Brands that Breathe
How do you define the term ‘brand’? Google says:
“a type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name”
Agreed. That is what a brand was. No, it’s not a typo; I did mean “was”.
We live a digital life now. In this fast-paced erratic age, if a business refuses to step further from being only a name and logo just because it claims to provide good service, it would be no better than a street with a road sign telling the street’s name. It’s a fantastic road, yeah, good view, broad lanes; I love to drive on it. But I don’t step out and take a moment to appreciate it. I just pass by.
People are more into experiencing humane interactions with the digital media. And why not? We spend most of our time buried deep in online content. Statista has found that we dedicate an average of 4 hours every day to the internet.
And that’s just the average human. For people who are into mainstream online business, the hours extend to 10-12 on an average. Imagine the diversity of content browsed during these hours. It’s large! So, if your brand does not make a good impression or cannot connect with its audience, it is destined to be lost somewhere down the road.
So, what makes a brand experience good?
Connecting with the audience and giving them a good, memorable experience. Simple.
Plan and devise content that sounds friendly. Make the visitor on your website feel like (s)he is visiting an actual person and not a stack of codes. It can be casual and friendly or serious when needed. But check not to become over-friendly with your words. It loses professionalism.
One trick is to review the drafted content verbally. Ask your teammates to provide feedback as to whether it does sound welcoming or not. Ultimately, you’d want your site visitor to communicate with a person, right?
Introduce Seamless Navigation
The term ‘navigation’ here refers to how you guide the user from one experience to another. It is very frustrating if the user has to take a long tour of the website before arriving at the requirement. Chances are that you’re going to lose this particular visitor.
With the homepage and the conventional page menu disappearing from most websites, it is important that the user does not get lost in the process of finding what (s)he needs.
Imagery that Brings ‘em Home
Since people spend most of their time on the internet, it is good if you can make them feel at home on your website. While content contributes a lot to this experience, imagery also has its role to play.
Gone are the days when stock photos of polished people sat smiling on your pages. Photography has now evolved to make situations look more realistic. People working backstage don’t shy away from showing their fun side on the front-end. This conveys that the team the user is going to approach is humorous, fun to work with and friendly. Most importantly, there are people out there behind those webpages.
Another playful approach to imagery is using custom illustrations. And here you may want to opt for drawing people instead of just pencils and laptops. It feels a lot like it’s made for humans by humans. Some major brands making a big difference with their human illustrations include Shopify (those famous illustrations we all love), Slack, Chargebee (even their chatbox says “Talk to a human!”), Oscar health insurance, Headspace and many more. Oh! How could I forget Google with its Google Doodles and Google Goals portraying cute little people!
Significance of the Less Significant
Ever gave second thoughts to the loading screen or to the screens displaying error messages? If you haven’t yet then it’s high time to start devising strategies to customize these and other tiny segments that don’t usually seem to be important. Although a user spends most of the time on the main pages, when one accidentally lands on an error page, it’s worth making their cranky moods light. Similarly, every second spent while the page is loading is painful unless it gives us some sort of entertainment. Use of playful illustrations, quirky messages or even games can make these error pages worthwhile.
Few masterminds who have created brilliant error pages are Blue Path, The Austratlian, Kualo (you get to be a space shooter for landing on a broken link), Mailchimp and CSS-Tricks. Of course, there are more, like Dropbox and our dear dino from Google Chrome!
Basically, if you want people to live your brand, it is essential that they experience it at every step of their interaction. Every tiny detail from the beginning through the visit right till the end – everything – matters.