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The Secret to a Successful Brand is Design

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A brand is an organization, service or product with a
'personality' that is shaped by the perceptions of the audience. In a nutshell,
a brand is a gut feeling people have about you.  And, it's the designer's job to form the
foundation of the brand. You get that feeling via smart design, which creates
the experiences people have with the brand. So, brands need to create an
emotional relationship with people because we are all emotional beings and have
emotional relationships with brands we trust.
Many people believe a brand only consists of a few elements
'colors, fonts, a logo, and a slogan. In reality, it is much more complicated
than that. You might say that a brand is a 'corporate image.' The fundamental
idea behind having a 'corporate image' is that everything a company does,
everything it owns and everything it produces should reflect the values of the
business. It is the consistency of this core idea that makes up the company,
driving it, showing what it stands for, what it believes in and why they exist.
Michele Serro, Founder and CEO of Doorsteps receives a lot
of compliments about the design of Doorsteps, which she is always eager to pass
along to her team.  'It makes us feel
good. But it depresses me at the same time,' she recently told the
Huffington Post
.
Why? Because, according to Serro, design should be a cost of
entry. For Doorsteps, "great design" is just another way to say
"the app is intuitive to use." People often talk about the power of
brand. In the digital world, brand isn't about logos or taglines, as nice as
those things can be. Publicity, marketing, and great brand names are necessary,
but they are useless when the product experience is unpleasant.
'Brands are built off the backs of the user experience,' she
explained. 'Design's role is not to make something look pretty. It's to make
something useful. Beauty can be a nice byproduct of deep usability, but it's
never the goal.'
That's why Serro says design should accomplish three key
things:
Clarify: Any website
possesses an entire universe of content. Great design streamlines content so
users can easily find the right nugget of content when they need it. It should
be visual and easy to navigate. Information should be simplified with
everything in context - including the ability to ask questions.
Be Intuitive: 'When
things are clear, people are happy,' said Serro. 'When I search through my
Gmail for a message I sent back in 2007 and I find exactly what I need, I find
an odd but satisfying sense of peace.' When people browse a website that is
intuitive, it mitigates the risk that they will miss the information I need.
Delight: Creating
a positive emotional state for your customers matters because when customers
are delighted by brand experience, they're more likely to come back. When they
are frustrated with an experience, it increases the chance that they'll find
another path to success.
'The visual design should be aesthetically pleasing, but the
communication must also be human,' she explained. 'Good design isn't just about
the pretty pictures being in the right places, but also about copywriting and
interactions.'
Reassure: Doorsteps,
for instance, is in the real estate industry. Today, buying a house is the
biggest financial -- and possibly emotional -- purchase a person will ever
make. But most real estate brands, websites and digital experiences, offer a
low-end, even cheap feeling experience. And yet, there are thousands of
delightful tools out there for industries that have less emotional implications
than home buying.
Good design inspires confidence. Customers are more likely
to trust you to store financial details, process payments, and safeguard accounts
when you get the details right.

Amanda Ciccatelli,
Social Media Strategist at IIR USA in New York City, has a background in
digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business
strategy, marketing, and technology. She previously worked at Technology
Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and
feature stories in the tech industry.  She can be reached
at aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmandaCicc. 

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