenecks
  • Create multilingual features for the hispanic population
  • Institute in-app training and quizzes to support self education

We would then use analytics, KPIs, and member surveys to prioritize items in the product backlog. We’d release updates on a quarterly basis to keep the application fresh and provide enhanced value to members.


If you’re going to go through the process of creating an app, shouldn’t it do everything possible to enhance your business? We want to make it easier for you to take your organizational goals and business drivers, and align them to digital experiences that delight and engage your users.

Our process is to continually ideate to get you the most value from your idea, leveraging our Foresight program.

The vision for your app should be long-term—allowing it to evolve based on how people engage, what types of users are drawn to it, and how it can continually be improved to support both the functionality users want and your organizational goals. It must continue to grow with your business to be successful.


Have an idea for your next app, website, or mobile experience or want to take an existing app to the next level? Submit your information below and let’s create something your customers love.

Jason King

Jason King

As President of Accella, Jason provides strategic vision towards growing a multi-faceted agency with a focus on helping clients understand how digital transformation impacts their organization on a daily basis.

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