How To Stop Designing Websites And Start Designing Brand Experiences

by 10 01/16/2012

Now more than ever, as designers we have to treat the websites we design as an extension of brand.

A seamless brand extends from the storefront to the front page of the website.  From television ad to banner ad.  From product to packaging.

The well-crafted brand, no matter where it is encountered, evokes the same emotion.  That emotion is created via a brand experience. Brand experience is what separates industry leaders from industry followers and can in-turn gauge the success of a websites ability to convert users to customers.

First and foremost we are not simply web designers, we are brand experience designers.

It is critical for us as design professionals to fully understand our clients’ brand and design an experience that tells the story of that brand.

Study these five world-class brands to become a master of designing brand experiences.

Nike

The global leader in sportswear lives on brand experience.

Their stores, packaging and website all exhibit a cohesive brand experience of sporting excellence. One thing Nike does well in all of its stores and online is create an emotion that inspires its consumers to pick up a sport or to exercise. Few companies can build motivation and emotion amongst their consumers like Nike. This is truly brand experience at its best.

Nike Brand Experience

Apple

You can’t talk about brand experience without mentioning Apple.

Apple creates an experience of innovation, quality and elitism through their stores, packaging and website. Talk to any Apple fan-boy about why they choose Apple and I can promise amongst their answer will be a reference to simplicity. The idea of simplicity is self evident in Apple’s website, products and packaging. Nothing more than what you need to get the job done and in the case of the website, nothing more than you need to become a fan-boy yourself.

Apple Brand Experience

The North Face

The North Face produces high quality outdoor apparel.

When you walk into one of their stores you’re immersed in mountaineering and you get the same mountaineering experience on their website. The North Face is truly synonymous with cold weather and outdoor gear. One look at their website and you feel warm and fuzzy in a cold environment of greys with a shot of warm red. The use of color not only makes actions clear and understandable, but also promotes a feeling of warmth in the cold.

The North Face Brand Experience

Lego

Lego is taking their brand experience and marketing to new levels.

Unveiling Lego stores around the world and even the animated series Ninjago. Everything is built from little plastic blocks, the stores, cartoons, video games and website all play off of this theme. To get the full effect of the website you have to visit the site and watch the animations bring the blocks to life. They’ve created a vacation to your inner child’s imagination. This would explain why I see balding 50 year olds playing with the latest Star Wars Legos.

Lego Brand Experience

IKEA

IKEA is awesome in so many ways.

It’s cheap, well-built and occasionally fun to assemble.

IKEA is so decisively Swedish that they sell Swedish meatballs in the store. The Swedish pride themselves on class leading design and functionality in a small space. This is apparent in the IKEA website which plays heavily on their yellow and blue branding and simple solutions for small spaces.

Better yet is the integration of store and web. You can choose a furniture item online, check it’s availability in your local store and even get the aisle and bin number where you can find it in the store. Every business should strive for this level of integration perfection.

IKEA Brand Experience

Did I miss some that are worthy of the list? Leave a comment and share the site and tell me why you think it’s a good example of brand experience and cohesion.

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About 

Christopher is a web and interactive designer & developer for over twelve years. He believes having a successful web site goes beyond a pretty design and some whizz–bang functionality. It’s about incorporating every aspect of the digital web to create a holistic online presence and identity.

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10 COMMENTS

bianca Frank

Great article! There is an absolute connection to brand and web design. Regardless of business size…developing your consistency IS supporting the definition of your brand.

January 16, 2012 Reply

Marco

Great article. Inspiration to get my work to the next level.

January 18, 2012 Reply

Navigator Multimedia

It’s worth mentioning that most of these branded businesses extend the influence of brand to the corporate training of its employees and the values and philosophies so tightly bound to the brand associations. It’s all about creating an experience that can be manifested and passed on. And of course, having a distinct logo design to see it through.

Cheers,
Sarah Bauer
Navigator Multimedia
http://www.navigatormm.com

January 18, 2012 Reply

    Christopher Lee

    I completely agree. Each of these companies eat, sleep and breathe their brands. It’s this level of dedication to their brand and philosophy that creates such a distinct impact on consumers. Excellent point Sarah, thank you.

    January 18, 2012 Reply

Reza

A great article, Lee. Paying attention to UX and Branding conventions are one thing, but you’ve nailed it by including the web designer’s role and underscoring the key attributes of what make the above examples true specimens of solid Brand Experience. Always a great read, sir.

http://www.ctrlspc.ca
-R

January 19, 2012 Reply

Ben Spak

Great share Christopher! Do you have a twitter account I can follow?

March 20, 2012 Reply


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