Professional team meets to discuss brand experience design for their company.
July 5, 2023

The Fundamentals of Brand Experience Design

by Michael Brenner

In today’s fiercely competitive business landscape, simply offering a quality product or service is no longer sufficient to thrive. To truly stand out and forge connections with customers, brands must go beyond the ordinary and create immersive experiences that resonate with their target audience. This is where the art of brand experience design comes in.

Brand experience design encompasses every touchpoint, interaction, and emotion that individuals encounter along their journey with your brand—and it holds the key to capturing customer loyalty and driving business success. 

In this article, we will delve into the fundamentals of brand experience design, uncover their significance, and explore strategies to optimize your brand’s impact. 

Quick Takeaways

  • Customers are willing to pay more for a better experience, and find it just as important as the actual offerings provided.
  • Visual identity—logos, color schemes, fonts, etc.—are your brand’s first impression to customers.
  • Customers use 10+ channels to communicate with brands. It’s essential to meet your unique audience on the channels they most prefer.
  • Today, customers expect high-quality and high-speed customer service—90% expect immediate responses to inquiries.
  • More than 80% of customers want brands’ values to align with their own.

What is Brand Experience Design and Why is It Important?

Brand experience design is the process of intentionally creating the experience you want your customers to have with your brand. It holistically encompasses the perceptions, thoughts, feelings, and reactions people have when they interact with anything your brand produces — marketing campaigns, digital content, physical locations, events, and of course products and services. 

Through intentional design, brands gain more control over how the experience they deliver impacts sales and revenue growth as well as insight that helps them continuously improve.

The importance of brand experience to a company’s overall performance cannot be overstated —86% of customers say they are willing to pay more for a better experience, and 84% say that their experience is equally important to the actual products and services provided.

Statistics showing that 86% of customers would pay more for a product or service if they received a better experience, and 84% of customers say experience is equally important to the products and services provided.

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Notably, the more expensive an offering is, the more customers are willing to pay for a quality experience to go with it. This suggests that in the B2B world, where purchase prices are higher and purchase decisions impactful to organizations at large, smart brand experience design is a competitive essential.

In the next section, we’ll walk through 6 fundamentals of brand experience design you can focus on to optimize the experience prospective buyers, customers, and other key stakeholders have with your brand.

6 Fundamentals of Brand Experience Design

Customer Needs Focus

Ideal customer profiles and buyer personas are popular frameworks for understanding target audiences, but companies often rely too heavily on surface-level demographics and not enough on what really matters—customer needs.

In brand experience design, zeroing in on needs is what gives you the perspective to create a customer-centered experience that builds trust, loyalty, and repeat business. As you think about designing your brand experience, ask questions like:

  • What pain points and challenges do our target customers experience?
  • What goals and tasks are they trying to accomplish?
  • What values are important to them?
  • How do they prefer to communicate?
  • How do our solutions fit with their current tools and processes?

The point is to avoid designing an experience arbitrarily or because it’s the way your company envisions it should look. Brand experience design aims to see things from the perspective of the customer and build the experience accordingly to meet their needs and preferences.

Visual Identity

Your visual identity—logos, typography, fonts, website layouts, and the like—create a buyer’s first impression of your brand, and studies have shown that they do indeed judge a book by its cover when it comes to choosing the companies they’ll buy from.

In fact, 60% of consumers avoid brands with logos that have “weird or unappealing designs.” This isn’t totally surprising given that buyers largely make decisions based on emotions. In this case, they’re choosing brands based on how their visual identity makes them feel.

Statistic showing that 60% of consumers avoid companies with logos that have weird or unappealing designs.

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Part of brand experience design is creating a visual brand identity that is consistent, cohesive, and incites positive emotions associated with your company.

Platforms and Channels

According to McKinsey, buyers use more than 10 channels to interact with brands throughout the decision journey. The extent to which they use certain channels and/or the combinations of channels used varies by industry, sector, and individual buyer preferences.

