Why is user experience a powerful metric for branding?
Brands have always created the lure for customers. Iconic designs for one have helped distinguish brands; Logos stood synonymous with brands. In the past, brands acted out to make people think who they were. Today it is the customer who decides what a brand stands for through the user experience with the brand.
Customer experience is now considered a key metric to measure brand success. Those that promise compelling experiences are the ones graduated from building long-lasting customer relationships.
Gone are the days when you would step into a car dealer premise to look at a car in detail. Now, you can be present at the showroom without being present there. Virtual reality helps you consult with experts with the eye-level camera in the showroom and see different parts of a car without stepping into the showroom. Customer experience is evolving, and technology is at the forefront giving the real tweak to the customer experience.
More than anything, brands must promote experiences that people love, make them come back again and again. Amazon Prime did that. The groundbreaking membership program from e-commerce giant Amazon was centered on customers and is all about compelling experiences.
How can user experience impact brand image?
Every opportunity a user gets to interact with the brand is an opportunity for the business owner to enhance brand image. Whether it is the virtual interaction afforded by digital technologies or face-to-face interaction, it is the positive user experience that can strengthen the user’s bond with the brand.
For one, UX has a great say over how users think about the brand. Moreover, UX can impact word-of-mouth marketing, which is the most trusted way to make brands familiar with potential customers. When a user has positive interactions with the brand, the user never hesitates to recommend the brand to people in his known circle.
Have brands redefined UX in digital age?
The brand is not synonymous with the logo or a website anymore. It is more about tone, visuals, and behaviors. When these three components stand true to the core brand message, customers not only enjoy consistent user experience but also develop an affinity towards the brand. Today, brands cannot do without their digital presence. Digitally, it is a website or other services that serve as brand representatives allowing a customer to interact with the brand.
Ref – www.uber.com
Uber comes to mind when there is the talk of unique customer experiences. What drove Uber to create a turnaround in customer experience was its passion for removing the stumbling blocks in the way of enriching the digital customer experience. Customers were facing significant challenges in leveraging the services rendered by the traditional taxi industry. In truth, Uber had developed its business model by building everything around the customer and leveraging the digital power, most importantly customer experience. Then uberification of everything followed suit.
Logos are no more the agents of branding; experiences created during interactions with the brand have become the key to branding.
In a crowded marketplace, brands that can establish meaningful connections with customers are equipped to outsmart the competition. While personalization holds the key to outsmart the competition, brands must consider every opportunity where digital meets user experience to make this possible.
Where do digital and user experiences meet?
There are several points where digital and user experience meets – Digital touchpoints and channels promoting user experiences, digital technologies deployed to promote customer interactions.
Take the case ofSephora. Forbes reported that Sephora had made good use of a chatbot on Kik that allowed users to ask for tips regarding beauty advice and share their preferences through a quiz. Users were then provided product suggestions as well reviews based on their conversation and preferences. This engagement at a personalized level has been a significant leap to attract loyal fans and add a positive ring to the brand.
How to design branded motions and interactions?
Users want the same level of experience however and wherever they are interacting with the brand. This, in turn, drives brands to come up with a strategy detailing how their brands ought to behave, what is the distinct value that the product offers and how they want the users to feel during user engagement.
Brands must think beyond the design to make their products stand out from the crowd. Focus on interactions and motions that can impact user experience as well as user perception. It is imperative to decide on the behavioral aspect by finding answers to queries like:
How to position the brand?
What are the values signified by the brand?
How to get inspired by the brand’s surrounding experiences?
How is the brand purported to interact with the user?
While designing branded interactions and motions, brands must also take different touch points like voice-controlled experiences, bots, and VR and slack extensions into consideration. Take chatbot for instance.Infusing chatbot as part of their digital strategy, brands can leverage this new touch point to engage users, improve user experience and most importantly promote personalization to drive brand loyalty.
Uber turns out to be the classic case of a brand leveraging chatbots for user interactions and rich user experience. Uber made a chatbot sit within the Facebook Messenger and encouraged users to leverage the Uber chatbot for requesting a ride paving the way for a seamless customer experience.
Has user experience emerged as the brand differentiator?
When customers are queried as to why they want to engage with a product, they don’t hesitate to pinpoint the experience that they have had with a product. When it comes to UX, it is about a brand’s ability to fulfill the exact needs of customers.Brands are now disrupting industries by identifying and building user experiences around latent user needs. Building a business model around a latent user need is emerging as the brand differentiator
Ref – www.airbnb.com
Airbnb is a classic case demonstrating this case in point. For people traveling around the globe, Airbnb built a model for helping them find apartments, condos, and homes at a particular destination. That was not all; the model hinged primarily on ‘experience’. The conversation is built around the experience of people’s stay. A two-way dialogue for ratings and rankings was built to bring the guests as well as the renters to provide feedback. Airbnb model has been at the forefront to ensure an enriching experience for everyone – tenant, guest, and the community.
The brand is more than what the user sees – more than the corporate colour or the logo. It is also more than the touch and feel of the user. Today brand is viewed as the total of experiences while the user interacts with the brands. Compelling the experiences to turn out to be, greater the image of the brand becomes.