Businesses large and small have been told they need an app to take their marketing to the next level. It makes sense that labor unions are investing in apps to help promote their events and also help with organizing.
Yep There’s an App for That
I have so many apps on my phone I have to use the search feature to find one. But that’s ok; it’s still a nice central place from which I can access all of my favorite services and businesses. No searching the internet or flipping through saved emails for information. Of course we do need to caution you, before downloading any app learn where to download from and do your research.
Here are the big reasons why apps are so popular and necessary!
- The average person spends more than 2 hours a day on their mobile device. Your app is literally in their face two hours a day – your logo is sticking in their mind.
- There’s a lot of noise out there: newspaper ads, Facebook ads, websites, coupons and emails. But an app is one central location for a user to check in with your business or organization. You can also feed your website news automatically into an app.
- Apps put the information you want to share right at the user’s fingertips, no fumbling through website or old promotions.
- Push notifications – yes those short popups that get sent out and appears on phone screens get noticed and read, contrary to the trend that emails are following.
- Easy engagement – how many people prefer to communicate via a text message rather than a phone call? Your app gives them that option without searching for the correct phone number to use.
Using Apps for Your Union
Labor groups can win with an app for their union. We’ve worked with a large national union that first developed their national’s app and then offered pages of their app to each local. That was a solidarity win all the way around: no chasing faxes on bulletin boards or wondering whether the newest information was on the Facebook page or posted on a local’s website. The national’s website news was automatically fed into the app. Easy to use contact information, event information and petitions were all at their membership’s fingertips too. They also used push notifications to send out reminders about approaching deadlines and voting.
Apps to Help Organize and Inform
Apps have evolved from just delivering coupons and specials to going so far as to fight wage theft and help organize a union in the workplace. The online environment gives workers privacy and anonymity, both necessary elements in avoiding harassment, threats, retaliatory firings and increased scrutiny.
Here are some emerging apps uses that are helping labor:
Helping Fight Wage Theft
The Jornalero app for day laborers is an easy way to track payments, record details about unsafe work sites and share pictures to identify employers. Most of all, information is posted anonymously. Think Yelp or Uber for single event contractors. Input for the app came from artists, organizers, lawyers, workers and unions from across the nation.
The WorkIt app is being used to help Walmart workers communicate with one another so they can learn about their rights as employees, as well as to develop strategies for improving workplace policies. While there are already a lot of online forums where Walmart employees gather to talk about issues at work, OUR Walmart wants to give employees a centralized hub to help them with all of their complaints and questions.
It’s obvious Walmart executives are worried about the app strengthening workers. They have gone out of their way to tell employees not to download the app. This could be the tool workers need to get the cards in and unionize this time.
Where to Get An App
There are several union app makers out there. As with any vendor, make sure their staff is union too so you’re all playing for the same team. Our staff here at Appletree MediaWorks, LLC does not build apps, but we have collaborated with several app builders and our clients to offer both technical insight and end user insight from our years of working with labor organizations. We excel at helping unions choose appropriate content for their apps and providing technical support to your maintenance staff.
With the overwhelming influx of smart phones – tiny computers unto themselves – it’s no surprise that people enjoy customizing their phones. Apps, the myriad tiny programs designed especially for mobile devices, bring those devices all sorts of new uses. But why are people so enthralled with apps? Why do people buy apps? There are a number of reasons:
Apps by their nature are dynamic: they are games to play, maps to follow, GPS systems, art programs, means of communicating with friends, and more. The best apps give a user plenty of interaction and do not expect a passive observer.
Native apps – those designed especially for an iPod or Android tablet – are designed to use all of that device’s technology, giving it the best features available. Graphics, sounds, motion controls and GPS create a deeper level of interaction with the device. Native apps also tend to run smoother and faster, merging in with the device as if they belong with it. In contrast, web-based applications do not always integrate as smoothly.
While many of an app’s features may be designed for online use, part of the beauty of a mobile device app is that depending on the app in question the user does not have to be continually online for its use. Many games and other apps are self-contained and will work just as well on a tablet outside of Wi-Fi range as they would a smart phone that’s always online.
Another novelty of apps is that unlike many programs which take a lot of funding for creation and distribution, many independent developers have started to create apps. This gives an enormous range of options on what is available. The popular app stores provided by Apple, Amazon, and Google mean these apps are generally easy to find and accessible. Many are free, while others have a free version and a paid version with more options.
“New Thing”, Social Phenomenon
So much of what happens on the Internet and with mobile devices is social, and there is a very real social factor when it comes to apps for mobile devices. People like to discover new things and share them with their friends. Apps that are especially useful, unique, novel, or funny have a certain ‘cool factor’ and appeal to sharing with friends.
Whether native apps remain the norm, or html-5 general apps such as those offered for Google Chrome become mainstream, the use of apps on mobile devices is not only a novelty, but likely here to stay for some time to come. They fill a useful and enjoyable niche, and as smart mobile devices become more mainstream, so will their respective apps.