What ‘The Rock’ Can Teach You About Mobile App Design

A businesswoman uses a mobile app to call on taxi on her phone.
A businesswoman uses a mobile app to call on taxi on her phone.

Brash and motivating, The Rock Clock delivers a branding experience unlike any other I’ve seen. If you to want to learn what your business can do with a mobile app, The Rock can teach you.

I’ve used The Rock Clock for months now, and I’ll tell you this if you’re planning to as well: get used to being called a candy-ass first thing in the morning. A lot.

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The Rock Clock is an alarm clock released by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, the star of (insert almost any massive summer blockbuster here), and is phase two of what he’s calling Project Rock. The goal of Project Rock is to push people to attain their biggest hopes and dreams. It’s all about motivation and getting his personal brand out there in an engaging way.

And it is hands-down one of the best examples of mobile apps for a business I’ve ever seen. So what can you, the business owner, learn about a mobile app from the Rock?

A ton, jabroni.

Lesson One: Pushing Your Brand

The app is built in stark yellows over dark gray. The “Brahma Bull” icon is everywhere, and the general feel of the app is that it doesn’t open on my iPhone so much as it shoves all of the other apps out of the way. It has attitude, but like a “bully”, more in an “intense personal trainer” way. When I set it at night it makes me want to do more push-ups before bed. “Intensity” is the best way to describe it.

The Rock knows his brand. Every inch of this app is conscious of that and it controls the perception of the user well. Many (too many, really) pieces of software use generic fonts, colors, and copy without thinking things through to this level. The attention to detail is fantastic. This is the kind of thing that delights your end user; getting down to this level of detail. Your users like knowing that you’ve thought of everything.

Want some examples? Time to bring it (I’m talking like this in the mornings, it’s beginning to worry my dog).

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You can see in the image above that setting your time has the heading “Wake my ass up at:”. Not “Set time”, or something bland to instruct the user. It’s a phrase designed to push the Rock’s brand and remind you of the intensity and drive he has built around his name.

The ring tones vary from “Good Morning Sunshine”, which The Rock is accompanied by an acoustic guitar while singing to you, “get your candy ass out of bed”, to another one of him saying “beep, beep beep, I can do this all day, beep, beep…”, to general hard rock riffs and motivating music.

You can take his name and logo off of it, it’s still every bit The Rock that we’ve come to know. He and his design team clearly thought through every pixel of this app to make sure it was completely on brand. It drips brand reinforcement. Imagine your customer having the same experience with your business’s brand every time they look at their phone.

Lesson Two: Understanding Your User

When you first load the app, it walks you through a series of steps that bring you into the app’s philosophy as well as prompting for all of the information it needs to function. You pick your “project” or main motivation, then what time to get your ass up, then tap the “Let’s Do This” button to “Get After It”. You can see my motivation for when I wrote this post on this image here.

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The take away here? I’m now invested in the experience The Rock wants me to have with this app within a minute.

I can set my time to wake up at “Rock Time” which is the time The Rock is going to wake up. If I had one complaint about this app it’s this feature. It’s all over the map a bit. I’m not sure if it’s adjusted for timezone, but I’ve seen times like 4pm on there. The Rock is a movie star, so who knows where he is on any day, but having my alarm time move around like that would drive me crazy. In case you’re wondering, it’s 5am every day to “Good Morning Sunshine” for me – I just can’t resist being serenaded first thing in the morning.

Apple puts limitations on apps like this. A real third party “alarm clock” can’t exist because of how Apple has built its platform. In order for this to work, you’ll need to keep the app open and active all night. The design team behind the app thought of that and gets around it by sending a push notification reminding you that you need to keep the app open once you close it. Again – it’s the details.

Lesson Three: Outreach and Marketing

Here is the single most brilliant part of this app. Most days you wake up, there’s a video message waiting for you from The Rock. You can easily access it by hitting the “play” button like in the image below.

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It’s short, candidly shot by himself with his phone, and broadcast to all of the users of the app. Some days it’s him inside his gym motivating you to get up and get after it, or in his truck while he’s driving (really not a fan of that one), but all of it is him. Talking directly to you. It’s a Snapchat from The Rock direct to you when you first get up. Personally reinforcing everything we’ve already gone over with people using this app.

It doesn’t take much to imagine the power of this kind of direct-to-consumer experience. He doesn’t have to go through Facebook, Twitter, Email, Snapchat, etc. He has his own audience that he controls and can directly market to without having to manage anyone else’s infrastructure. The audience is self-chosen and further along the “buyer’s cycle” for his brand – they’ve heard about him and have bought into what he’s offering enough to use his product. His users get The Rock experience when they first get up, and he gets a dedicated audience at his fingertips. It’s win-win and brilliant.

What can he do with this? The easier question is what can’t he do with this. He could record his ‘morning motivation’ from the set of his latest movie. He could be on a hike with his Rock Bag (another product he offers) talking about how great it is. He can celebrate accomplishments that people send him after using the app, further engaging with his audience. Hold events. Contests. Promote his latest projects. Query people’s motivations (assuming he’s saving them in the cloud) to gather customer insight for future content. The list goes on. He can do all of this on a platform that he completely controls. It’s a fantastic example of amazing content marketing.

Take a minute and imagine what your business could do if you had that same capability.

Finally, How Can This Help Your business?

The Rock has a dedicated audience on a platform he 100% controls and is able to reach out to any time he wishes. They’ve bought into the brand he and his team have expertly constructed in this app. What did he have to provide to the user to get them to buy in?

  • His brand
  • An alarm clock
  • Ringtones

Admittedly, his brand is the biggest motivator for downloading this app. People who are already fans will flock to it, and those on the fence will check it out because it’s a curious idea – The Rock made an app. He has tremendous outreach because of his fame and already engages his audience on social media, so building buzz around the app comes easy. But every business has their own brand and reach out to their customers in their own way. They may not get the volume of users that The Rock does with this app, but they can still engage their audience.

The real magic comes from the simplicity of the app and how on-point it is with the brand. The feature set of the app is light; it’s not overly complicated or difficult to set up. But it fits with what he’s selling and speaks directly to his audience. It didn’t take much for him to build something brilliant, and it doesn’t matter, because, for The Rock Business, he did.

This post originally appeared here.

This article was written by Harrison Ambs from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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