Earlier this year, in a post called Interaction design: the new key to brands, I laid out a method of brand building predicated on carefully structured customer interfaces and interactions, across a broad arc of customer experience. A new site, the Usability Body of Knowledge, promises to be a useful resource to brand builders creating value through customer interfaces and interactions.
The four key brand interfaces:
As I noted in my earlier post, the key interfaces for brands are:
- Between company and customer
- Between product and customer
- Between customer and customer
- Between the customer today, and what he or she wishes to become tomorrow.
And as I then added:
Interaction designers will be asked to help companies craft effective digital platforms to build their brands across the four brand interfaces noted above. This is no small challenge. These digital platforms will be expected to drive the interactions that grow the customer, grow the brand, and grow the business.
The task is complex, too. Not only are different types of interfaces involved at the digital level, there are also different customer contexts at each interface, multiple technologies at play, and many forms of brand interaction. Brand vision, roadmaps and deliverables are central to the mix.
How does “usability” apply to brands?
We don’t usually think of “usability” as an element of brands, but think it has an important brand context. I see brands as platforms and programs that make culture (or “life”) more usable for customers. Brands that cling to the box or consist of shallow symbols and slogans rate low on the usability scale. Brands that raise customers to new levels rate much higher. In other words, brand usability takes root when brands are trans-product forces that open doors and empower customers to try new things and to plumb new shapes of self. Great brands flourish as usability tools.
Conventional brands often fail miserably at this task, which is why a fresh approach to brands holds such market-changing potential.
Hat tip to the invaluable Sensorytumble.