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Appy New Year: What your brand can learn from these apps
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Appy New Year: What your brand can learn from these apps

Aiming to get healthier in 2019? How about richer? Or smarter? Discover the best apps to help you achieve your New Year’s resolutions.

How well are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions? Are you smashing those goals, or have you already run out of enthusiasm and dived into that biscuit tin or pack of fags? Research shows that only 9.2% of us achieve our New Year’s resolutions, but with the help of technology you may be able to significantly improve those odds.

Whether you’re looking to shed some extra pounds after the holiday season, take charge of your finances, learn a new skill, or kick the habit; we’ve cherry-picked six fantastic mobile apps to help you on the road to self-improvement, all available for both iOS & Android.

As well as exploring just what it is that makes each of them so good, we’ve also picked out some key features that your brand could leverage in 2019.


1. Your Resolution: Diet

The best and most popular app for diet management is still MyFitnessPal. You can set goals to help you lose, gain or maintain weight, and the app makes it a breeze to keep track of what you consume, such as calories, fat, protein, carbs or sugar. There’s a handy recipe importer, you can log menu items from your favourite restaurants, and it’s compatible with fitness apps like Strava, Runtastic and Apple Health.


We Love: Big Data

What makes this app easy to use is the gigantic database of over six million food items. No more squinting at the small print on your food labels, simply search for whatever you’re eating and hey presto, it’s recorded. There’s also a barcode scanner, which you can use to get nutritional information on products when deciding what to buy at the supermarket.


What Your Brand Could Learn:

Think about the data estate you have. Is there more that your brand could be doing to harness the power of this data in 2019?


2. Your Resolution: Exercise

Forget costly, under-used gym subscriptions and head out for a run with Nike+ Run Club. This slick app will track your runs using GPS, making it easy to monitor your progress and keep improving those PBs. What’s more, the app will keep you motivated with weekly and monthly distance challenges, audio-guided runs, social networking and even curated playlists for your jog. As you’d expect, wearables are also covered; there’s a special Nike+ edition of the Apple Watch.


We Love: Brand Synergy

This app ties in perfectly with Nike’s renowned ‘Just Do It’ ethos. Naturally, the branding is very well-considered and while Nike do take the opportunity to highlight their products (which of their running shoes might be right for you, for example) it’s never intrusive or hard sell. The Nike+ app has effectively built a community of brand ambassadors and it’s no surprise that Nike offer similar apps for a number of different demographics including Nike Golf 360, Nike Soccer and Nike SB (skateboarding).


What Your Brand Could Learn:

Consider every one of your organisation’s touchpoints. How well do these link to your brand’s purpose? January is a great time to take stock of these.


3. Your Resolution: Save Money

If you’re saving up for something big or just feeling the financial pinch after the festive season, a money app could be what you need to get your bank balance in order. Money Dashboard is a personal finance platform with the power to revolutionise your budget; allowing you to monitor your transactions, plan your finances and save towards your goals. You also have the benefit of viewing all of your bank accounts in one place, the app can connect to 60+ banks including Monzo (another favourite of ours here at Pull!).


We Love: Great Design

Unsurprisingly, the stand-out feature of this app is the Dashboard (the clue is in the name). The look & feel is superb, with beautifully designed graphs and charts to help you make sense of lots of information at a glance, making it crystal clear how, when and where you’re spending your hard-earned cash.


What Your Brand Could Learn:

Is your brand’s design as beautiful as it is functional? But don’t go too far the other way either; as the designer William Morris once said, “nothing useless can be truly beautiful”. 2019 should be all about finding that balance.


4. Your Resolution: Give Up Smoking

The NHS have created a range of good apps to help you improve your health as part of their ‘One You’ initiative, including NHS Smokefree which aims to help you give up ciggies for good. The app offers a four-week programme of support, with tips, videos, and a savings calculator to remind you of all that extra money that’s in your pocket rather than those of Messrs Benson and Hedges. If you stick with the programme for 28 days, you’re up to five times more likely to quit for good.


We Love: Push Notifications

Daily messages from this app serve to keep you well-motivated to stay the course. As push notifications increasingly make the move into the realm of web browser technology, we expect brands to leverage them to reach their audiences more and more this year, especially when it comes to remarketing and engaging cross-channel.


What Your Brand Could Learn:

What web trends are on the horizon this year? Think about those that your brand could leverage but remember - it’s not just about technology for technology’s sake. Make sure there’s a strong case for any trend you decide to jump on.


5. Resolution: Learn an Instrument

Fancy yourself as the next Jimi Hendrix? Yousician is a personal music teacher app, with thousands of songs, exercises and lessons at your fingertips. Offering tutorials for guitar, bass, piano or ukulele, the app listens to you play and gives instant feedback on accuracy and timing. If your taste in music is more obscure, you can upload your own songs and play along, so even if you only play 70s Turkish funk, it’s time to get jamming!


We Love: Intuitive UX

Often the user experience of an app, website or product is make-or-break. If something is painful to use, the chances are you won’t bother. Yousician has a great user interface and crucially the tutorials are fun and easy to interact with, meaning there’s less chance of your instrument sitting in the corner gathering dust.


What Your Brand Could Learn:

The start of a new year is a great time to take stock of your brand. When was the last time you put yourself in the shoes of a customer? Ask yourself if your brand’s websites and applications are a pleasure to use. If not, why not?


6. Your Resolution: Learn a Language

We may be in the era of Google Translate, but there are still many reasons to learn a language; from chatting to the locals on your next trip abroad, to improving your brain power or even your employment potential. When it comes to language learning apps, Duolingo is the top dog (or should that be owl?), offering fun and effective courses in over 30 languages. Before you know it, your Spanish will be ‘excelente’ and your French ‘magnifique’!


We Love: Gamification

Gamification is more than just a buzzword, when used well it can be an incredibly effective tool for engagement. Duolingo is a gamification masterclass; as you earn points for correct answers, beat the clock and level up, you’ll beat the boredom and be encouraged to do a little every day which soon adds up.


What Your Brand Could Learn:

Do apps like Duolingo offer insights that you can take into your next e-learning or engagement project? It could be something as simple as gamifying your next townhall meeting to energise the troops, or perhaps there are some tactics you could apply to your customer retention efforts?

A well-designed app is a pleasure to use on a daily basis, and if you keep using these apps regularly, you might just improve your life. So, why not give one of our recommendations a try? Even if you don’t get inspiration for your next marketing project, you might actually stick to those New Year’s resolutions for once…

Posted 9 January 2019 by Stephen Miller