With the ongoing advancements of the digital age, it’s safe to say this medium is eliciting change that informs the way consumers engage and interact with brands. And all things considered, it’s no surprise that user experience continues to position itself as a leading priority—but not just in way of design. As the shift presses on, qualities like simplicity, clarification, convenience, and consistency are now consumer expectations that, at this point in the game, are a baseline standard. Consequently, it’s creating a new wave of creative exploration where brands are beginning to understand the benefit of reimagining their brand in an entirely new way.
You may be wondering, "What's driving this change?"
I was recently skimming through a few reads from Fast Company when I stumbled across an article with a pretty compelling sub-headline that nods to the importance of this emerging trend. The text read: “The most successful brands treat their customers as users, not buyers.”
The perception of considering consumers as users instead of buyers creates distinction between short-term, one-time shoppers and long-term, repeat customers. Leading consumer brands, like Adidas, Smirnoff, Nordstrom, Glossier, and Red Bull have positioned themselves as leaders by investing in creative thinking that gives their customers a unique experience that goes beyond the product itself. It’s how people perceive the product, the craft of it and the purpose it serves, the ease of using it, the process of receiving it or opening the package, and, of course, how the product actually operates. The experiential marketing trend is truly redefining the relationship between brands and consumers by capitalizing on interest and augmenting loyalty in a more innovative, and ultimately more authentic, way.
But in modern consumerism, the concepts of brand experience and user experience are beginning to bleed together, and are thus becoming somewhat interchangeable. Sure, brand experience is still associated with many design-centric components, like logos, color palettes, typography styles, and taglines, but the way consumers experience the brand is evolving far beyond traditional visual executions that allude to a brand’s identity.
It’s important to note that research shows nearly 90% of consumers won’t give a brand a second chance if they’ve had a negative experience. So the data begs the following questions:
- What concepts can brands extract from user experience design?
- How can they apply these fundamentals in alternative ways to enhance the experience of the users/consumers?
You may consider amplifying the way your brand conveys and expresses emotions through emojis, memes, and gifs. You could up your animation game to enhance the flow of navigation capabilities or to augment engagement by creating more appealing transitions. You might expand the way you use AR to provide digital tools that can be used in real time, like a ruler or a scale. Or perhaps you give your user a one-of-a-kind experience by using personalization capabilities to tailor your efforts to their individual interests, desires, and needs.
User experience design is often associated with the function and format of your website or mobile app, but the real opportunities exist just beyond that. As it becomes more and more normalized to merge online and digital experiences with in-person, real-time experiences, consider tiptoeing outside your comfort zone and explore the possibility of applying these principles to something like packaging, email marketing, or cashless payment features.