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Why you’re a Brand Shaper (knowingly or not) and what you can do about it

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Held at IxDA Berlin, Nov 19 //

What do you feel when you hear the B-word?

The term „brand” often translates to us designers as “annoying regulations from the marketing department” or “some generic Powerpoint voodoo before we get to the real thing”.
But most of all, as Marty Neumeier put it, a brand is „a person‘s gut feeling about a product, a service, or an organization“. A gut feeling that will affect this person’s decisions and actions. That’s why organizations care about their brand and try to influence how people feel about them.

Now trying to influence people’s gut feelings about a product or service is something we’re quite familiar with – we call it “Experience Design”. That’s why we shouldn’t leave the task of caring about the brand to marketers alone and just grudgingly follow their style guides. The interactive products and services we design will influence our user’s brand perception more profoundly than award-winning campaigns or fancy image videos can.

So if brands are such a big deal and we’re all at least co-shapers of brand perceptions – deliberately or not -, why does the B-word almost never appear in our UX discussions and frameworks? In this talk, I’d like to share my ideas on how we can leverage the brand perspective to make sound design decisions and create better experiences.

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Why you’re a Brand Shaper (knowingly or not) and what you can do about it

  1. 1. Why you‘rea Brand Shaper [knowingly or not] andwhat youcando about it Rupert Platz | @r000pert | #IxDABerlin | 19.11.2014
  2. 2. The b-word: What is a brand? 2
  3. 3. A brandrepresents a product, a service, oran organisation.
  4. 4. But a brandisnot what‘swrittenin thestyleguide. designtagebuch.de/wiki/corporate-design-manuals/
  5. 5. Nor all thecheesyemostuff toldin brandcampaigns. (watch this for a good laugh) Generic brand video: youtube.com/watch?v=2YBtspm8j8M
  6. 6. „A brandis a person‘sgut feeling about a product, a service, oran organisation.“ Marty Neumeier slideshare.net/coolstuff/the-brand-gap
  7. 7. Translated to high-brow UX jargon: A brandis a person‘smental model of a product, a service, oran organisation.
  8. 8. Simply put: „A brandisnot whatyousay it is. It‘swhat theysayit is.“ Marty Neumeier slideshare.net/coolstuff/the-brand-gap
  9. 9. Brand perceptions create substantial value. millwardbrown.com/brandz, interbrand.com/best-global-brands
  10. 10. Brand Value = Financial Value x Brand Attribution Brand attribution Rational factors millwardbrown.com/brandz, interbrand.com/best-global-brands
  11. 11. [and this does not just apply to the elephants …] slideshare.net/coolstuff/the-brand-gap
  12. 12. Organisations try to influence brand perception. Portfolio Management Product development Brand Design Advertising Agenda Setting / PR etc.
  13. 13. But brand promisemay = actual experience. werbeblogger.de/2011/03/02/mcdonalds-mcdouble-falschung-und-original/
  14. 14. Aspired brand image = actual brand perception. brandtags.com
  15. 15. So whathasall of this todo with User Experience Design? 15
  16. 16. Brand perceptions evolve over time from touchpoint to touchpoint. Heard a friend mention Saw ad on TV Researched, went to website Went to store & purchased Went to support site for help Read article in magazine 1 2 3 4 5 – + 5
  17. 17. Interactive experiences leave deepermarks than passive one-way information. 1 2 3 4 5 5 Heard a friend mention – + Saw ad on TV Researched, went to website Went to store & purchased Went to support site for help Read article in magazine
  18. 18. Touchpoints have become less static & physical. 2005 • PC Website • Retail store • Physical products • Service Hotline • Promotion teams • etc. 2015 • Responsive website, app • E-Commerce platform • [Semi-]digital services • Online support platform • GPS based push offers • etc.
  19. 19. So brandvalueismainly createdthrough interactive experiences thatare increasinglydigital.
