UX, The Foundation of The Modern Brand
We’re living in heady times as UX designers. The industry is booming, demand higher than ever before. Every company – from globalised conglomerate, to budding start-up – wants (needs) a UX department. Those that aren’t investing in UX? They’re behind the times, they’re not up to scratch.
Why this sudden focus on an industry that for so long worked behind the scenes, almost anonymously? As the marketing landscape moves from the salesmanship of old, to a system better focused on customer loyalty and quality of service, ‘Experience’ has been pushed to the fore.
Be it User Experience, Customer Experience, or whatever you want to name it: marketing is an experiential game. Brands are differentiating themselves not through the underhanded sales and pricing techniques of old, but by simply providing a better service – a better experience.
But how close is this link between UX and brand power? UX is famously difficult to quantify at the best of times. From our own data, we’re finally able to prove just how important UX is in that relationship – a little something to show your boss perhaps.
What is NPS?
To first understand how UX affects our brand, we must understand the marketing metric that gauges our brand strength: The Net Promoter Score.
Somewhat of an industry buzzword, the Net Promoter or Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a tool used to gauge the loyalty of a firm’s customer relationships. It all starts with a question:
How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?
Which then asks the user to leave a score on a scale of 0 to 10.
The answer to this question puts our user into one of 3 categories: Detractors, Passives, or Promoters, as we see below:
From these segments we can build our final NPS. By looking at the percentage of our users in each segment, we work out the difference between these segments – leaving us with a final score of -100 to +100.
This simple calculation is currently the darling of marketers worldwide – providing insight into their customers’ loyalty.
So now we have a number on our customer loyalty, we have the relatively simple task of working out how to increase this number – and thus our customer loyalty. Well, data shows we needn’t look too much further than that other buzzword – our very own favourite – user experience.
The link between Brand and UX When users decide to leave feedback on one of Usabilla’s clients websites, they are asked to leave a rating – on a scale of 1-5 based – on their current emotion. This emotional rating aims to capture the user’s perception of the website or element as they browse. A simple but effective way to judge website UX. It just so happens that many of our customers ask for an NPS alongside this UX rating. Gifting us unique insights into the relationship between NPS and User Experience. The resulting relationship is exceptionally interesting. Above we plot Average NPS together with the Average UX rating. The close relationship is immediately apparently. As user experience changes, NPS changes, and vice versa. The brand loyalty of our users is evidently being manipulated by changes in website user experience. This becomes even more noticeable when we break things down a little more. Below, we plot each of the five points of the UX rating against the average Net Promoter score submitted alongside it. (ie. a user could give a perfect UX score of 5 – a heart – but may give an NPS of only 4 – classing them as a demoter). Here the impact that a poor website experience has on your brand is even more apparent. Only a UX score of 5 – the highest and hardest to achieve – results in brand promoters. Anything from a rating of 3, downwards, is almost guaranteed to land you with a demoter – someone who will think (and more importantly speak) negatively of your brand. This is definitive proof that poor website experience will have a negative impact on your brand. We can even go as far as saying, without doubt, that by offering a detrimental website experience, you’re creating a negative perception of your brand. As good as your product may be, if your website is lacking your brand will feel the pain.
What does this mean for us?
This data is proof that UX is a key differentiator of brand image and customer loyalty. By providing users with negative experiences, we create a negative perception of our brand which inevitably has its consequences. This in itself raises an extremely interesting subject. Recently, many have earmarked traditional marketing to be dead. Marketing in this day and age is all about loyalty, about customer experience. With so many competitors waiting to overtake us, with the potential for rivals to spring up anywhere in the world in our globalised economy, the differentiator of price is long dead – an Indian or Chinese rival can all too easily copy us for a fraction of the cost. If we want to improve brand loyalty, we have to focus on key customer touchpoints. We have to focus on our customers’ interactions with our brand – our website. Thus, by providing positive experiences through our website, we automatically create positive perceptions of our brand – that is UX’s real value. UX is the foundation of online marketing. It is our job to build brand loyalty – we have to differentiate ourselves from our competitors – by ensuring those key touchpoints offer the best possible experience. Just as the above data tells us, only by offering our users the best possible experience can we ensure those users keep coming back for more.
- UX is essential to brand strength and customer loyalty.
- Poor UX is guaranteed to create brand resentment.
- Great UX is appreciated by your followers, and increases your brand’s strength.
- The difference between a good and great user experience is key to maintaining a strong brand.