Why Digital Impressions Matter
Have you ever bought a fancy tech gadget or a gorgeous piece of clothing that ends up falling apart after a week? Appearances can be misleading. When it comes to any type of product, physical or digital, impressions matter, but what the user finds after interacting with the item matters just as much.
Design thinking, a cornerstone of product creation, can also be applied to digital products and experiences. According to Wired, design thinking is defined as “a repeatable, human-centered method for creative problem solving and innovation.” Brands take a holistic approach to creating customer experiences and take advantage of opportunities to delight and surprise customers whenever possible.
What Consumers Care About
Human-centered design isn’t just about making a digital product or website pretty, although that matters. Colors, graphics, layout, and typography all play roles in the impression made on the viewer. However, human-centered design goes several steps further to ensure the user is having a good experience. The digital product must function as it’s supposed to, it should be easy to use, and it should include the features the consumer wants.
To create meaningful and memorable digital experiences, the customer has to be considered. Collecting data can guide teams to develop the experiences the customer wants. Tap into the platforms that have rich data, such as your most popular social media profiles, your mobile app, and your website. Think about the problems that you want to solve right now and analyze the data that matches up to those problems.
3 Tips for the Human-Centered Company
Smart brands take an authentic, human-centered approach to branding. They remain true to their message and voice while continuing to cater to their audience. Instead of jumping on the next hot marketing trend, authentic brands put a lot of thought into what their audience needs right now, whether or not that lines up with a current trend. No matter how much the Google algorithm changes, it always seems to favor one thing: authenticity.
- Find Your Niche: It’s unlikely that your brand is going to be the first to do what you do. However, you can be the best at an area of what you do. Find your niche and then focus your digital design on that. Look at how Dove managed to stand out in the uber-popular beauty market: they’ve put real women at the center of their campaigns for years, and the company is now known for showing what real women, not just models, look like.
- Include Tech-Based Interactions: There are all sorts of new tech options for creating immersive interactions between your brand and consumers. Your social media accounts or website can be a digital doorway to a deeper connection with your brand. Having a chatbot on your website or AR simulations through your mobile app show audiences that you want to connect with them and that you have a forward-thinking company.
- Ask Questions from the Customer’s Point of View: Businesses often shape their strategy by asking questions that apply to them, such as, “How do we get more landing page conversions?” Human-centered brands frame this in terms of what the customer wants. The question becomes, “Is there another offer that our customers want? Are they asking for something that we’re able to give them?” The end goal is the same — increase conversions — but the way that the business gets there is much more customer-focused.
All of these strategies strive to put the customer first. Brands that care about their digital impression start by thinking about what the customer wants and how they’ll react. They then work backward to deliver the best experience possible.
Facts vs. Hearsay
Today’s customers are always looking for social proof when making a buying decision. If there’s a lot of negative talk out there, you could lose the customer before making contact with them. Often, negative coverage can overpower positive facts. For example, self-driving cars receive a lot of media coverage when features fail, but their benefits and positive safety features aren’t as widely known.
Brands have to fight negative rumors in a smart way. The first step is to listen to what the rumor mill is saying. If there’s any truth, validity or lesson to be learned, decide how you can improve your business, then communicate that to your audience. If there isn’t any truth to it (or if it’s only partially true), fight against the rumors with the facts. By being transparent, you not only combat the rumors, but you also instill trust in your audience by showing them you’re willing to be open.
It’s nearly impossible to create a cohesive brand and design without the entire team on the same page. Teams should share the same vision and understand why that vision will connect with the audience. When done well, thoughtful branding and digital design can mean more profit for the company, more satisfaction for employees and more value for customers.