WRITTEN BY MediaMonks
In the past couple of years, there’s been a big push for brands to become more purposeful. What may have seemed like a buzzworthy trend has evolved into a consumer expectation that shouldn’t be taken for granted; 57% of consumers will buy or boycott a brand based on its stance on a social issue. While about 76% of brands think their organizations have a defined purpose, only one in 10 have a purpose statement that they’ve put into action, according to ANA.
While brands have embraced a sense of purpose, many miss the opportunity to fully integrate that promise throughout engagements with the consumer. Many digital-born challengers are cropping up, designed with a desire to enact some change. The idea for Dollar Shave Club, for example, came out of the founders’ frustration at the cost of razor blades.
“The purpose inherent in these brands is not just authentic; it is deeply personal,” writes VP, Principal Analyst Dipanjan Chatterjee in his Forrester report “How Direct Brands Are Transforming the Customer/Brand Relationship.” Facing increased pressure to differentiate on purpose, it’s crucial that organizations seek to successfully deliver their brand promise across the full customer experience.
Conveying your brand promise effectively can be key to brand differentiation. In fact, your sense of purpose can extend to all branded experiences across customer journeys and the digital ecosystem. Consider the different channels your brand supports and how brand purpose can unify those experiences together. “Never approach a piece of content as a singular object,” says Jouke Vuurmans, Global Executive Creative Director at MediaMonks. Instead, each interaction should work in tandem with one another to achieve the brand promise.
With this in mind, it pays to recognize the different types of moments along the consumer journey at your disposal. At its broadest, there are the moments in which a consumer engages with a channel to fulfill some need or goal. For example, consider the end of the year when a customer might reflect back on the financial decisions they’ve made—like assessing how well their healthcare provider has served them.
This is an excellent moment for a brand to reinforce its promise to consumers. Oscar, the digital-native health insurance company, used its year in review as an opportunity to represent its unique and disruptive approach to healthcare, an industry that doesn’t always have the strongest reputation for consumer friendliness.
Oscar’s year-end review microsite—built in collaboration with MediaMonks—demonstrates key, tangible benefits it provides to its customers delivered in plain language, bright colors and whimsical animations. The overall visual style and human-centered copy were born from a desire to make a review different than the ones that other healthcare providers offer. This is where the brand promise shines through: Oscar strives to eliminate the stress and confusion that many patients feel in getting coverage or finding a medial practitioner near them by handling healthcare differently than everyone else. While the review was designed with customer retention in mind, it drove new signups as well.
Give Oscar’s Year in Review a thorough examination.
A key component to Oscar’s year in review is its series of interactive animations. Designed to be mobile-friendly, these interactions prompt readers to engage directly with what they see on the screen. Every moment is made up of micro-interactions, which are the little design elements that, together, enable a consumer to fulfill their goal or bring delight. Micro-moments remind us that no engagement is too small or insignificant for the brand promise to manifest itself before the user; in fact, these elements when brought together define the brand’s identity and value.
When each interaction presents an opportunity to fulfill brand purpose, it becomes crucial that you recognize users’ goals within key moments and micro-moments, and consider how your brand meets those goals through its brand promise, much like the elements making up the Oscar year-end review as described above. Doing so shifts your focus away from UX-driven content, and instead toward content-driven UX.
“People are not looking for another water brand. What they are looking for is meaning.”
This shift in thinking is important because content is crucial to defining a brand’s or product’s identity and value, particularly when it conveys the brand’s sense of purpose. Olga Osminkina-Jones, VP GM Premium Food & Beverages at PepsiCo, remarks in ANA’s Discovering Brand Purpose playbook: “I realize that people are not looking for another water brand. They are not sitting and waiting for us to launch another innovation. What they are looking for is meaning.”
There’s a fine line that brands walk between promoting themselves versus their industries—and when they do the latter, they risk advertising for their competition. Don’t center content around just the challenges faced on the consumer, but on your purpose for existing.
Blue Canyon Technologies, for example, is certainly an intriguing brand with its portfolio of spacecraft and space equipment. While you would expect its website to be dry, corporate and technical, it’s anything but. With spacecraft, planets and moons beautifully rendered by the Monks and integrated with WebGL, browsing the website takes users on a mesmerizing journey through the galaxy, examining spacecraft in their natural habitat from several angles. The experience emphasizes the vastness of the universe—an essential theme for the brand story and the resilience and versatility of Blue Canyon Technologies’ fleet of spacecraft, equipment and components.
Both of the website examples above demonstrate how visual and interactive elements can come together to fulfill your brand promise. Doing this successfully enables consumers to connect with the brand more easily through a shared sense of purpose and achieves a sense of emotional resonance that’s often missing from brands that struggle to differentiate.