Brand experience is a physical thing.
There’s a famous Starbucks story about the importance of brand experience. Starbucks considered cutting cost by moving to one-ply toilet paper, but decided against it because one-ply didn’t reflect their brand experience.
Given the added expense, it was a tough but important decision, as it reflected to just how committed Starbucks was to the brand experience.
For many associations, the brand experience is physical for a small percentage of members (20%), one time a year, at the annual meeting, or once a month with a print publication.
The rest of the time, it’s about the digital brand experience.
So how would you characterize your digital brand experience? Set aside quality content and programs for a moment, and really think about the experience. How difficult is it to click and tap? Can you find common things the user is looking for? Is it easy to browse from a mobile device?
Here are a few corners associations should never cut when it comes to delivering a digital brand experience:
1) Responsive Design - The quality of your brand experience for members will be largely determined by their experience across devices. Cutting budget here is like deciding you don’t need chairs at the annual meeting. Yes, technically people can stand through the keynote presentation, just like technically they can pinch and zoom from a phone. But the the end result is very upset members.
2) Graphic Design - In an effort to save budgets, many executives opt for an out of the box templates, cheap designs, or design in-house. That leads to visuals that are less thought out for your content, your content editing experience, and most importantly, your users. You have 50 milliseconds to make a good impression. Make them count.
3) Content Management - How does content management impact your brand experience, when 80% of content management system (CMS) functionality is the same? Simple. Your CMS must include tools to enable you to manage your presence across devices, such as personalizing the user experience, previewing your responsive design across devices or in the browser, and the ability to extend to native app content management.
If you absolutely must trim the budget, scale back the quantity of content you’re planning to migrate, and focus on quality. Revisit custom applications and consider eliminating them.
But whatever you do, don’t move to one-ply toilet paper.