UX and Brand Belong Together

March 11, 2016

 

It’s not uncommon for brand advocates within marketing teams or agencies to butt heads with user experience teams. A typical conflict scenario involves the marketing team insisting on use of visual language, copy, or product behaviors that support the company’s brand personality, even when these branded approaches don’t follow user expectations. By necessity UX teams, which have traditionally been housed in product development, find themselves becoming advocates for their users. But these conflict scenarios wouldn’t exist if brand advocates realized that UX teams are laying critical groundwork for them.

 

Tension exists when marketing teams don’t understand the brand currency of UX.

 

When UX teams live in development or design silos, their value can be underestimated. While many marketing professionals understand UX value at the product level — ensuring that a product functions well for users — there’s a bigger picture to consider. As users interact with a product, their product experiences shape their perceptions of the brand. When that cumulative experience is exceptionally wonderful, they perceive the brand positively. When the cumulative experience is negative, so is the perception of the brand. Therefore, it follows that every positive user experience is a contribution toward brand value.

 

Cumulative User Experiences = Brand Perception

 

UX is a brand-building tool.

 

Product development is not the only arena where UX teams can add value to the brand. User experiences with the brand during product research and evaluation set expectations for product and company performance. In the case of poor experiences with advertising, marketing or sales interactions, the prospect may never progress deeper into the sales funnel. But when UX principles are applied to the early stages of the sales funnel, there are opportunities to accumulate more positive, brand-building experiences. Conversely, if user experiences at the top of the funnel are positive, but the product doesn’t live up to expectations, the disjointed experience can lead to customer attrition. Utilizing UX best practices at all stages of the customer’s journey is critical to building a strong brand.

 

Bring marketing and UX together to build the brand.

 

When UX and brand teams collaborate, that’s when the magic happens. The UX team lays a strong foundation for the brand — architecture and functionality that generate well-pleased users. The brand team adds the more unique dimensions of the brand’s personality, such as tone and style, in a way that doesn’t damage the underlying foundation. It takes the contributions of both teams to build a brand that will last.

This article was originally published on my previous blog, https://speakorlisten.wordpress.com/.

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