Katie Denton is the Creative Director at Doberman, with offices in Stockholm and NYC. Katie leads teams to push creative strategies and co-create with clients to launch disruptive products that are as beautiful as they are innovative. Before joining Doberman, Katie was an Associate Creative Director at frog working with a range of clients including the Verizon iOT group, Banco Azteca in Mexico and GS Shop in South Korea. Her work has been recognized by Wired, The New York Times, the Webby Awards, and Apple’s Editor’s Choice List.
Building brand loyalty today requires more than slick advertising and catchy tag lines. The brands that stay top of mind are the ones that offer the best end-to-end experiences and are truly seamless in their functional delivery of a service. Furthermore, in a world where change is constant, brands must react in a way that inspires trust. If your job involves owning any part of your brand’s customer experience, then you know first-hand how daunting this challenge can be.
The good news is that there are effective strategies which you can use to create a strong brand — all beginning with a focus on product design. In our work at Doberman, we’ve found a sweet spot using our tried-and-true product design processes to create new brands. Here are five principles which have helped us create successfully branded products for companies like Oscar Health, WealthSimple and more:
- Human-centered: The way your brand is perceived is a direct function of how people interact with it. A user-centered design process organically brings users into the creative process early and often to understand whether a product will be usable. This research-driven empathetic mindset can be incredibly powerful when unlocking what will make a meaningful brand.
- Systems-oriented: Achieving consistency across a product ecosystem relies on embracing complexity, something that product designers are exceptionally skilled at. Well-executed product design similarly relies on the ability to connect the big picture to the tiny details. This is increasingly important as brands are forced to scale across new and different channels.
- Built to scale: Your brand identity will need to flex and grow as your business evolves—it’s almost inevitable. If you treat your brand like a startup launching a minimum viable product (MVP), you open up new opportunities to learn and iterate fast.
- Digitally anchored: If your product is centered in a digital experience, the brand must be anchored in that context, and should be developed by people who understand what makes feasible, viable, and desirable products.
- Radical collaboration: You can’t develop a product in a vacuum and nor should you develop brand in one. The sum is always greater than its parts, and interdisciplinary teams unlock fresh ideas. This closeness of collaboration is paramount because as the grand grows and evolves, you and your team will serve as the first wave of brand ambassadors. You must enthusiastically embody the brand in order to properly roll it out and convince others it is worth rallying behind.
At the end of the day, whether you are launching a new brand or trying to improve the presence of an existing brand, you should look for a design partner that invests in understanding your vision and enhancing it with their expertise. Partnering with product designers who bring their expertise — the ability to empathize with users, to think about the big picture (and the long-term) all amped up with an understanding of tech considerations and trends — will set your brand up for continued growth in the ever-evolving and often unpredictable landscape of digital experience.