  20. 20. Which means: As an interactiondesigner, youalmostcannot not [co-]shapebrands.
  21. 21. So how come the brand ismissing in almost all of our frameworks?
  22. 22. Howcanweintegratethe concept of „brand“ consciously in ourwork in a meaningfulway? 22
  23. 23. 1 Understand / set goals / measure 2 Differentiate 3 Enter new fields Thee fields of potential:
  24. 24. 1. Understand/ setgoals / measure: Brand as researchfactor. 24
  25. 25. How will brand gut feeling influence user experience?
  26. 26. And, vice versa: how will the user experience change brand perception? Read Start Search Pick Book Confirm article 2 3 Arrive at airport
  27. 27. Understandingusers‘ context & behaviouralso means understandingtheir brandgut feelings.
  28. 28. What this couldmean for design research: • Make brand perception a part of persona development • Brand sentiment data and other planner / brand strategy research insights can be valuable! • Investigate user‘s attitude towards the brand before and after user testing Wouter, 46 - Friend of the environment Needs: Expectations: Goals: Brand attitudes:
  29. 29. Measuring design success: Net Promoter Score should be as important as conversion, stickyness etc. How likely are you to recommend brand [X] to a friend/ colleague/ relative? measuringu.com/usability-loyalty.php autodeskresearch.com/pdf/2012%20NPS%20Bradner%20Sauro.pdf
  30. 30. Know what [and if] you want to change. Brand perception prior to use: Altered: + Positive / Promoters – Negative / Detractors „Even better than I thought. Wow.“ „Disappoints me.“ „Hey, not that bad after all.“ „Even worse than I thought.“ + – + – Expanded: „Cool. I never saw them that way.“ „Confusing. Not what they stand for.“ „Cool. I never saw them that way.“ „Confusing. Not what they stand for.“ + – + – Reinforced: „Great, just as I expected.“ „Crappy as always.“ = =
  31. 31. 2. Makea difference: Create uniquepersonality throughinteraction. 31
  32. 32. „Everybodybuilds thesame stuff thanks tocustomer orientation.“ Torsten Hensel, Greenkern slideshare.net/slidesbynouve/lean-startups-spinning-straw-into-gold
  33. 33. User Centered Design is no unique selling proposition anymore: Ifeverybody solves thesame problem for thesame user segment in thesame user-centeredway, whatwill makeour solution stand out?
  34. 34. Two competitors that deliver great UX – but do you feel any difference?
  35. 35. [no, this is not what I meant.]
  36. 36. Styleguides grant consistency. Yes, it is essential to have common, recognizable • Logos • Colors, shapes, fonts • Image language • Wordings • etc. 36
  37. 37. But in an interactivemedium, brandsaremoreabouthowthey behavethanhowtheylook like.
  38. 38. 1st dimension: Consistency. Recognizable & distinguishable outward appearance
  39. 39. 2nd dimension: Coherence. Overall understandable behaviour in different contexts
  40. 40. Brand experiences shouldn‘t feel schizophrenic. When different people design multiple brand touchpoints, usersmay encounter a split personality … mytaxi.com
  41. 41. How can wemake a brand personality tangible, when all we have is some generic feedgood values? 41 pterisglobal.com/brand_personality.html
  42. 42. 42 We need design principles derived from user insights and brand values. slideshare.net/mrtimothyloo/the-brand-experience-gap
  43. 43. „Hello, we‘re [brandX]. We‘re trustworthyandempowering.“
  44. 44. Turn brand values into actionable design principles. How do we translate trustworthy or empowering into … • Information depth? • Choice of options? • Degree of control? • Input feedback? • Animationes & Transitions? • Performance & loading time? 44 (highly recommended) Simyo Brand-Filter, taken from the book Marco Spies, Branded Interactions
  45. 45. Two kinds of brand-derived design principles: 45 Mandatory / generic principles • Should be obeyed by anyone to avoid bad UX • But wil also contradict your values & hurt your brand if not followed Differentiating principles • Unique, because only your brand handles things this way • Can strenghten your brand and set it apart if followed
