Why user experience (UX) is important to branding

In a competitive corporate environment, a product or service needs to be exceptional and holistically presented, while at the same time the overall experience of the brand must be gratifying and enjoyable

Premankan Seal, chief design officer, Canvs
Premankan Seal, chief design officer, Canvs

By Premankan Seal
In Marty Neumeier’s words, “The brand isn’t what you say it is, it’s what they say it is,” — “they” play an integral part that can make or break a brand. “They” means customers and users. Thus, how your brand is manifested is evident by your customers’ experiences when they interact with it at any given level, from it being viewed, buying, and using the product or service.

Towards higher conversions
Trust in a brand means that users are confident about the quality of your products or services, and reassured that if there is something wrong with it, you can be relied to make it right. If this is how customers view your brand, your conversions could be manifold.

For every digital business, the primary touchpoint for their consumers is the website or the application where brand interactions are created, and opinions are formed. For such businesses, user experience is a crucial part of a customer’s overall brand experience.

The elements of user experience (UX) such as user flows, persona studies, wireframes and the like are typically the means to describe and outline the experience of the user communicating with the website, application or any other software. Given the evolved landscape, the primary interaction today, with brands is through digital channels. This means the mechanisms of user experience could find its way on the work-counters of pivotal branding utilities.

This is crucial because the perception of branding has shifted from logos to experiences and is today vital in recognizing how customers interact with various brands.

Regardless of your product or service, you want customers to view you as a trustworthy brand.

UX makes all the difference
There are countless examples of how user experiences have impacted brands, for better or worse. Take, for instance, Disneyland. Almost everyone returns elated from a vacation at Disneyland. This is because the user experience of Disneyland is regarded as precise and sophisticated, right down to the smallest detail. And it’s no surprise that Disney features within the top eight in the 2019 ranking of Forbes, The World’s Most Valuable Brands. But for the larger majority of the organizations in the private sector, if your branding experience is not providing adequate value to users, they would go elsewhere. That’s the bitter hard truth.

The private sector is experiencing a good deal of disruption. From Uber that first started the revolution in the transportation space, to Airbnb changed the hospitality sector, and cable-television no longer remaining the same thanks to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and others. The rise of these game-changers can only be attributed due to their superior offerings and highly satisfying experience to users.

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Here’s how UX can be used to build garner a strong following and build brand trust:

  • Focusing on appearance and usability
  • Consistency across product/service creations and its sharing
  • Transparency in communication and product/service information
  • Robust security for smoother user interactions
  • Leverage loyal customers to build trust with prospects
  • Reveal the team behind the product/service to your users

Appearance and usability go hand-in-hand
One of the greatest equalisers of our generation that has not only given us unrivaled access to information has been the Internet. Users are continually craving authenticity and value, while a rising breed of entrepreneurs who have grown up on the digital age is introducing user-first mindset experiences – with successful results.

The same is the case in advertising. Today, lines are blurred between advertising and product. One of the pioneers in blending digital, advertising and products, Nike that introduced Fuel Band and Nike+, has made contemporaries follow suit. To keep up, agencies transformed their shift in thinking to find ways of delivering valuable experiences to serve customer needs as well as the brand.

And as technology expands into new arenas, the need for thoughtful, user-centered design will continue to take shape as mass audiences adapt and seek products and services that are friendly, useful and accessible. In this regard, design and engineering must work hand-in-hand to produce smart and seamless offerings.

The bottom line
User experience is the binding cord that unites strategy, design, and development – critical to a brand – and is the cornerstone of every brand’s essence. A complete brand experience encompasses every element of UX design, in collaboration with brand identity.

To paraphrase Don Norman, the originator of the phrase ‘User Experience’ – ‘No product is an island’. A product is more than the product. It is a cohesive, integrated set of experiences. Think through all of the stages of a product or service – from initial intentions through final reflections, from the initial usage to help, service, and maintenance. Make them all work together seamlessly.


The author is the chief design officer of Canvs

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