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  • Writer's pictureNeuron

How to Merge Branding and UX to Drive B2B Product Success

Updated: 1 day ago

Discover how a cohesive brand and user experience can elevate your product above the competition.


An illustration of a man running through a door with a question mark to represent UX research

The B2B SaaS product market is crowded and competitive, which makes it challenging for a business to stand out. So, what can you do to set yourself apart?


The answer is to develop a strong brand that delivers an exceptional user experience.


In today’s digital age, brand-building is all about creating holistic experiences that seamlessly combine physical and digital touchpoints to offer immersive and cohesive experiences that engage customers at every stage of their journey.


But don’t overlook the role of user experience in shaping brand sentiment. Positive first experiences can foster goodwill from the start, while hard-to-use software can frustrate users and tarnish their perception of your brand.


It’s worth the effort to develop a reputable, quality brand; customers perceive trustworthy brands to be worth more, which opens up opportunities for premium pricing.


Brand vs. Branding

A brand is more than a logo or a tagline; it’s how a business creates its own identity that stands apart from its competitors and helps customers perceive it in the right way. 


A brand is developed over time. It’s the culmination of several factors, including its positioning, brand identity, reputation, and customer relationships, amongst much more. 


It’s different from branding, which describes how a brand is built and managed in order to control the presentation of a brand identity.


Google icons for its Workspace tools, including Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Meet, and more.
Thanks to its strong visual identity, you don’t need to see the logo to know these icons are for Google products. (Source: Google)

Brand and user experience are intertwined

Any time a customer (or prospect) engages with your business, they develop their own opinion of your brand. 


In the digital world, there are countless places this could happen. They might read your email marketing, see a social media post, notice a retargeting advert, or sign up for a free trial. If every touchpoint looks and feels like your brand, it helps customers spot your business more quickly and build brand recognition. 


The three things that help establish a strong brand

To create a solid brand, you’ll need the following:

  • A brand visual identity. Design assets such as a logo, brand colors, typography, and graphic style can work together to create a clear visual identity that users will learn to associate with your brand.

  • A brand tone of voice. The language your brand uses to communicate with users demonstrates its personality and influences how it's perceived. 

  • Brand behaviors. How your brand behaves at every interaction will impact what people think of your business. It’s often felt most strongly when people interact with customer service departments, but it includes pursuing innovation, building reliable products, prioritizing sustainability, and beyond.  


Consistency is key

Users only start to recognize that these elements relate to a particular brand if they’re used consistently. 


A brand guidelines document and design system help regulate this. It will specify which situation calls for a specific logo variation, what typography to use on your website, digital advertising, or print materials, which visual style to use, when to employ certain tones of voice, and more. 


Having this documented helps everyone in the business to ensure they’re aligned and stay on-brand.


UX becomes a brand differentiator 

When operating in a competitive market that’s overcrowded with similar SaaS solutions, user experience becomes a key differentiating factor.


Understand that UX means meeting customer needs

“The first requirement for an exemplary user experience is to meet the exact needs of the customer, without fuss or bother,” explained The Nielsen Norman Group. According to their definition, UX is more than giving users what they say they want; it’s a broad concept that works towards producing products that are a joy to use.


When we consider UX, we think about “any interaction a consumer has with a branded product or service.”


For B2B products, this also means making products that positively impact your users' work.  


This kind of focus is how Slack became the fastest-growing business app of all time. Its free version allowed users to enjoy its product and experience its unparalleled UX. It was so popular that word-of-mouth recommendations got Slack to 285,000 daily active users within its first year. 


A screenshot of Slack showing how a business can use the tool for improved communication and collaboration.
An example of how a typical business can use Slack to improve internal communication and collaboration. (Source: Slack)

How branding and UX support Google's B2B success 

The Google brand is one of the most recognizable in the world. It established its authority with a groundbreaking search engine that offered a superior user experience over two decades ago and has applied the same strategy to its other tools ever since. 


By making UX a part of its brand ethos, Google has seen great success in the B2B SaaS space. 


Google Workspace is used by more than 9 million paying businesses. Despite offering vastly different tools, they’re all instantly recognizable as belonging to the Google ecosystem because they adhere to the same visual style through consistent branding. They also share similarities in how they work, creating a simple and cohesive user interface (UI). 


Concentrating on user experience has made Google Workspace an essential B2B software for many companies. For example, the simple UI reduces the learning curve for new users, it fosters collaboration between colleagues with easy sharing options and features like real-time editing or video conferencing, and its tools are accessible to everyone. 



Solve unmet user needs to stand out

One way to offer exceptional user experience is to provide a solution for unmet user needs. Going above and beyond what’s already offered, or finding a point of friction that’s been overlooked by your competitors, can help your brand emerge from the pack.


There are many examples of B2C companies using UX as a brand differentiator in highly competitive verticals. Airbnb, for example, placed a huge emphasis on building trust between hosts and guests to counter security concerns.


Its user-friendly platform has features like identity verification, reviews, secure payment processing, and transparent messaging. Not only does this help alleviate those safety concerns, but it also encourages hosts and guests to be on their best behavior in order to earn 5-star reviews. 


A screenshot of the improved ratings and reviews section of the Airbnb app.
Airbnb’s 2023 Winter Release included improved ratings and reviews. (Source: Airbnb)

B2B product examples of using UX and branding to stand out

In the B2B space, blending branding and UX could mean launching the most user-friendly tool and developing a reputation as a straightforward company or providing the most efficient solution and growing your fame as a brand that helps people to be more productive. 


Zoom makes it easy to join calls

During the pandemic, Zoom overtook Skype to become the most popular free video conferencing tool, partly because it allowed users to join calls effortlessly. There was no requirement to download software or create an account to join calls, which meant new users could easily experience reliable and high-quality video calls. 


Hootsuite offers stand-out features 

There’s a plethora of social media management tools available, but Hootsuite is consistently one of the most recommended solutions, despite also being one of the most expensive. By offering a one-stop shop, Hootsuite helps social media marketers juggle a variety of platforms with just one solution. 


Its exceptional user experience is enhanced by its impressive analytics that help users report on performance and benchmark against competitors. 


Paycom prioritizes employee experience 

Human capital management SaaS Paycom sets itself apart by offering a single, unified platform for payroll, human resources, talent, time, and labor management. The clean, intuitive UI is easy to use and empowers employees to perform tasks without having to rely on HR professionals. 


Users can personalize their dashboards and preferences to easily access the best tools, while Paycom automates various tasks like payroll calculations and time tracking and offers comprehensive reports and analytics. In addition to attracting positive reviews, it has also won awards for its UX design. 


Paycom is responsive and works seamlessly across different devices.
Paycom is responsive, which means it offers a good user experience across all devices. (Source: Paycom)

How can you fuse branding and UX?

To keep pace with the ever-evolving digital brands of today, it’s important that you fixate on two things: consistent branding and prioritized user experience. You need to think about how you can offer brand experiences that integrate the online and offline worlds and create a seamless user experience. 


But you don’t have to do this alone. By partnering with a UX/UI specialist, you’ll be able to tap into their expertise and solve even the most complex of user experience challenges. Get in touch with Neuron to discover how we can help you surpass your competitors with enhanced UX so that you can stand out in a crowded B2B market.


 

Neuron is a San Francisco-based UX/UI consultancy that creates best-in-class digital experiences to help businesses succeed in today’s digital world. Learn more about our services and explore our work.

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