UX: The Ultimate Fulfillment of Your Brand’s Promise

Cary Dicristina
7 min readSep 28, 2020

Quick. Name your favorite product. Okay stop. Obviously, I can’t hear what you said. So I’ll tell you mine.

Pretty much anything made by Apple. Yeah. I know. Really taking a chance here. Praise from a Fan Boy. Or Fan Man. If I’m old enough to raise kids, I’m old enough to graduate to a Fan Man. (Maybe that sounds too much like a rejected Marvel Comics superhero. Or worse — a lesser-known, cult-followed, non-rejected superhero. Coming this Summer. To six thousand theaters.) Just leave me alone when it comes to my Steve Jobs inspired wardrobe including jeans and a black turtleneck. I’ll wear a blue one once the summer ends.

Not me at my desk. Turtleneck-less. Do not attempt. Photo courtsey of Studio Republic.

Starbucks. I can hear you now. Eww. Gross. I hate that swill. How can you drink that? That’s not coffee, that run-off. From a highway. After a thunderstorm. I want you to know I hear you. And I don’t care.

Can you tell it’s not France? I mean aside from the signage in English? Photo courtesy of Nicole Baster.

BMW. Again, I know what you’re thinking. Elitist. Snobby. A$$ H@!* in front of you in traffic — but not for long.

Guess what European sport sedan? You lose if you guess Saab. Photo courtesy of Andras Vas.

While it may seem like this is nothing more than just a list of Hipster Faves, let me assure you — I look terrible in fedoras and my beard is patchy at best. This is a list of brands. Effective brands. These brands (and the companies they represent) make products I love. And I love these products because I can depend on them. My user experiences with these products are enjoyable. And more important — productive. And from that all-important marketing perspective — they fulfill their promises.

2020 27" iMac. Old design. New drooling.

Apple promises sleek, elegant design, coupled with ease of use in a quality form factor. Right now, I’m salivating over the new twenty-seven-inch iMac. I have two Apple TV’s, two iPads, countless iPhones, an iMac from 2011 and two MacBook Pros. One of them is from 2009. And they all still work. One or two might not be the most powerful machines in the world, but they’re good enough for my son’s learning pod needs during this never-ending pandemic episode of Schoolhouse Rock.

I’m going to purchase this latest iMac online. And I have no worries. Purchasing an Apple product online is simple and intuitive. Sleek and productive. Just like their products. Their online presence is an extension of their brand. Promises kept.

There’s only one problem. And it’s not the fault of the store. It’s me. I know as soon as I purchase this machine, there will be that fear that it’s obsolete. Call it Buyer’s Pre-Remorse. Should I have held out for the new Apple Silicone chip iMac? Talk about First World problems.

But that’s another aspect of their brand. Premium. In Apple’s world, you get what you pay for. And since what you’re paying for may not have been first to market, it is usually best to market. And best costs more. But since my machines have lasted five to six times the length of the Dell laptop I purchased for my father; I look at them as investments. And how many computers can you sell on the secondary market to make up to forty-five to fifty percent of the purchase cost three years after you first bought it?

How to buy and iMac online. It’s easy.

Ever bought anything from the Microsoft online store? I have. The purchase of a Minecraft license for my son. It took over forty-five minutes and included a Death Loop where I was constantly shuffled between the game’s login screen and the Microsoft Payment screen and the separate parent approval notification on my iPhone. In all deference to Microsoft, I did have an easy experience buying Office 365. But to Microsoft’s detriment, it was through the Apple App Store.

I drink a Cold Brew every day. I hate hot coffee. And this caffeine delivery system is a late addition to my ever-lengthening list of health hacks. I’m not a late bloomer, but a late roaster. And I’m not such a noob that I think I’ve found the best coffee in the world. Far from it. I’ve found several that are much more flavorful. I keep buying Starbucks because of the experience. Before the Rona, when I used Starbucks as my office away from home office, it was perfect. Individual tables. Some human oriented hustle and bustle. Pleasant tunes (I Shazam-ed several additions to my playlists) when I wasn’t using my headphones. The drink is anchored to the experience.

