Siddharth Kabra

Why user experience is the new touchstone for branding

Our guest author writes about the three ways in which user experience impacts brands.

A brand’s perception is nothing but a promise to your customers - that lets them know what to expect. A brand’s touchpoint experiences (including digital products) can either strengthen user perceptions, or break them down.

It's essential for a brand’s reputation that the users have positive experiences with its digital products. It's also essential for a brand’s reputation that the users have experiences that help to build trust towards the brand.

The way brands are perceived today and the impact that they have on their audiences, are very different, as compared to a decade ago. Earlier, brands were mainly promoted through communication. Now, customers have little faith in advertising and much more on the experience they have with the brand. They even trust others’ experiences, rather than the brand talking about itself.

User experience (UX) is about understanding one’s implicit and explicit needs and wants, and then designing helpful products that encourage positive experiences.

Understanding user experience

As technology developed, and websites, apps and digital marketing initiatives became less of an option and more of a priority, users started demanding and expecting rich and immersive interactions that are functional as well as aesthetically pleasing.

This shift gave rise to user experience, which is now being adopted by brands/companies. It involves how users feel when they interact with a website, application or software.

More often than not, a user’s opinion is based on usability, visual appeal, accessibility, design, performance, speed, etc.

Customer experiences are now primary to the brand

Every brand takes the user on a journey. And, it’s through better UX that this journey creates a user’s perception of the brand.

● First interaction

The first step as far as the customer’s product journey goes, is the initial interaction (usually the on-boarding process). An easy, quick and simplified initial interaction keeps the user engaged with your product.

It’s mostly never about the fancy animations included in the user interface. It’s about how one can move to the next step of the product journey seamlessly, through efficient UX.

● Decision-making

It is crucial, as reaching the decision-making stage and successfully complete it, requires the support of easy navigation, user-friendly action and captivating experience. This helps to improve the conversion rate of your product.

● Support

No product or design is perfect, but what sets it apart from the rest is how the brand tackles the problems that may occasionally follow. The whole product journey is not just about the experience of using the product. It is also about how you, as a brand, help them when they face some unwanted or unexpected errors.

Having a dedicated support system is always important to improve the user journey as well as experience.

Three ways UX impacts your brand

1. First impression is created by UX

There is a direct relationship between UX and the general brand perception. Whether you're developing a website or application, UX directly impacts your target market's thoughts about your product.

Usually, the first impression is created through graphics, layouts, visual appeal, transitions, etc., which catch the attention of the customer. The customer then wants to know about the product, in terms of easy navigation, user friendliness, etc.

2. Product quality for user’s perception

Product quality is a part of user experience, as it includes the features, functionality, efficiency, etc. There could be similar products facilitating similar goals. But what makes it stand apart is the amount of time it takes and the number of steps involved in the process of task completion. Achieving this is a part of efficient user experience design and, thus, it impacts the perception of your brand.

3. Tech on website creates an impression of adaptiveness

Due to the COVID pandemic, in a mere span of two years, we have all witnessed a huge shift in the way the world operates. It has also caused a major shift in our lifestyles and has left businesses with no choice but to evolve and adapt a digital presence.

This has caused technological shifts to work from not just your computers, but also other smart devices. Therefore, the adaptiveness of your product on any form of device, makes it more accessible for the user.

Aiding humans in the fast evolving digital world is about building an efficient digital world for humans!

Incorporating the latest technology in digital products/services has become a necessity to stay updated. First Moment of Truth (FMOT) is occurring digitally, where great visuals and fast loading web pages create an impression about the brand.

Summing-up the brand-UX relationship

At the end of the day, your customers are the most important aspects of brand building. So, if customers have a positive interaction with your brand and feel like the experience was above expectations, then they are more likely to endorse your brand in discussions with their friends (resulting in an organic word-of-mouth marketing).

Unfortunately, most brands tend to ignore this aspect and drop the ball, post-sale. What a brand can do is instill the brand experience in new customers by continuing to offer them value through efficient user experience.

The author is CEO of Monsoonfish Digital

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