  46. 46. „Trustworthy“ brand interaction principles: 46 Mandatory / generic: • Make information easy to find • Makemenu wordings self-explanatory • Give clear feedback to user input • Nomeaningless, fast animations Differentiating: • Require as little user data as possible • No fake social proof & testimonials • Stick to familiar interaction patterns [avoid experiments] • Explicit verification of user actions [ask for „OK“]
  47. 47. „Empowering“ brand interaction principles: 47 Mandatory / generic: • Optimize for speed & performance [waiting deprives of power] • Optimize for touch [give feeling of direct control] • Alwaysmake clear what will happen after next click / tap Differentiating: • Don‘t force users down narrow paths • Don‘t over-simplify & deprive of options • Don‘t patronize – help users do it themselves • Detailled information is always at hand when needed
  48. 48. 3. Enter newfields: Features, services, products, … 48
  49. 49. Brand Extension: Same brand, new category. Clothing label Railway company Beer brewer Food retailer
  50. 50. Service Design is great for exploring new fields. adaptivepath.com/ideas/the-anatomy-of-an-experience-map/
  51. 51. Service ideas filter: Will it strenghen or hurt our brand? Package tours with flight & accomodation? Online market place for used vintage watches? Data encryption package for premium users?
  52. 52. Service ideas filter: Will it strenghen or hurt our brand? Package tours with flight & accomodation? Online market place for used vintage watches? Data encryption package for premium users? Brand stands for individual, authentic travel Brand stands for exclusiveness and perfectionism Brand stands for convenience, but not for privacy
  53. 53. Brand Persona: Create an actionable character … 53 Brand X: The trustworthy empowerer Age, gender: Character traits : Convictions: Interaction style: Persona attitudes:
  54. 54. … and let it interact with your user personas. 54 Wouter, 46: The eco-friend Needs: Expectations: Goals: Brand attitudes: Brand X: The trustworthy empowerer Age, gender: Character traits : Convictions: Interaction style: Persona attitudes:
  55. 55. [Brand persona classic: The „Get a Mac“ campaign] 55 I’m a PC. I’m a Mac. adweek.com/adfreak/apples-get-mac-complete-campaign-130552
  56. 56. Youcanusethebrand perspectivetomakesound experiencedesign decisions.
  57. 57. Three questions to take some of the guesswork out: 1 Understand / set goals / measure 2 Differentiate 3 Enter new fields Are we successful in fostering brand value? If we design it this way, will it feel coherent and unique? If we build this, will it expand or blur brand perception?
  58. 58. The challenge on all levels: Hitting the sweet spot. Users Business Goals Technology Is it Brand feasible? Do people find it relevant, usable & delightful? Does it strenghen our brand? Does it help us perform?
  59. 59. Brand UXD? 59
  60. 60. Seperate disciplines … User Centered Design Brand Mgmt Application Interface Usability Values Messages Styleguide
  61. 61. … have evolved & widened their horizon … User Centered Design Brand Mgmt Touchpoints Context Emotion Application Interface Usability Values Messages Styleguide
  62. 62. … on both sides … User Centered Design Brand Mgmt Touchpoints Context Emotion Application Interface Usability Values Messages Styleguide Behaviour Interaction Relevance
  63. 63. … and we‘re all in the „gut feeling“ business after all. Erlebnis, Gesamtkontext, Emotion User Centered Design Brand Mgmt Touchpoints Context Emotion Application Interface Usability Values Messages Styleguide Experience Behaviour Interaction Relevance
  64. 64. Don‘t just follow styleguides – be aware of your brand shaping powers. artofmanliness.com/2013/04/09/to-succeed-in-work-and-life-be-mr-t/
  65. 65. And broaden your t-shaped skill profile :-) Product Management Coding & Programming Information Architecture Cognitive Psychology User research Brand strategy Experience design skills Interaction Design
  66. 66. Thanks for listening! twitter.com/r000pert xing.com/profile/Rupert_Platz linkedin.com/in/rupertplatz

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