Many brands are at the heels of the latest UI/UX strategies to ensure their companies are up to date with the latest innovation. Yet, it simply isn’t always enough for brands to be widely acknowledged even with the latest design and development trends on their digital products. Rather, sometimes there are other important, yet often overlooked aspects that should be present in your design strategy. (*Optional* ArtVersion, pioneers of the UX design industry and a leading design consultancy in Chicago, offered their best practices when it comes to securing user engagement and resonance for digital products of all calibers.
Be in Control of Your Brand Story
When there are other stakeholders involved, brands always want to ensure that outside parties—i.e., digital design agencies represent their brand in the best way, and most authentic way possible. 90% of consumers believe that authenticity is an important asset when deciding which brands, they will support. Thus, guaranteeing that a brand feels as authentic to its core values and mission is a driving factor for many companies, especially with generational shifts that punctuate transparency as opposed to overly marketed branding.
How then, can design agencies zone in on a brand’s ethos and center their core story and identity? According to ArtVersion’s Goran Paun, it’s about making your brand a differentiator in a crowded market for an unforgettable experience. Paun states, “Through positive interactions, interactive campaigns, and consistent branding, you can become memorable and highly relevant to consumers and the overall market. Your company can accomplish this through design, data collection, and personalization to deliver more impactful touchpoints.”
A clear definition of content tonality and the experience your agency can create for a brand shapes the contours of which design direction your stylistic choices will lead. An awareness of what choices to embed will also help steady your aim on which objectives you wish to achieve. Namely, curating the tonality of a design language can also sync up with other components of a brand and how others may perceive it.
The Evidence is in Empathy
Nothing is as impactful to connecting with your audience as empathy. Design agencies cannot fully create a digital design product without fulling understanding the context of use, and the users behind every interaction. One could argue that if a company asked a UI/UX designer to create an e-commerce website for shoes, it could be built with minimal knowledge of the users, for it is simply about shoes. However, without fully knowing the in-depth intricacies, it leaves too much room for so many refined details to fall through the cracks, thus losing that personable, empathetic tone and nuance.
“It is empathy and understanding that helps UX designers streamline the creation process to arrive at the final product,” states Paun. “With empathy, you place yourself in the mindset of a user to problem solve by ideating, prototyping, testing, and then finally implementing. When a design goes beyond aesthetics and instead places an emphasis on usability, accessibility, and ease of use, a design becomes propelled on the path toward a successful digital product.”
Through careful user research and data collection, designers can uncover details on how to make their designs effective for possible audiences. This, however, becomes uncovered and centralized when a human-centric perspective is fully acknowledged in the design process.
Resonance in a Brand Refresh
When it comes to brand refreshes, the balance between retaining current users while enticing and growing conversions from newer users, needs to be struck. Many brands often face the conundrum of stalled growth, or no longer hitting the right audience segmentation. Brands typically refresh their brand—whether a small change or a complete overhaul— every 5 to 10 years, depending upon the reason for that change. Yet to truly engage present users and attract new audiences, brands need to be aware of new shifts in trends, and user preferences, and sometimes it is as simplistic as outdated design. “As a creative agency specializing in brand strategy, we’re often asked this very question…staying power is key…Customer and market tastes are quickly changing, as is your business. More critically, the channels we use to communicate are changing, and we must adapt accordingly,” states Paun.
Designers must walk a fine line between maintaining the established brand recognizability that users have become familiar with and optimizing it with an elevated presence that will not disrupt that familiarity. Ultimately, the best practice behind the decision for a brand refresh is engaging with your users. User feedback is the backbone behind which new direction to take and can inform designers and developers on how to take that feedback and implement it into a new design. Surprisingly, brands seek out design agencies to optimize their design if it begins to feel lackluster or outdated. According to a survey, 60% of users will avoid brands that have “unattractive” or “weird” logos, despite having positive reviews.
This is a considerable aspect to think about because oftentimes, it isn’t a product or a brand’s values that need to be changed, but rather how a brand is visually presenting itself.
“While a rebrand is a total reset, the exercise of a brand refresh allows a company to highlight its unique position in the marketplace, reinforce its value, and gain a new perspective for what lies ahead,” concluded Paun.
There is a litany of ways to create brand recognition and strengthen user retention. Further analyzing these core facets can propel your brand with recognizability to the fullest.