Are White-Labeled Devices Right for You?
Do you want to deploy a certain mobile device internally or externally for your business, but you don’t want to use the device vendor’s branding? You can: through a process known as white-labeling, you can apply whichever branding you want to a device, even if the device is not customized in any other way.
Keep reading for an overview of how white-labeled mobile devices work, which benefits they offer, and when it does and doesn’t make sense to use them.
What Is a White-Labeled Mobile Device?
A white-labeled mobile device is one that uses the branding of a company other than the one that actually made the device.
In other words, when you use white-labeled devices as part of your business’s mobile strategy, you can apply your own company’s branding to the devices. Customers or employees who use the devices will see your logo and any other branding characteristics you wish to include within their hardware or software. But the devices will be manufactured by someone else.
Note that white-labeled devices (which are sometimes also called private-label devices) are distinct from custom devices. A custom device is one whose hardware or software is customized in some way in order to provide features that are not available from off-the-shelf mobile hardware.
In contrast, a white-labeled device can be a standard, off-the-shelf device that anyone can buy directly from the mobile hardware manufacturer. The only difference lies in the way the device is branded.
Benefits of White-Labeled Devices
White-labeled devices can offer a variety of benefits to the business:
- Brand consolidation: Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that businesses can consolidate their employee- and customer-facing branding. That may be useful if, for example, you are using a mobile device as a registration kiosk for customers and want the kiosk to have the full look and feel of your brand.
- Avoid negative vendor associations: Sometimes, employees or customers may have pre-existing opinions (which may be good or bad, and may or may not be justified) about mobile hardware vendors. White-labeling allows you to avoid associating your own brand with that of the third party who makes your mobile hardware.
- Add consistency to user experience: When you brand devices as your own, you can update or replace devices with ones from a different manufacturer while keeping the branding the same. This adds consistency to the user experience, because from the customer or employee’s perspective, the brand remains the same.
- Flexible device deployment: White-labeling gives your company maximum control over how and where mobile devices are used. Even if the mobile hardware vendor doesn’t want devices used in a certain way when they are sold under its own brand, it may not impose the same restrictions on white-labeled versions of its hardware.
In all of these ways, white-labeled devices contribute to a stronger brand and user experience while also adding flexibility to enterprise mobile strategy.
Disadvantages of White-Labeled Mobile Hardware
On the other hand, white-labeling is not always the ideal approach. It’s important to consider the potential drawbacks:
- Added expense: Hardware vendors may charge a premium to allow businesses to white-label their hardware, especially if the vendors feel that they miss out on value by not being able to sell the hardware under their own brand.
- Infeasible at low scale: Planning and implementing a white-labeled solution requires time and effort. It usually doesn’t make sense to make this investment when you are dealing with a relatively small number of devices. For white-labeling to work, you should typically be deploying thousands of white-labeled devices.
- More complex device management: White-labeling can add complexity to device management in the sense that it makes it somewhat harder to track which devices are created by which vendors because you can’t pull that information easily from the devices themselves. This makes it especially important to track and manage devices carefully when you choose a white-labeled approach.
Using Both Approaches
Keep in mind that white-labeling and vendor-branded devices don’t have to be mutually exclusive. There is nothing stopping you from using white-labeled devices for some needs (such as deploying customer-facing kiosks or dedicated devices that employees use in the field) while relying on standard devices for others.
In short, white-labeled mobile devices are a great way to enhance your brand – and, along with it, your user experience – in cases where deploying devices under the manufacturer’s own brand is not desirable. But it’s important to consider the added expense and management complexity that often come with white-labeling.