Statistic showing brands use more than 10 channels to interact with brands during their decision journey.

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For example: In the B2B world, LinkedIn is a popular social channel for direct sales outreach and content publishing. In B2C industries, it’s much more common for brands to leverage influencer marketing on platforms such as Instagram and TikTok. The tech industry relies heavily on webinars and online events, while others focus more on written content like blogs and emails.

Effective brand experience design includes research into the platforms and channels your unique audience uses and prefers, and the creation of quality experiences using the capabilities and features available on those channels.

User Experience

While the term user experience (UX) is sometimes used interchangeably with brand experience, it’s only one part of it—the experience customers have while they’re actually using your website, products, and services. It encompasses their ease of use, interactive and visual design elements, and the extent to which something achieves its intended purpose for the user.

In today’s highly digital world, UX is more important than ever because customers interact with products more independently than in the past—often completely without actual interaction with representatives of a company. This is particularly true throughout the purchase journey, during which decision makers complete most of their brand research before ever reaching out to a sales team for guidance.

Statistics show that UX is fast becoming a make or break factor in whether brands are able to consistently convert new customers—a whopping 88% of users say they are less likely to return to a website after just one bad experience, and 91% of users disappear without providing any feedback about why they’re unhappy.

It’s critical to avoid this problem by doing frequent usability testing to understand how users are interacting with your website and platforms, challenges they’re encountering, and parts of it they perceive as positive or needing improvement.

Customer Service and Customer Support

Customer service is the umbrella term referring to everything you do to provide an excellent experience for your customers. It encompasses things like:

  • Onboarding new customers to drive immediate value
  • Providing digital resources (such as your FAQ page)
  • Helping customers quickly resolve issues
  • Answering general questions and inquiries
  • Recommending tools, tricks, or additional offerings to maximize value

Customer service reps typically maintain general knowledge about products, services, and the brand, then funnel customers through to specialists when needed. Those specialists provide customer support, which focuses on usability and the resolution of product-related issues, like technical problems or user knowledge gaps.

Today, customer expectations are higher than ever when it comes to quality and speed of service—a staggering 90% of consumers say an “immediate” response is important when they have a customer service question.

Statistic shows that 90% of consumers rate an “immediate” response as important or very important when they have a customer service question.

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Expectations like these are impossible to meet without solid brand experience design behind your service and support strategy, ensuring you’re meeting customers on the right channels and providing the highest quality service possible.

Values and Purpose

Brand values and purpose have been growing in importance to the brand experience, and are now at an all-time high. Not only do consumers want to know a brand’s values, 82% also want them to align with their own. To boot, three-quarters of consumers say that they’ll part ways with a brand when their values conflict.

This has two key implications for brand experience design. First, it is essential to know what your customers care about and align your values with your audience. While you won’t match up with every individual perfectly, having a generally shared sense of purpose with your target customers is a must.

Second, it’s important to make your values public. This starts with placing them in key places like your website and social platforms, but that won’t be enough on its own. You’ll also need to do things like cover values-related topics in your content and events, or take action related to these values (like donating to a charity that supports a cause you care about).

Final Thoughts

Achieving ongoing growth and success for your company requires more than just providing great products and services. You also need to deliver an intentionally-designed brand experience that’s tailored to your unique audiences and customers. That means focusing on their needs and preferences, meeting them on the right channels, delivering exceptional service, making your website and offerings highly usable, and sharing common values.

There’s no doubt about it—brand experience design is a heavy lift that demands ongoing effort and attention—but the ROI in the forms of higher conversions and customer loyalty makes it well worth the investment.

Michael Brenner is a keynote speaker, author and CEO of Marketing Insider Group. Michael has written hundreds of articles on sites such as Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and The Guardian and he speaks at dozens of leadership conferences each year covering topics such as marketing, leadership, technology and business strategy.