Incipia blog

Q&A Interview: Identifying a Niche and Building a Brand With Sylvain Gauchet (Co-Founder, Apptamin)

Gabe Kwakyi | September 29, 2016

When it comes to starting a business, one of the most successful strategies is to identify and capture a niche. Focusing on a niche enables a business to more effectively focus resources, land the right message and become an industry leader. Today we had the pleasure of talking with Sylvain Gauchet, who shared some of his experiences in building a niche brand, as well as the importance of video marketing in mobile apps.

Incipia: Startups are often advised to seek a niche when starting off, to pick one thing and do it well; Apptamin is a great example of this. How did you come to identify the niche of app videos as an opportunity?

Sylvain: It happened pretty naturally. I was marketing some apps at the time, and to support my PR efforts I wanted to create videos presenting the apps. I could not find a service that seemed tailored to my needs (i.e. video agency specialized in app). I discussed it with a long-time friend (my current business partner) who had a video production company. We produced a first video, put it on a website (Apptamin) and that's how we got our first clients.

Incipia: What were some of the early wins and challenges you came across when establishing and growing brand awareness for Apptamin?

Sylvain: The first win was to get some requests for videos and the first clients. And then to see some constant traffic come to our blog and website. We bet everything on an inbound/content marketing strategy: our blog talks about app marketing and promotion. We wanted to write articles and blog posts that would be useful to the developer community. I believe even more in content marketing now than I used to, but when you're just starting it takes several months (about 9 months for us) to show some really positive results.

Incipia: Now that you have a solid brand awareness, have you considered leveraging that brand beyond your starter niche into other verticals, like UA (user acquisition) consulting, analytics or even screenshots/icon design?

Sylvain: We have. At the moment we've decided to focus on providing the best video service out there for mobile-first startups and game studios. There's tons of stuff that can be done on our niche alone.

Incipia: What are some inbound marketing strategies that have helped generate positive results for Apptamin?

Sylvain: Writing consistently (at least a post a week at the beginning). Bigger pieces or "new approaches" have served us well, like our iOS App Marketing Strategy Guide or our ASO Cheat Sheets. Quora (I'm a big fan) was a good way to get exposure while helping out others.

IncipiaWhat are some of the most successful app marketing videos you’ve seen, and what is it that makes them so effective?

Sylvain: You'd have to break that down by category/purpose. 

A great pre-launch video was the Mailbox app video. While the quality is not exceptional the message is on point and the music makes the difference. This helped them tremendously in building a user base even before launching.

More recently, the "Clash of Clans: Legend of the Last Lava Pup" commercial was pretty genius (using actual gameplay and build a story around) and went very popular (I mean - look at the number of views!). Supercell can do these kind of videos because of the brand recognition (and budget) they already have, but this type of long storytelling doesn't work for everything (in UA for example, you can't have that kind of build up and often better to start with a bang).

This video creative we've produced for the Jurassic World game has been used as a video ad and has shown good results. This is for an update of the game (the previous one had shown good results on Facebook too - especially vs. static images) and was used for re-engagement campaigns too. I like this one because it starts with some real gameplay (users know what they'll get) and then a short cinematic part to end strongly. So I guess you can have a short build up for ads (even if I don't recommend it in general).

Incipia: Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers?

Sylvain: As far as startups and entrepreneurship is concerned, my advice would be to be focused (i.e not too many projects - especially at the beginning) and persistent.

Regarding using videos in app marketing and UA, the critical thing is to know what your goal is. It's hard to have a "one size fits all video" and you have to adapt how you present your app depending on the distribution channel for the video. And also, test as much as possible: video vs. no video, different lengths or value propositions put forward, different ad networks. And double up on what works.

Incipia: Now we’d like to turn the table and give you a chance to ask us any question you like!

Sylvain: Gabe, I saw you were in Seattle and New York, previously. Why have you chosen Detroit as a base for Incipia (it seems smart for an online business)?

Incipia: “We are both from the Metro Detroit area and decided to move back from New York, NY and Lansing, MI to start Incipia in Detroit, MI as we have strong local networks, rent is much cheaper than larger cities and there is a larger opportunity to stand out here than in over-crowded tech cities like NYC/SF/Seattle. The digital era we find ourselves in, with real-time productivity tools and free screen-sharing and video calls, not only makes it more possible than ever to think up, build and scale a product (or service) to customers around the world, but also to get things done as a team located anywhere in the world. Indeed, many of our clients are located in other states, and we have team members spanning many cities and three countries as well.

While the startup scenes in Michigan (the main hubs are Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor and Detroit) are still not as developed as other cities, this represents an opportunity to lead the charge; there is a wave of exciting energy and momentum here in Detroit, with many college graduates now choosing to stay, a vast improvement in political management and entities such as the Mobile Technology Association of MichiganGrand Circus, Dan Gilbert/Quicken Loans and even ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer investing heavily in Detroit’s future.

Sylvain Gauchet is the co-founder of Apptamin. Apptamin works with startups, game studios and brands and produces video creatives (video ad units, app store videos, etc.) that help them acquire new users and convert visitors into customers.

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