Much has been written in the past decade about the importance of usability and the user experience to customers’ perception of an organization’s brand. Jared Spool’s 1996 article “Branding and Usability” correctly identifies the importance of Web site usability to brand experience and provides evidence that a positive user experience has a direct correlation to positive brand perception. More recently, authors such as Dirk Knemeyer have expanded on this theme.
recognizing that both online and offline customer experiences contribute to brand image
highlighting the importance of consistency between the customer experience across all touch-points
working from the premise that an organization engages in a broad, complex set of interactions with its customers, of which the brand experience portrayed through its Web sites is only one
acknowledging the fact that brand is inherently something we can only influence, not control
The key to creating brand loyalty is developing a consistent and salient brand perception through the association of specific emotional experiences with a product or service. A classic example of this is the emotion of wonder and happiness people associate with The Walt Disney Company’s films and theme parks. By crafting amazing experiences for the people who enjoy their products, Disney has created such a favorable association, leading consumers to feel they can trust the brand and know what kind of experience to expect from a visit to a park, hotel, or movie theater. People can appreciate their intense focus on the user experience, whether watching Mary Poppins, meeting characters like Goofy and Minnie Mouse for the first time as a child, shown in Figure 1, or watching Toy Story characters leap to life in the amazing and spellbinding zoetrope at the California Adventure theme park. Read More
Today’s consumers have growing expectations for higher quality and ease of use in new products. They typically evaluate brand values and product specs before paying top dollar for products. Companies are scrambling to align their brand touchpoints and gain loyal customers for their current and future product lines. Without strong brands, consumers buy with their wallets, not their hearts. They may miss product innovations companies have designed to fill major gaps in their markets and increase their market shares—even products they’ve painstakingly tested with users.
In today’s market, user experience is a key differentiator for products. Companies are innovating more creative approaches to product definition and design and rushing to add talent to their existing product design organizations. Many business leaders are struggling with the issue of where to place new UX processes and professionals within their organizations. Read More