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What Brand Apps Can Learn from RunKeeper

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At a recent networking event, I was talking to someone I hadn’t seen in a while about how great it is to keep up with each other through Facebook. I enjoyed the conversation, except for a remark he made about the fact that I share so much about my running regimen via RunKeeper, a very cool app that not only makes it easy to track your runs and other fitness activities, but distribute the details to your friends.

“What’s with you and RunKeeper? Do I really care how many miles you’ve run?”

Those weren’t his exact words. But that’s what I heard. The impression he gave me was that he could care less about something that means so much to me. Ouch.

The truth is, though, everybody else in my social media circles tells me they love what I share about my running exploits. They know I’ve run the Boston Marathon before (eight times for charity and three times unofficially) and what a big role running plays in my life. They’re glad to see all the pictures I take along the course of my runs and my frequent RunKeeper updates upon completion.

And in turn, I’m glad I’ve downloaded RunKeeper to my smartphone.

That RunKeeper makes it easy for me to share data about my workouts with my social media network is one thing. What’s even more important to me as a user is that it allows me to document my running routes and history, keeping tabs on my progress every step of the way.

What can brand apps, not just other health and fitness brand apps, learn from RunKeeper? Plenty. Everything I like about this app could serve as an example of what they should at least try to be providing to their customers, prospects and users by way of their own apps. For example:

  • It’s empowering. Whenever I use RunKeeper, I’m motivated to run faster. Because I know that my social media connections may be paying attention, my pride won’t let each workout be anything less than my very best effort.
  • It’s convenient. RunKeeper tells me how far I’ve run, how long it’s taken me and how many calories I’ve burned. All I have to do is find the app on my smartphone and hit “Start Activity.” It gives me key information about my run that I wouldn’t have at my fingertips – literally – otherwise.
  • It’s supportive. Like my own virtual coach, it talks to me on my long, lonely runs. Every five minutes or so, it tells me how I’m doing. When you’re running mile after monotonous mile, any words of encouragement are appreciated, even if they’re robotic.
  • It’s practical. Whenever I use RunKeeper, it saves my activity to my account, making it possible for me to review my running logs anytime in one quick glance.
  • It’s social. Many people nowadays like to share their accomplishments online. They don’t want to brag, but they do want those among their social media networks to know about some of their proudest moments and greatest passions. I have RunKeeper set up to automatically share my activities to both Facebook and Twitter, making it easy to update my friends and followers about my running feats.

So if you work for a brand that’s planning to launch its own app, or if your brand already has its own app, think about what you can do to enhance the lives of your constituents. And as soon as you get the chance, take RunKeeper for a trial run. If nothing else, it’ll help you get into great shape.

 

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