Building a Brand is building a trust with your customers

I found this article today after we spoke about company branding at our meeting yesterday. As discussed, I still believe branding is about building trust with our customers. It goes beyond what a logo looks. So I did a search online and when compare the definition of branding and marketing, it becomes so much clearer the purpose of branding. Have a read at this article I found below:

http://www.tronviggroup.com/the-difference-between-marketing-and-branding/

I really like one extract from the above article:

The brand is what remains after the marketing has swept through the room. It’s what sticks in your mind associated with a product, service, or organization—whether or not, at that particular moment, you bought or did not buy.

The brand is ultimately what determines if you will become a loyal customer or not.

What do you think?

Do you agree?

Think Experience at a Restaurant. Not features.

Taking your customer to a restaurant without finding out what kind of food they like and just take them to a restaurant you are familiar with. From your customer point of view, this is arrogant. This same philosophy can be applied to building a feature in a software.

It also touched on how BT outsourced their call centres to India and caused an outcry. Now they have to reverse their decision. Imagine the cost! Customers care about being listened too and often the front line staff are the customers only opportunity to communicate with a company.

However, the software company I’m working at has always had a call centre based in Sydney. And this is one thing that we are doing right.

The rest of the article went on to talk about implementing the process to deliver customer experience. It’s basically about Customer Understanding, Measurement, Governance, Strategy, Design and Culture. I don’t find the process ground breaking. However, I like how they describe their philosophy by comparing to asking your friend what kind of food they want to eat before booking a restaurant.

So think experience at a restaurant. Not features!

You can read the full article here.

The Only Way is Up!

I saw this article and thought it describes exactly the way I’ve been setting myself up one step at a time. For example, developers need to get used to always provide estimates before they start development work. I started getting estimations for change requests once a week rather than waiting until the last minute. This makes it quicker for us to adopt to changes. I started scheduling for monthly release on the last week of previous release to allow more time for change in priority. And so on …

As you read the article, you will find the whole concept contradicting. However, I agree with the writer’s method especially a quote from the article below:

As counterintuitive as it might seem, one of the secrets of developing new habits is to set the bar really low, and make it impossible for yourself to fail.

Once you have formed a habit that you desire. And you gain the momentum to do it again and again.

The only way is up!

You can read the full article here.

Conversational UI

This article is an interview on a UX Designer, Adrian Zumbrennun. His name sounds a bit like Adriano Zumbo. The famous pastry chef from Balmain, Sydney. He’s the one who first introduced the Cronuts to Sydney after he heard about the fuss they caused in New York City.

Just like Adriano Zumbo, Adrian heard about this new concept, Conversational UI. He wanted to know what the fuss is about. So he decided to experiment and build it. As a result, he gave us a first taste of what a Conversational Website would look or feel like.

I understand the intention of Conversational UI is to inject personality into a website and give your audience an opportunity to find out more about yourself using conversation. I still think it’s in early stage. The conversation could only go to an extent and it’s limited to the writer’s imagination. Audience can still leave in middle of conversation if they get bored.

Although his website went viral especially within the web community, he is still not sure how useful it will be. However, he learnt a valuable lesson towards the end of his journey. He realised that to be a good web designer these days is not about pushing pixels anymore. It’s about being really good at writing content. As we are all familiar with the famous term which was first coined in a book published all the way back in 1974 and then made popular in 1990s for the Internet.

Content is King.

You can read the full article here.

Grateful Experience. Rather than just Delightful.

It was in the news a few years ago that IRS waived penalty fee from a couple in California. In the letter, they only explained their situation with a new baby and asked for an extension. However, the IRS waived penalty fee of $2,000 and this relieved them from incurring more debt. The new parents were extremely grateful when they heard the decision by IRS.

This is the type of positive experience every product should deliver.

Customer has a set of expectations when using your product. A good experience is one of their expectations. I would say the primary expectation. If anything goes wrong with their experience, they feel resentful to your product. And any other negative emotions. It’s only logical.

So how do you create a grateful experience? Rather than a resentful experience.

Designing delightful experience for your customer was all the rage. I would say this can be achieved by being attentive to how user behave when they use your product and improve your product iteratively. However, it needs to go beyond that.

The feeling of delight is experienced by your user when your product works really well. It’s another level to generate a gracious feeling in your user. Your user won’t only be delighted that your product works really well. They will be so gracious for it that they will be upset if it’s taken away from them. There isn’t a one-size fits all solution to this as it’s a case-by-case basis. However, the example above is a good example for this kind of gracious customer experience.

As Bjork once said in her thank you speech at Brit Awards in 1998: I am Grateful … Grapefruits!

Write before you code?

I found this article quite interesting. The writer reverse-engineered the whole software life cycle process by writing user guide first and then start designing and building the software. To be honest, when I first read it, I found the whole concept mind-blowing. Writing the user guide before even designing or coding it.

Does it really work?

His philosophy is that if you can write about a user guide that is simple and easy for your user to understand, then the product is easy to use. I am planning to try this design philosophy out for the next feature in our software product  and see if it works.

Snazzy Animation

I came across this article and saw some really snazzy animation effects people are doing now with web forms and all. I really like the credit card payment form.

I believe the new version of Telerik will be able to achieve similar effects see this here. You can see it allows interactive effect when you hover over the line chart using your mouse. The version we have now is quite average as there is no interactive features.