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#32 Closing the Mobile App “Digital Gap” (itsme)

Hailing from a background in tourism, advertising, and branding, today’s mobile marketer focuses on branding as a tool to drive growth, educate app users, and reduce barriers to using mobile apps for all people.

Sylvie Vandevelde is the Head of Business Development and Marketing Communications for Belgian Mobile ID’s mobile app, itsme. Itsme is a form of official identification for all Beligums (and soon Luxembourgers), similar to a government-issued license or passport but in mobile app form.

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Questions Sylvie Answered in this episode

  • Was it challenging for you as a marketer to educate consumers on why they should trust Istme as an app for their personal identification?
  • What’s the strategy or media mix you used to educate consumers?
  • What are some of the lessons you learned while developing the Itsme brand that you would pass on to another mobile marketer?
  • How do you jump from branding to user acquisition?
  • What is the “digital gap”? And how have you worked to overcome this gap?
  • What do you see as the future for digital identification?


  • 5:03 Branding as a tool to educate app users and drive growth
  • 6:15 Developing Itsme’s branding strategy
  • 7:37 UA: First, be trustworthy, be easy to use
  • 9:23 Closing the “digital gap”
  • 11:08 Itsme app’s growth story
  • 14:39 The future of digital identification in Europe


(7:51-8:13) “People, when they need to choose between something difficult and something easy, well it’s human to choose the easy way. And we were easy, secure, and respecting privacy, so it was very easy and obvious actually to use itsme. And we had the government also behind us. That mark of trust is very important. When you’re trusted in a market and they said, ‘They will do it the proper way,’ then it’s quite easy.”

(10:05-10:26) “We have a lot of people who are not doing things online. They’re not used to going to the bank online, or they’re a little bit older and it’s new stuff to them. So we are also working with different associations who have an academy where they teach people how to do their banking online, how to do their taxes online, and they also explain how to install the itsme app.”