What was first: brand or user experience? (chicken or egg?)

You work for big company. Or for small one, really doesn't matter. From time to time, you need to develop a solution (website) and share it with the world.

You work for big company. Or for small one, really doesn’t matter. From time to time, you need to develop solution (application, let’s say) and distribute it to users.

Of course, your corporate colors (including all branding elements) are pink with gray elements (no, I’m not trying to suggest that you work for T-Mobile). And while those corporate colors are just fine for internal documents and maybe even for Intranet site, when you decide to deliver your application to users, those colors just doesn’t seem to fit in as they should.

So, you say – OK, we will put other colors and create better user experience for our users and hope that they will like it. But, hold on!

There is always someone saying: Hey, those are not our corporate colors!?

And now you know it? You need to put your application in those harsh and mostly inflexible branding guidelines and, unfortunately, just press “Ignore” on user experience.

So what if your e-book reader is all pink with gray shades? Sure, all user groups (yup, that includes male users) will use it and they will be thrilled. Right?

Guess again!

UX and branding? Living together?

Where is the problem? Branding guidelines are here for branding, and that is problem. They should be here for user experience as well. Nowadays, although promising trends are emerging, branding is being created way before user experience is developed and final result is that branding themes and elements are being forcefully thrown at UX designers and served as something they must use.

So, what is the point are we missing?

Chicken or egg?
Chicken or egg?

We should rethink what UX indeed is. UX cannot and should not be observed out of broader context. Let’s say this in simple words: UX is our brand and it should be treated like one.

Take Apple for example – their UX is really part of their brand. When you see Mac OS X, iPhone or iPod, you just know it is Apple. And you know that not because of prominent Apple logo (something you might consider as a typical branding pillar) but because of overall user experience. Apple has used UX as its own brand! Way to go!

How to get this to work in your company, for real? Key point, as many will agree, is to evangelize the importance of UX to business – marketing decision makers. Once they realize concrete benefits and business improvements and potential that UX has, they will become your greatest fans and true, passionate supporters.

I’d like you to remember just one simple sentence from this post: UX is connection, bridge between your brand (company) and your users (customers).

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