Again, not me. I don’t show up on film. Photo courtesy of Omar Lopez.

The Cold Brew itself vacillates in flavor between refreshing with hints of cocoa to tasting like it’s from a puddle found in the middle of a horse trail after a forest fire. It’s mostly the former. But I know every time I visit my Happy Place on the Corner (across from the Other One on the Other Corner), I’m going to get my order the way I want it. (It could be due to the fact I’ve grown into a Starbucks celebrity as far as my family is concerned. Everyone there knows my name. I’m my own Norm from Cheers.)

Not only is their product pretty tasty, dependable and a known quantity wherever I go, (I searched Paris high and low for a Cold Brew until I found one in a train station) but ordering online is a breeze. Simple. Intuitive. (Say about eighty percent on a scale of one hundred percent.) And it rewards me with free drinks every now and then. Starbucks Mobile App provides an online experience that matches my physical experience. It knows what I like. Let’s me customize it anyway I want. And I can order ahead and just run in and pick it up. A brand fulfilled by their UX.

Starbucks Mobile. They like me. They really like me.

But not all UX is screens, pixels and user flows. UX as a discipline, occurs anytime a user interacts with a product. Like how a Method bottle of glass cleaner with a bent straw allows the user to spray one hundred percent of the contents. Or how Warby Parker eyeglass frames have never needed tightening in their three years of service, helping me see those precocious children I avoid running over. In my BMW.

German efficiency. When wet. Photo courtesy of Pablo Martinez.

BMW. The Ultimate Driving Machine. They’ve had that tagline since the eighties when the drivers all wore loafers without socks, pastel t-shirts with linen suits and were either speeding off to meet or speeding back from meeting their coke dealer. A tagline that’s simple. Effective. If taglines could perfectly manifest German engineering, this would be it. I’m not going to fawn over the website. Mainly because I don’t want to buy a car online. In this one respect, I’m a terrible luddite.

I want to sit in one. Sit in that perfectly contoured bucket seat with that adjustable extension that takes all the strain off the hamstrings. I want to see that beautiful, old-school analogue speedometer as it rounds past thirty, fifty, eighty miles per hour. In a school zone. Where lots of precocious children dot the asphalt like so many weevils.

I’m going much faster than it looks. Photo courtesy of Sahil Patel.

And this is where the BMW’s UX is unmatchable — the feel for the road. Every raised fleck of granite. Every pothole. The tires are just extensions of me. I feel every groove of the road within every groove of my body. We are one. There are no G-Forces as I jerk that wonderfully thick, leather-bound steering wheel to the left, narrowly avoiding the Schaff’s Kid. Or is it the Millieux’s? Does it matter? All I know is every trip to Sprouts is an adventure.

Schnell.

Throughout the years, other auto challengers have come and gone. And many have upped the ante in the additional creature comforts. None of them has matched the driving experience of this brand. And this brand has always fulfilled its promise: a machine for drivers who love driving.

So how about your business; your product; your widget? How do your users feel? Satisfied like me when experiencing these brands or like those shoppers who curse superlatives while on Target.com because they can’t find what they want? Ensure your UX closes that last mile between your marketing efforts and the customers’ satisfaction.

As a UX Storyteller, it’s my pleasure to help you fill in that gap. To help you invest wisely in your company’s most important asset. Next to people. And I’m not talking about the Kurig in your break room. I’m talking about your promise. Your brand.

Utilizing an iterative UX tool set that includes research and design, I can determine if your online presence is fulfilling your customers’ needs. And if it isn’t, I can fix it. For a price. Email me. I’m a co-founder at Studio821.

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Cary Dicristina

Constantly side-hustling and cross-polinating as a UX Designer, Filmmaker and Co-founder Stuio821. Feel free to email me at caryscript@gmail.com