Apps are the new street directory, the new travel maps and even the new cooking books. As Apple touts in their advertising, they are solving life’s dilemma one app at a time.

Unfortunately, in a report by The Age, Australian brands are not taking advantage of this new mobile platform to target consumers on the move. According to Barrie Barton, founder of Right Angle creative studio, local brands were lagging behind their foreign counterparts in utilizing apps that provide information for consumers through mobile devices and were still relying on advertising via computer screens.

“I’m surprised that there aren’t more local brands active in mobile spaces, particularly when their actual product involves people being out and about,” says Barton.

Barton explains that advertising for mobile devices is hard to craft due to the lack of space for tools such as pop-ups, and feels the local brands are not tapping into the potential of apps, especially ones that feature geolocation tools to pinpoint where consumers were and direct relevant advertising to them.

Zac Jacobs, general manager of TigerSpike, a digital media company disagrees with Barton, and feels that “Australian brands are not lagging behind in mobile.” He feels that most brands already have mobile strategies in place, and have noticed an increasing number of companies having distinct mobile marketing departments.

Speaking to Marketing, he says: “Traditional bricks and mortar brands like financial services, liquor, fashion have all released apps to promote their brand or create consumer transactions. An example would be the recent deployment the of Cascade Breweries' appb called The Brewer’s Nose,” says Jacobs.

“Major retailers are also driving innovation by offering mobile commerce (m-commerce) solutions for their customers. At TigerSpike, we've built or are creating m-commerce opportunities for major Australian companies like Bigpond Shopping, Woolworths and Dick Smith.”

Jacobs recommends that even smaller companies can jump onboard this trend without a “full-blown m-commerce undertaking,”

“Mobile-enabled apps might simply include a GPS store locator, a menu listing or offer m-coupons to drive customers in-store.”

“An example of how this can be executed is Diageo’s Smirnoff vodka, where the brand became sponsors of the Time Out entertainment guide apps, which allowed the brand to be exposed to relevant consumers where they were out and looking for a place to eat, drink and be merry,” says Jacobs.