A good user experience ≠ a good brand experience

Brands should identify moments of disproportionate impact to drive differentiation.

In 2019, frictionless is the new commoditization. When “seamless” and “efficient” are the only goals in creating an experience, that consumer experience becomes merely transactional and there are few opportunities for brands to differentiate. Consider airline apps, for example. While it’s simple and streamlined to make or change a reservation or check flight status on any airline app, it’s harder to remember which airline app you are using.

Blue Bottle Coffee
Blue Bottle Coffee

Brands need to offer experiences that engage the emotions. While the best user experiences lead with performance and functionality, the most memorable brand experiences will take customers on an emotionally engaging journey—one that offers surprises and delights, and nurtures meaningful relationships. And sometimes that means a bit of friction along the way. Consider Blue Bottle Coffee, an Oakland, California-based coffee retailer. Blue Bottle’s brand purpose is to provide “great coffee to everyone who asks for it.” But the process to brew that coffee takes time. Blue Bottle cafés have lines out the door, but the coffee is worth the wait. The baristas prepare fresh pour-over coffee drip by drip in front of each and every customer. They take great pride in their craft. The result: Blue Bottle is renowned as the best coffee experience in the United States! 

All brands need to focus on key moments of impact and enhance those aspects of the experience. Not all touchpoints are created equal. Marketers have to decide which moments are opportunities to demonstrate the brand ethos or value proposition in new and engaging ways. Rather than just mapping entire ecosystems, brand marketers should identify and enrich the moments that can have a disproportionate impact.