Career Services

More Than a Brand: Why Custom Built Mobile Apps Are The Future of Career Community

When folks hear “custom branded app” they hear marketing mumbo jumbo and I am trying to say, "the only product strategy that gives you a fighting chance to meet your goals."

I learn a lot about the value of Grafted career communities just by talking about them. For example, until recently, I never ended a call without mentioning how we give our partners a “custom branded app” to house their community. 

I was all about that “custom branded app.”

We even gave this concept some great real estate on our homepage!

Pretty snazzy looking website, eh? 😺

But apparently, the phrase “custom branded app” has a history that precedes Grafted. And when I use that phrase with folks, they don’t hear what I hope they will. They hear marketing mumbo jumbo and I am trying to say "the only product strategy that gives you a fighting chance to meet your goals."

Here’s what they’re hearing:

Custom branded app = we’ll pay a vendor to put our logo on an app in the app store. Our brand is our logo and everything it represents, and having our logo on our Grafted app will make our community instantly recognizable to alumni and current students.

And don’t get me wrong— recognizability is certainly part of the value of a “custom branded app.”

But there’s a lot more to your custom branded app than self-promotion. And so, without further ado…

🥁  🥁   🥁  🥁

Let's reframe to “Custom BUILT app” from now on.

Here’s our big bet at Grafted:

The most impactful communities are the custom built ones. The communities that are united around a core common interest. Communities that are diverse but share a common meaningful connection. The communities that are built and designed for a particular purpose for a particular group of people. 

And so that's what we do.

So here’s what we mean when we say "CUSTOM BUILT"

  • Imagine you wanted to build an app specifically for connecting students, alumni and employers in a meaningful way where all parties are consistently delighted with what this app does for them. You wanted it to be compliant, safe, performant, scaleable, and, most importantly, flexible to your unique subculture within the massive higher ed ecosystem (e.g., business schools, football teams and athletic departments). You wanted every touch point with your members to feel like it was built in-house, but to also have the speed of improvement and responsibility of development as if you're licensing a SaaS solution. Yeah, that's what we do.

  • Every aspect of the app is built with intentionality. We’ve thought through the user journeys for every single user type on the app— and we continue to tweak and tailor to optimize for a very enjoyable, simple, friction-less way for each user type to excel on the app.

  • We’ve built a flexible, safe, compliant architecture for community that enables us to configure our app to your unique university ecosystem at launch and as you grow. 

And your app is not a static creation— it’s a dynamic community that evolves with you. As an admin for the community, you’re actively involved in shaping the app by:

  • Governing content— you get to curate content for your students and decide who gets the mic🎤 for broadcasts. Many admins build out app content to mirror the content calendar for the department, proving Grafted is an extension of your team. 

  • Growing your community and shaping its culture— you drive culture on your app by determining who gets in (you can require literally every new member to be approved) and who's hosting broadcasts. For example, if you want to start as a community for alumni and then gradually add student-athletes, you can. If you want to add employer partners, you have that option. Broadcasts are live Q&A's hosted by a curated alumni or employer that creates content that lives on in your app. Words build culture.

  • Monitoring all the data and analytics for your community— our reporting tools are designed to efficiently show you what’s working and what isn’t in your app. Get as granular as you want to— all the way down to the story views and clicks of a specific user. You have completely new ways to help students uncover their interests and get them taking the next meaningful step in their career journey.

In the end, our "custom build" philosophy supercharges your branded app

You will put your brand on the app— your logo will serve as the recognizable "front door" to your career community. In other words, all of your students' uplifting and empowering career interactions will happen under the banner of your brand.

And yet, your brand is way more than a name tag. It's a reflection of you and your members. It's a reflection of the cumulative effort of everyone who has represented that brand.

Your members' identities are tied to that brand. Your brand represents the best they're capable of, their hopes and dreams, and a cause they really care about.

Your brand UNITES your members and builds community identity. At its best, it represents a family that your members won't ever want to turn their backs on. A community they love.

So, be selective as to what you put your valuable branding on. The technology you choose should enhance the brand value— not ride its coat tails. With a custom built Grafted app, you have the ability to harness the power of the community that your brand represents to your members. You can build the space for members to connect, learn, grow, and give back— all within the familiar framework of your university brand.

In the end, you need two overarching things to have a great online community: an intentional, custom build and a solid brand to build around. Together we'll make it happen. 🤝

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