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Crafting a Magnetic Brand: Intersection of Business Strategy and User Experience


In the world of brand design, it's easy to get caught up in aesthetics—the right color palette, the perfect logo, the catchy tagline. However, true brand magnetism extends beyond cosmetics, digging deep into the strategic roots of a business, the discipline of holistic experience design and intertwining closely with user experience. In the age of transparency, where more parts of the business are visible to the public than ever before, internal and external need to be consistent, as integrity is paramount. Truly beautiful brand mechanics bring internal values that resonate with customers and stakeholders alike to desire to affiliate with and experience a brand. This article explores the critical intersection of business strategy and broader consideration of user experience in brand design, revealing why aligning business needs and goals with those of customers is not just beneficial but essential for enduring success, as an integrated and unified brand outperforms lipstick brands time and time again.

The Core of Brand Design: It's More Than Skin Deep

At its heart, brand design is no longer merely about creating something that looks good—it's about crafting an identity that resonates deeply with the business it represents and the users it serves. This integrated focus on business strategy and user experience can transform a brand from a superficial identity into a living, breathing entity that interacts dynamically with its market. This more realistic and holistic approach pisses off the business cosmetic industry, which has a storied history of putting one-dimensional lipstick on pigs, and trying to pass them off as beauty queens. No one is fooled anymore. A brand is a heck of a lot more than lipstick or a coat of paint. It requires consideration, reconciling components, bringing them together via a unifying identity. And it requires a higher degree of complex, cross-disciplinary skill to pull off.

Brands Are Experiential – So Ditch the Lipstick Approach And Deploy Experience Design

No one seems to have a problem with the concept that brands are inherently, and fundamentally experiential. However, as soon as you start talking about what that means, and the implications on process and methodology, entire industries shit their pants because the challenges expose weaknesses in skillset. So many businesses are still stuck on a two dimensional view of branding. They want to roll it out on a flat surface like a coat of paint (lipstick), and only talk about it in terms of art and message. There’s certainly more to the brand experience than that.

If you’re more interested in achieving goals, than lowering the bar, you’re going to want to deploy the lens of experience design. Heroik defines Experience Design as the art and science of shaping user interactions with defined touchpoints or goals, most often intermingled with products and services.

Simply put: developing a modern magnetic brand is more like developing a video game.

There are sights, sounds, textures, artifacts, tastes, needs, desires, journeys, and different types of users! There is also story, character, plot, tasks, mechanics, and business strategy to consider. Suddenly you see why the “flat branders” would prefer to keep brands flat, because it makes the job easier. When you look at it through the lens of experience design, suddenly the responsibilities increase, user needs become more complex, the needles that must be threaded become clear, and many of the foggy metrics fall away.

Yet this is true to the demands of the market, and developing a two dimensional brand in an omnidimensional world is like making a paper boat and expecting it to sail across the sea. It aint’ gonna happen and it’s  not a seaworthy vessel to begin with.

Bottom Line: Don’t Settle For Flat Branders. Get Yourself An Experience Designer.

Business Strategy as the Backbone

Business strategy acts as the backbone of effective brand design. It’s the framework that defines what a business stands for, its unique value proposition, and how it differentiates itself from competitors. Without a clear strategy, brand design risks becoming a directionless art project, potentially beautiful but lacking in purpose and effectiveness.

Defining the goals, objectives, success criteria, KPIs, and critical path to achieve them,  various user journeys that align, and psychological components in play can be overwhelming. In an ideal world, some other team can hand you an existing strategic roadmap. However, we don’t live in an ideal world. Oftentimes, downstream departments and teams, like marketing and design teams are ultimately tasked with fleshing out broad and often vague strategic direction, and translate into explicit implications and requirements, and reconcile them for feasibility. This invites a perfect opportunity to refine the strategy before trying to bring poorly thought ideas to life. However you get there, it’s important to develop all this strategic background to guide the effort forward.

A well-defined business strategy helps in:

  • Targeting the right audience: Knowing whom you’re talking to is essential. A strategy defines demographic and psychographic characteristics of the target market, which in turn guides the brand voice and aesthetics.
  • Aligning the culture of the organization and marketing: The products or services offered need to reflect the brand’s promise and culture of the organization. Marketing strategies should communicate this effectively to the customer.
  • Setting clear objectives: What does the business aim to achieve? Increased awareness, market penetration, customer loyalty? How is business conducted? By which governing principles and centered on which values? The brand must embody and promote these objectives.

User Experience as the Soul

Notice I said user, not customer. In the modern age of transparency and branding, where everyone has a voice (including your employees), there are multiple users of the brand. Though they use the brand in different ways for different purposes, the experiences and needs of customers, stakeholders, and partners alike need to be looked at across the board. This requires a greater deal of alignment and holistic understanding of the value and importance of a brand. It’s no longer just about business “cosmetics”, it is indeed closely tied to the culture, management, execution and quality of the organization as a whole. Focusing on user experience as the soul of the brand requires a much broader, multi-disciplinary skillset. The ability to create and apply lipstick and filters is no longer good enough to convince the market. A holistic user-centric approach, ensures that you’re looking at all users of the brand, their experiences and needs, and reconciling them in your approach to branding. This requires integrating sound business strategies.

While business strategy provides the structure & spirit, user experience offers the soul. It’s about how users interact with and feel about the brand across every touchpoint. This isn’t just about customer service; it involves every aspect of interaction with the brand, internally and externally, from how people inside experience the brand they help build and support, to the external customer experience of navigating a website to the ease of product use and beyond.

Focusing on user experience in brand design means:

  • Having a clear vision – Reflects internal and external forces, and a theory as to how to address them, as well as a clear understanding of the principles and values to bring people together to make it happen. In the age of transparency, the internal components are as important as external representations.
  • Understanding user needs and wants – Deeply understanding these elements can guide the visual and functional aspects of brand design, ensuring that they cater effectively to the target audience.
  • Creating emotional connections – Brands that resonate emotionally can command greater loyalty and advocacy. Design elements should evoke feelings aligned with the brand’s core values that reflect and align with the culture of the organization.
  • Ensuring consistency across channels – Consistent brand experience across all channels (including informal, internal channels) reinforces brand identity and builds trust with customers and stakeholders alike.

Bottom Line: There needs to be much to be liked by everyone involved in the brand.

Synergy – Where Strategy Meets Experience

When business strategy and user experience align, the synergy created can catapult a brand to new heights. This alignment ensures that every design element and brand interaction isn’t just beautiful or functional but is a cogent part of a cohesive whole, working towards strategic business goals while satisfying and delighting customers.

Practical Steps for Aligning Business Strategy and User Experience

1. Strategic Workshops and Audits – Regular sessions involving key stakeholders from across the business to align on goals, user insights, and market trends can ensure the brand remains strategically aligned and customer-focused while staying true to the core; the unifying identity of the organization as a whole.

2. User Journey Mapping – Visualizing the  various user journeys can help identify key touchpoints and opportunities for brand interaction, ensuring that these moments are designed to deliver maximum impact and alignment with business objectives. Consider journeys for key customer segments, channel partners, and stakeholders, and look for opportunities of alignment, shared needs and shared values.

3. Feedback Loops – Implementing systems to gather and analyze user feedback can provide ongoing insights into how well the brand experience meets their expectations and supports business objectives.

4. Iterative Design – Brand design should be viewed as an evolving process, with iterative refinements based on real-world interactions and business performance. This approach allows brands to stay dynamic and relevant.

Litmus Test: Do All Stakeholders Wear a Shirt With Your Logo On It And Feel A Bit More Like a Superhero?

  • Are the users proud to affiliate with your brand? Do they actually feel empowered by it?
  • Do customers and employees alike feel that their reputation is elevated by their connection to the brand?
  • Would they proudly wear that shirt with your logo on it, or would they only wear it as pajamas or when washing the car or working on it?
  • Is that shirt the first inline to be used as an expendable rag?

This is not the mere result of good graphic design. These are the true measures of brand value. And to be fair, some brands are designed to be proudly worn while getting dirty and doing things. The point is to consider how the users regard and associate the brand, and if that is the role and relationship you want with them.

Is the design team triggered? Good. This raises the bar for brand design. DTFW.

Everyone wants the fruits, but most are afraid to Do The Formidable Work (DTFW) to achieve them. However, the sooner you raise the bar and aim higher, and start facing the challenges involved, the sooner you can begin to reap the rewards.


In conclusion, the most magnetic and successful brands are those that achieve a deep integration of business strategy and broader sense of user experience and experience design into their design process. This integrated approach ensures that every aspect of the brand—from its visual identity to its employee and customer interactions—is rooted in a strategic foundation aimed at achieving business goals and fulfilling customer needs. The result is a brand that not only stands out in the marketplace but also stands firm on a foundation of strategic purpose and connection and advocacy among all users. Such brands are not just seen; they are felt, remembered, and preferred.

If you need help or want to develop your own world-class brand, reach out to Heroik. We can help you with that.

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