Pukka! Five things to learn from the success of Jamie Oliver's iPhone app

When Jamie Oliver's iPhone app, 20 Minute Meals, launched back in October, few could have predicted it would be as popular as it is.
Less than 18 months after Apple's App Store had launched, many big businesses were still exercising caution over whether developing an app would be worth it - but Jamie moved swiftly to embrace the new technology, and having racked up thousands of downloads and hit the top spot of the App Store's download charts within days, it's paid off.

So what can we learn from Jamie's success? We have five business lessons we can take from the success of 20 Minute Meals.

1. Understand the technology

Jamie may be a whizz with a frying pan - but he's also pretty nifty with a computer. "I'm a bit of a geek," he confessed to Wired magazine earlier this year. "I love technology and new ways of doing things. So when I saw the iPhone I was thinking: Recipes!"

Jamie showed he had the know-how to choose a good development team (he used London-based company Zolmo): crucial if you want your app to go viral. His understanding of the medium's limits - and possibilities - also meant he could work closely with them to produce a first-rate app which is well designed, easy to use, and went on to get rave reviews from those in the know. Whether you're thinking about launching your first website or considering an app for your business, learn about the technology and you and your developers will, at the very least, be talking the same language.

2. Move fast

Speed is fast becoming a new form of currency in business. Those who react fast are the winners, and Jamie's enthusiasm for all things nerdy meant he pipped all the other celebrity chefs to the post. Move quickly  and be willing to take a risk - and there's a good chance taking a gamble with a new technology, technique or business model just might pay off.

3. Know your customer

The average iPhone user is young, professional, creative and time-poor: exactly the kind of person who grabs a ready meal or orders a takeaway at the end of a long day instead of bothering with cooking - and exactly the kind of person Jamie is targetting with his healthy eating campaign. 20 Minute Meals does what it says on the tin, giving people basic, healthy recipes which can be cooked from scratch in the time it takes to wait for a takeaway to arrive. Young, rich, time-poor people with iPhones may seem like a relatively small niche - but it's big enough, and hungry enough, to make Jamie's app one of the most downloaded in the App Store.

4. Capitalise on your personal brand

With three books, several TV series, a line of cookware, two restaurant chains and a Sainsbury's sponsorship deal behind him, Jamie is one of the hardest-working chefs in the country.  And with his various campaigns to get Britain - and now America - eating their five a day, Jamie has impressed himself upon the nation's consciousness as a big-hearted, caring, sharing type. When he launched his app, he told anyone who would listen it was just another way of getting people cooking good food - which also happens to have had thousands of downloads. And at a fiver a pop, he isn't exactly making a loss on the app. In fact, rumour has it it's approaching a seven figure profit.

5. Premium pricing works

Value is more important than price: one of the most popular maxims during the recession was that businesses which survive will be either Prada or Primark - the very expensive, or the very cheap. At £4.99, 20 Minute Meals is more expensive than most iPhone apps - but it doesn't matter, because with 50 brand new recipes, 75 minutes of videos, clever features like a shopping list and the ability to toggle between portion sizes, customers can see how much value it gives them. In the App Store, free may be the trend - but Jamie wasn't afraid to charge a premium. They key to Jamie's success? Prove to your customer you're delivering value, and they will be only too happy to pay.

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