It used to be that businesses could rely on building relationships with customers through their marketing messages. Brands could hire an ad agency, spend a few million to get in front of people’s eyeballs and consider the job done - more attention, more awareness, more sales.

You don’t need us to tell you things have changed a bit. Media is more fragmented than ever. People are more likely to interact with your business on a phone screen than a big screen. That smaller screen, and all the distractions that come with it, means that brands have to pack much more into every interaction to get the same level of attention. Campaign effectiveness is in decline as customer expectations sky rocket. With more choice, consumers have instinctively become more discerning. That’s why we’ve seen C-suites reshuffled to include Chief Design Officers.

Consider this: more than half of customers (53 per cent) will give up on a web page that takes more than three seconds to load. But the average time it actually takes for a mobile web page to load on 3G is 19 seconds.  If your user experience doesn’t deliver, your investment in brand is a waste of time. That’s not to say that brand doesn’t have a key role to play. We like to think of it like this: brilliant user experience is the foundation for a positive relationship with your customers.  But brand brings personality and cut through.

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This is a new relationship for teams to navigate. And it’s not always straightforward. Here are 3 ways to get ahead when you’re looking at how brand and user experience disciplines can come together, effectively.

Think people, not users or consumers

People act on feelings. So consider creating ‘charmingly imperfect’ brand experiences. This isn’t an excuse to have a rubbish app or website. But it does mean consciously choosing thoughtful, human design that thinks less about ‘users’ trying to get from A to B as quickly and seamlessly as possible, and more about ‘people’ who feel at every interaction.

Create emotional connections in unexpected places

Use every communication to show your personality. Even functional messages can add value if you use great design and distinctive tone of voice. There are really simple things you can do to join the dots. For example popular transport app Citymapper says ‘thinking’ not ‘loading’ when it’s calculating a journey. Small touches like this make your brand more connected. The best way to achieve this is by bringing people from different disciplines to work together. When brand and user experience work together, it’s easier to get customer-driven results.

Understand feelings just as much as usability in user experience

People tell us, “If you don’t make it easy, you’ll lose me”.  For example, 68 per cent of people won’t even bother signing up to an app if they think it takes too long.  But usability stats don’t tell the whole story. People are emotionally invested in apps, too.  When your design and language come together with charm and flair, that helps customers to feel valued.  So, when you’re looking at your metrics for success, don’t underestimate the value of a positive emotional experience for customers. Rather than focusing purely on immediate conversion, look at the overall impression the brand creates.

Brand isn’t dead, it’s just changing.  As everyone gets better at the technology, a seamless user experience won’t help you stand out, it’ll just help you keep up. And as that happens, brand will become even more important again in the future. The most successful businesses will combine the two disciplines to make life ever easier for their customers. And with our three ways you can make this happen faster and more effectively.