Yes “digital brand experience” – not user experience. Because branding is also responsible for the way you experience a product or a service. Let’s say that user experience concerns the holistic experience and brand experience is part of that.
In my last blog post I wrote about the beneficial effect of digital branding in business, this time I want to write about how it can foster innovation. So if you're a user experience designer, a marketeer, a brand designer or simply someone curious about digital branding, this might be of your interest.
What will I share with you:
1. What does digital branding means to us?
2. Why and how we started doing digital branding in Liip
3. Our advises to master digital brand experience
What does digital branding means to us
Digital branding is a “buzz-concept”, you may have already heard it or even used it. Like many others, its perception differs from person to person. This is what it means to us:
Digital branding is the process of adjusting a brand to be used digitally or creating it from scratch, adapted to digital requirements. This process includes: strategy, visual identity and content identity.
Excuse me, branding done by computer nerds?
Yes, that’s right. Nerds have feelings too – even if you find it strange at first there is an explanation: In the past years, branding, like everything else, has been “consumed” mainly digitally. However, the brand frequently isn’t prepared for digital usage, because in many cases it is created by marketing departments or print based agencies with less digital experience than a digital agency.
Fortunately, some of them realized the need to improve their digital expertise.Therefore, they started hiring developers for their teams or collaborating with digital agencies. Nevertheless, I think this isn’t enough, because usually they only need developers to “code their concepts”. In my opinion, to create a brand that is natively digital you need to integrate developers and digital experts in its creation process. That’s why I believe having digital agencies working on brand creation has huge potential.
Liip is digital at heart. We stand for digital progress, and we think branding also has to progress digitally. We have realized this, since we noticed that many companies, which contact us to build a digital solution, barely have digital branding guidelines. This often was an obstacle that we had to overcome by adjusting the brand elements that weren’t digital conform. For example: Logotypes with tiny unreadable words on it, colours that weren’t accessible or typefaces that weren’t compatible with all browsers.
Our UX Team has branding experts, which allowed us to start creating the minimum required branding work by ourselves. Until now, connecting branding to other UX activities has been working pretty well. Because it enables us to work in a more explorative way. Creating solutions that comprehend the functional (usability experience) and emotional (brand experience) side of user experience is what we are aiming for.
Four advises to master digital brand experience
1. Be empathic – Put yourself in the end-users shoes
- Avoid thinking in ”target audiences'' – you don’t want a one-way-communication flow. Use the term “users” – it implies an interaction between the brand and its customers. Plus, it doesn’t categorize people as much.
- Take “shades of grey” into account and make your concept inclusive.
- Understand the different mental models of the brands “users” and be aware of what influences them.
- Test the initial mood-board with the “users” and let them describe in 5 keywords what they see in it. Verify if it matches with the brand values.
- Continue testing your designs along the branding process.
- Use the personas' method to relate better with the users.
2. Help your customer to define a timeless and honest core brand message
- The core message has to quote what the brand stands for, now and forever.
- It should be a short and concise sentence.
- It’s not a slogan, but if it fits, it can also be used for that purpose.
- While defining this message don’t try to please users. The person/team behind the brand has to truly believe in that message.
- The core message should be supported by a set of values.
- If you get this message well, everything else will naturally come along.
3. Join forces with digital experts and create unique interactive visuals
- Use technology to serve the brand message/purpose and create unique interactive visuals. Though be careful not to overuse interactivity, otherwise you harm the usability of your digital solution.
- Create visuals that reflect your brand message and values.
- In contrast to the brand message, these visuals should be more flexible so that they can evolve over the years.
4. Give the brand a soul, a body and don’t forget to tell its story
- Storytelling is a narrative that creates a bond between your brand and your customers.
- The story should be easy to understand, easy to identify with, emotional and memorable.
- Like with the brand message, it should be honest.
Now more than ever, companies need to have a strong digital presence. Therefore, I recommend you to approach branding in a digital way, by working closely with digital experts and by including them into the brand creation process. This way you can help brands grow stronger and users to have a better experience. Let’s transform those brands!
Don’t hesitate to contact us for support. We have experts from many fields who are happy to support you according to your needs.