5 December 2014
Peter Bogaards
Peter Bogaards

The discovery of brand experience by UX professionals

Informaat has a rich history in bringing a human-centeredness to technology. Disciplines and practices such as human-computer interaction, user interface design and design for user experiences are long-established and deeply ingrained in our DNA. We consider ourselves competent in outside-in thinking, and experts in experience design. As the breadth of our offering has expanded to encompass the design of digital touchpoints in entire service ecosystems, we start to encounter another professional area of experiential thinking: brand experience. So – we wondered – how do we relate?

In large organizations, much effort is put into the careful construction of brands, their architectures and application. As part of this work, customer experience is viewed from a brand perspective, rather than from the perspective of customers themselves. Factors such as identity, promise, and brand values are important for brand experience (BX). BX practitioners intend to connect the values of the organization and its brand(s) to those of their customers. They focus on how to influence the feelings of the people who purchase, use and own their products or services.

Therefore it stands to reason that the branding of products and services is as important as design thinking, systems thinking, and experience thinking. Building strong, valuable and sustainable brands is a long term activity, requiring careful orchestration and organization. BX-led vision and strategy, driving tactics or operations, are important for the delivery of the best possible customer experience.

BX professionals are focused on creating sustainable businesses through marketing, sales and communications. UX professionals on the other hand mostly have backgrounds in areas such as visual design, interaction design and content design. With these backgrounds, their focus on people is natural and empathy is their core competence. Only recently, when commercial organizations started to pay attention to the value of the customer experience, have business and marketing professionals turned their attention to the experience of their brand as well.

Brand identity, management and strategy are comparable areas to customer understanding, governance and experience strategy in the world of UX. But there are other parallels to be found between UX and BX thinking. An important difference between UX and BX is their central viewpoint and the perspectives that derive from that. Is it the brand or is it the human being getting the pivotal role? Or, to simplify this difference further, is it inside-out or outside-in thinking?

Fortunately, the sometimes-significant gap between the brand promise as communicated by marketing, and the delivery of mediocre products and services which fail to deliver on that promise, is gaining attention. Credibility, trust and faith are important for organizations and their customers. BX is starting to see value in the UX perspective and UX must consider all things brand as well.

Further reading on the discipline and practice of brand strategy, experience and management:

Branding strategy insider: Insight for brand builders

About the author

Peter Bogaards (a.k.a. @BogieZero) is the editor-in-chief of our blog BiRDS. Peter also works as a curator and coach at Informaat experience design. He has been an online content curator avant-la-lettre in various UX-related fields for almost three decades, choosing what he thinks is interesting, relevant or remarkable to share.

Customer experience (78), User experience (53)