This is the seventh in a series of blog posts sharing the results of our study on the business value of experience design. Read the last post here. In this post, we explore the role that designers have in translating brand identities into digital products.
Consider some of the most influential and signature elements of the most iconic brands: The sound of a Harley Davidson motorcycle. The Southwest Airlines boarding experience. The look and feel and – sometimes the frustration – of IKEA assembly instructions. These elements define our experience with a brand well beyond the logo, the ad campaign, and the experience of the products themselves. They are immersive, sensory, sometimes emotional and, because of that, memorable.
Good UX Means Good Business
In a world where technology is rapidly advancing and user expectations are rising, it’s no longer enough to have an average user experience; to delight your users and surpass your competition you must strive for the exceptional.
These are all examples of intentional brand expression. Organizations spend a considerable amount of time and resources defining their brand and finding effective ways to express it. This is most often understood at the surface level: the logo, the color scheme, photography, the voice and tone in their copy, and even the personalities of their spokesperson. But as digital channels and interactions become the primary means of brand discovery and expression, those experiences become the primary means of defining the brand itself. Brands still have control over this expression, but it needs to carry over seamlessly to these experiences. Brand translation is catching up with brand expression as a core competency for marketers.
How do you get everything you want to say to all of the people who need to hear it when you are confined to a 5.4-inch mobile screen? It’s easy for the brand – and the experience – to get lost in the medium. As we’ve talked about earlier in this series, the technology alone is not enough to meet customer needs and expectations. Digital channels bring tremendous complexity, but with it, tremendous opportunities for brand translation.
There are many subtle but powerful options for brand translation. When and how you choose to push personalized messages to a customer translates into an expression of how much I know about the customer and what matters to them. The transparency and frequency of order and shipping status conveys a shared openness and anticipation of the fulfillment experience. Even the tone and utility of help messages can assure the customer that you care about ensuring they get their work done. These and many other new options are also new considerations for the experience designer.
Experience design needs to go way beyond the style sheet and the merely creative brand expression. Building on many other methods we’ve discussed earlier in this series – notably customer empathy and testing – your experience design approach can open up the aperture to make a 5.4-inch screen feel like a 70-inch screen.
What will you do to translate your brand?