The new B2B marketing app aims to not only enable the Union Swiss team to communicate with and share information with its distributors, but to also create a sense of community among distributors by giving them a platform to show what they are doing in their respective markets.

The partnership adds that it will provide clear user journeys to ensure quick and easy access to content and the user experience invokes belief, pride and a compulsion to want to share content with others.

Bluegrass Digital says that it worked closely with Union Swiss team members to address the key challenges and ensure that it delivers a solution that successfully meets the key objectives. The project followed an Agile KANBAN approach to deliver both the iOS and Android mobile app.

Union Swiss CEO Kim Lombard says that they wanted to create an Instagram experience, but with a more corporate feel. "The app was designed to function as the only channel of communication between Union Swiss and their extensive distributor network, eliminating the email and extranet correspondence that was commonplace in the past," says Lombard.

"Today, this is the primary way that we communicate with our distributors. Everything happens on the app. More importantly, this approach just made sense because the days of the big and bold brand adverts are over and have been replaced by local, more bespoke digital campaigns," she adds.

Bluegrass Digital CEO Nick Durrant says that they worked closely with Union Swiss team members to address the key challenges and ensure the solution successfully met the key objectives.

"Together, we have developed a robust mobile app that encompasses and successfully portrays the professionalism and styling of the Union Swiss-owned Bio-Oil brand," says Durrant.

The agency says that the agile KANBAN approach allowed for the team to be flexible with iterative UX and design process allowing, the use of a phased approach to the rollout of new features.

Some of the key features include:
  • profiles for different distributors
  • a newsfeed where people can upload videos and photos, and
  • a contact list detailing the different distributors across disparate regions.
There also needed to be some sort of reporting functionality so that users can report any potential misuse of the app, according to the partnership.

"With the app, we wanted to create a glass window between ourselves and our distributors so that they can see into our business and, ideally, we also get to experience what they're doing and how the strategy is translating in reality," adds Lombard.

"Our aim was to build a Bio-Oil community. We wanted to seamlessly connect everyone in a more contemporary, real-time way, which wouldn't have been possible using more traditional communication," she explains.

Bio-Oil says that it followed an iterative process where Bluegrass produced wireframes and then went back and forth with the client adding further features and functionality as the development progressed. The duo then used React Native so that it was possible to make improvements that applied to across Android and iOS without having to maintain two different sets of code.

The API was built with .NET and supported with Azure App Services. All the images and video content that distributors share on the app is hosted in Microsoft Azure. Union Swiss was able to get all its distributors onto the app and they are actively posting the work they do. By creating an ecosystem where content can be shared, helps build a community and inspires others.

Lombard says it also makes individual distributors feel like they're part of something bigger. "It's been a wonderful experiment in how to run a global business and how to do so well."

"Future plans include incorporating sales performance metrics into the app so that distributors can see how others are doing and measure their efforts alongside the efforts of their peers," Lombard concludes.

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