Recent research, which questioned 600 digital design and developer experts across UK, US and Germany revealed fundamental issues when bringing a brief for digital media to life.
It showed that 58% of brands, agencies and developers have seen a negative impact on profitability as a result of issues faced when implementing a brief on digital media, and 60% have experienced increased client costs. Half of the respondents also said they have been late to market as a result of client issues.
The research revealed that brands, designers and developers require better guidance and closer collaboration in order to create cross-platform digital campaigns that stay within budget and are delivered on time. In order to tackle these challenges, we formed the ‘Brand Perfect Tour and Think Tank.’ Following events in London, Hamburg and New York, we have extracted key feedback from attendees (including brands, agencies, designers and developers) and, combined with the international research, have captured the direction of the discussion to date which may start to shed some light on how to achieve a level of brand perfection that represents unity and synergy across digital media.
Whether a pure digital player, or with a print history, we’re seeing that a brand needs to have a personality and behave in a fashion that allows the user to interact with it. The steps to achieve this are:
Control - Brands that are successful in the digital space play to the user’s desire to be in control. They enable the user to feel as though they have influence over the brand rather than the brand dictating what the user should or shouldn’t do.
Intuition - The brands that cater to a consumer’s digital intuition and appreciation of good user experience, design and layout are those that will have the most success on digital platforms.
Scalable - Brands must be fluid and scalable in order to adapt to any digital environment that is not constrained by digital guidelines.
Consistency is vital when mastering digital environments. Building brand loyalty can take years and incur huge budgets to develop an identity that the consumer likes and respects. It would be hugely detrimental to lose this when transferring the brand to digital mediums. Some key areas that brands should consider when trying to achieve brand consistency are:
Fluidity - The concept of brand consistency may no longer be a case of the brand having to look familiar to ensure consistency. The conversation is building that brands need to be reliable and consistent in all aspects including design, tone, content and behaviour.
Adaptability - New devices will always be released so brands need to be poised to be able to adapt quickly when a new device is launched. However, if they have instilled predictable performance that the consumer inherently appreciates, the transfer will be easier.
Tone - The language and tone of the brand must be consistent regardless of context or digital medium in order to ensure brands don’t lose their identity. Failure to do so will leave a consumer alienated and detached.
Achieving brand perfection
While brand perfection may seem a lofty goal, designers, developers and creative directors must understand the challenges that the industry is currently facing, and open the communication channels and create a roadmap to move forward and tackle these issues.
Understand - To achieve digital continuity, everyone in the process needs a greater understanding of the development process. Too often a breakdown exists between the vision of the idea and the reality of technical execution, resulting in a compromise of brand positioning, an unsatisfactory customer experience and a potential delay to market. This needs to be addressed by both sides early in the design process in order to ensure the project runs smoothly.
Communication - The industry should be able to speak and gain advice from one another, which is why we’ve established The Brand Perfect Tour to bring together everyone with a stake in delivering brand experiences. Clearer briefs and guidelines are essential to the process so that developers aren’t left to struggle to meet inadequate briefs leading to delays or unfinished development. With the acceleration in the adoption of new digital platforms, brands and creative directors need to communicate and collaborate with their development teams to gain a deeper understanding of this process.
Roadmap - Identifying where in the developers’ workflow there are challenges in delivering richer brand experiences and engaging with technologists to create a roadmap to support brand continuity in digital will help to clarify some of the issues early on.
Today, passing up the opportunity to reach vast audiences through digital media is pretty much unheard of. However, the fact that so many issues, which have such detrimental effects, still exist shows there is still work to be done. The need for a convergence of processes is critical to brand success. However, communication and sharing of best practices throughout the industry will ensure that these challenges will be overcome.
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