Designing Digital Brand Experiences for Successful Local Businesses

How to unleash the full potential of your brand and move beyond the customer journey

Armantas Zvirgzdas
The Startup


Photo by Zen Chung from Pexels

During times of unforeseen circumstances of lockdown, solopreneurs and small local businesses need to survive. There is nothing more unique and worth saving than the local businesses and brands.

Besides, this type of business is vital to our economy. According to Harvard Business Review, small local businesses across the U.S. alone employ 58.9 million people or about 47.5% of the total private-sector workforce. Additionally, that converts into trillions of US dollars in GDP contribution, which small businesses make each year.

Building personal brand
Everyone in business has a unique personal brand, whether they know it or not. Building a successful online presence right now is important as never before.

A strong online presence allows brands and companies to gain credibility that is crucial to attracting more customers. Unfortunately, being online is not enough for brands to stick into the minds of the customers. Traditional techniques used in selling products such as the customer experience (CX) alongside with customer journey mostly consider the purchase cycle and user interactions with all channels of the brand including a physical store, website, or app. Nonetheless, Brand Experience has to do more with emotional appeal and persuasion techniques, which is better at driving customers’ buying decisions.

That’s why you are not in the business of simply building your brand assets. Ultimately, you are in the business of human persuasion.

Illustration showing BX (Brand Experience) in relation to CX, UX, and website usability
Illustration showing BX (Brand Experience) in relation to CX, UX, and website usability

Brand and persuasion

There are many principles of brand persuasion and factors such as word-of-mouth spread to the impact of the social environment on people’s behavior which helps to persuade.

Brands shape people’s attitudes, beliefs, and feelings towards the products, services. That is why companies are connecting and engaging with customers using powerful force, which is called the art of persuasion.

How your brand can persuade

Building an online brand presence is a challenging job. Buying ads on socials, networking, delivering and producing content, which sells. This is overwhelming when you also have to do your day-to-day work for clients at the same time.

There’s a good article about things to do when client work is slow. I want to share it because during hard times people tend to have doubts and questions about their chosen path, especially if it’s freelancing or solopreneurship.

So how can you make your brand more persuasive? What are the ingredients to this secret source to building a strong Brand Experience and getting more eyeballs on your website or app? Here are some tips for you to try out:

Position yourself or your business: You care how others see you. It’s human nature. When you buy a product or service, you put yourself in the market by positioning yourself to the segment of the predefined product market categories, here are some examples:

  • Rational — Ikea, Toyota, Samsung
  • Luxurious — Louis Vuitton, Bentley, Rolex
  • Creative — Lego, Apple, Wacom

And still many consumers who buy luxury goods are not in a financial position to be able to afford luxury goods. This fact suggests, that most people buy products not in a rational state and not acting in a way that is best for their financial situation. And no matter what, there will always be such brands, that will help to form a personal identity and to nurture it.

Be consistent: Your brand should constantly broadcast its message through various media channels. If it’s not consistent, it can be easily forgotten. Brand name, logo, slogan, and domain name should be short, unique, and memorable. It’s not just about producing the product itself, it’s making things around the brand consistent as well. This consistency is often maintained by brand slogans, no surprise they are so easy to recognize.

Famous brand slogans
Famous brand slogans

The importance of consistency is perfectly summed up by the words of the writer Robert J. Collier.

Success is the sum of small, day-to-day repetitive efforts. — Robert J. Collier

Find the why: Communicating clearly, specifically your true business purpose of existing, helps to establish yourself in the minds of the customers. In the book Start With Why Simon Sinek states that it is enough to refine the vision, mission, and values. The most important thing according to the author is to find out the reason why a brand exists, because:

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” — Simon Sinek

In other words, the WHY is the purpose because it injects passion into your daily work. If you discover the WHY, it will be your path to customer trust and brand loyalty.

Appeal to strong emotions: Businesses should create content that appeals to strong feelings such as joy, fear, or anger. Providing relevant emotional value, people tend to recommend the brand to others. These are some of the famous ads, which I hope will inspire you to look for emotional attributes in your business.

  • Dove, “Real Beauty Sketches: You’re More Beautiful Than You Think”. 70 million views on Youtube. The message of this ad for women is that you are much more beautiful than you think about yourself. The advertisement reveals two sketches drawn by the artist for each woman for comparison, which sheds some project participants to tears. The first portrait depicts a sketch of how a woman critically imagines herself. In the second, a beautiful portrait of the same woman, depicted by a man unknown to the artist. The mismatch between imagination and reality, especially when it comes to such a personal thing as appearance, evokes strong emotions.
  • Volvo Trucks, “The Epic Split Featuring Van Damme”. Over 100 million views on Youtube. This ad successfully conveys product benefits through powerful emotion. The authors of this ad wanted experienced truck drivers to be amazed by the precision of the driving. Other viewers at the same time were amazed by the spectacular demonstration.
  • Always, “Like a Girl”. 70 million views on Youtube featuring the main message: Rewriting the rules. This ad is aimed against insulting girls and pays attention to how certain words can have results on a girl’s self-confidence and self-esteem. This social ad creatively shows that doing things #LikeAGirl is an awesome thing.

Tell stories: People love hearing stories. Some real-life stories are so strong that successful biographical films are made about them. A story about a fight between two Dassler brothers is a great example. After the division of the business, these brothers become fierce competitors, striving to produce the best sports shoes.

The “ring” of the brothers’ competition includes the Olympic Games and various world sports events. During the events of this long life competition, the brothers do not talk to each other for 40 years. You’ve probably heard this dramatic story of two well-known brands Adidas and Puma. Have you considered making your brand story?

Aim for publicity: Brand publicity can help to make your brand stronger. Sometimes it may though it may misalign with the desired usability of the product. Walter Isaacson’s in his book about Steve Jobs describes an incident when Steve came to talk to design staff about the logo on a Macbook laptop. When the Macbook screen was open, the logo was oriented upside down from how it is positioned now. The designers said this is because the user would know which side to turn the computer before turning it on.

The next time, you will consider how your product looks in public, try to better expose its unique attributes such as brand placement.

The Apple logo was once ‘upside down’ — Screenshot from Sex and the City
The Apple logo was once ‘upside-down’ — Screenshot from Sex and the City

Create practical value: You probably do so. Nevertheless, I would like to remind, that it’s always a good idea to look for additional values. Here are some good strategies for how you can create additional value for your customers. These include making motivational programs, using loyalty programs, sharing valuable content, asking for feedback, or personalization of the product offerings.

The bottom line
Even though the pandemic touched so many people around the globe, with the help of certain methods it’s possible to harness the potential of your small business. Yet communicating the values you truly believe on the daily basis for people you care about, should be one of your core strategies.

Do you have some tips or know some articles you want to share with solopreneurs or small businesses? I invite you to leave any valuable information in the comments section down below.

Thanks for reading my article! Let’s connect and get to know each other on my Website, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram.