Ever wonder why most digital interactions fail to engage users? In part, it’s because users can’t easily decipher who they’re dealing with. Instead of actively developing unique experiences that support how they want their brands to be perceived, companies chase features and functions that others have implemented. At best, the result is bland cookie-cutter experiences that leave users uninspired. At worst, brands can seem downright schizophrenic to users who get unpredictable experiences as they move from channel to channel.

It’s not easy to create a strong emotional bond through an interface because it’s difficult for users to see the people behind digital interaction points. Instead, they see a mere screen or a system. But people are far more predisposed to creating connections with other people than they are with an interface. That’s why firms need to pay attention to the brand personality they’re trying to convey and make their digital experiences feel more human. Of course, the solution isn’t just to plaster your website with happy faces or buzzwords. Instead, firms can take a more systematic approach and follow the principles of Forrester’s Emotional Experience Design framework. Here are a couple of ways for firms to establish brand personality:

  • Match visual designs across channels so that users can easily recognize the brand as they cross interaction points.
  • Keep in sync with the brand attributes that they want people to associate with them by creating content that conveys brand messages and by crafting the right voice to further convey those messages. 
  • Adopt a human tone that lands in the right place in between robotic, just-the-facts approaches and overdone marketing speak that comes off as fake.

If brands want to create emotional connections with their customers, they don’t need to seek out brands and merely copy what they do. Instead, brands need to look inside themselves to uncover what makes them unique and then design interactions that accentuate that uniqueness. They also need to focus more on the “who” and the “how” of their interactions — i.e., their target customers and the brand expression — not just on the “what” and “where” of message and channel. 

In the end, brands succeed because they create a coherent, recognizable personality that's elegantly woven into all of their experiences. This, of course, requires a plan of attack and a workforce that can serve as a curator of your brand. If you’d like to know more, I’d encourage you to read my report, “Mastering Emotional Experience Design: Develop A Coherent Personality.”