Strategy, Brand and UX for SMEs and Civic Organizations in 2019
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2017 was a year that delivered big on surprises. Trump completed his first year as president of the US of A.
There were elections held here in Kenya with a nullification and a rerun of the presidential race. The adverse effects were prolonged, affecting the business environment.
2018 was a year where technology continued to drop jaws. From the Google Assistant demo that took the use of AI to new levels to AWS surging ahead of the cloud competition, the future is definitely “cloudy”.
In Kenya the year was about dusting oneself off, as the clouds raised by the elections settled down to the usual Kenyan rhythm and sounds.
Over this period, Afroshok has been offering expertise in design, print, video production and web development to a broad range of clients. As we kept one eye on events happening in the technology, content and communication scenes, we found we were increasingly serving clients that fell roughly into two groups.
Small and medium enterprises seek to sell products and services. SMEs, especially those coming into “tech” as they seek to grow their business, are having a hard time adjusting to the complexity of being online, whether on the web or on mobile. The digital modes of access and cultures are changing and are in themselves being informed, influenced and sold through rapidly changing tech applications and platforms.
We found ourselves involved more in business and brand strategy. One of the things that became apparent, for our clients, was the growing perception and appreciation of market positioning. One client we had this year was Kesho Technology Consulting (brand identity above). From a corporate perspective, this is framed as branding. How does the user, whether client, partner and staff “feel” about a service or product? How is that brand “touch” reinforced into a cumulatively favourable perception of other associated products or services that the company sells? Is there a growth in trust in the company offering the product or service? How is this captured by the brand? Is the brand in line with the customer or user experience?
In other schools of thought, a company exists to create and maintain a good User Experience (UX) around its products and services because this translates to sales and thus, profits. Looking at branding from a user's perspective, the experience as the user moves from each stage of the product or service is increasingly becoming important. Is the product or service easy to use quickly or must you read the instructions to get going? Is there delight embedded in the use to create a memorable experience? How does the user “feel” after using the product or service? Will they recommend it to others?
Corporate branding and UX merge if the product and corporate have a “monolithic” brand. A company like Coca Cola or Facebook come to mind, where the product and the company have the same brand identity.
But a lot of people do not realise that to get corporate brand love like Apple, you must continuously embed delight into your product to get the iPhone level of loyalty. So Branding and User Experience have become different sides of the same corporate coin.
Client: Dokeza Platform
In 2017, as part of a consortia known as Red Afro Limited, we developed a platform for Mzalendo Trust known as Dokeza. We were involved in the brand development and the UX for the platform. Dokeza is a Swahili word for ‘Share your Idea’ or “give a report”. The platform was set up to facilitate public participation in the legislative bill making process during the window of time accorded to the public by the Kenyan Parliament. Later this year (2018) we were involved in a redesign of the UI allowing for a better appreciation of the legislative bill making process and be able to track a bill of interest. Work continues as we flesh out all the areas needed to deliver a world class experience.
For community facing organisations, our drive is to understand our client’s “client” sufficiently enough in order to create a product of service that meets the needs of this user. In many cases, the user of the service or product does not care what technology is used. The answer to the questions asked around the problem is whether the solution meets the needs.
From a brand perspective, corporate organisations sell a product or service whose overall direction resides in the company. Civic organisations create products that meet the needs of the target demographic and whose direction is dictated by the “clients”. This nuance in branding becomes very important when discussing the strategy and the business.
The one interesting thing about offering solutions that make use of digital technology is the way we intersect with people from various industries. That means we must deliver better branding and UX to our clients, that is aligned with the business goals of our client.
One of the areas we believe we will offer value to our web apps and platform clients is in focusing on frontend web and mobile design and development that will deliver attractive User interface design that offers low friction during interaction as well as delight, delivered through animation. We major in ReactJS for frontend web development and are seeking to use React Native for mobile development.
So if you are a small or medium enterprise or a civic organisation and you would like to hit the ground running, we can work together to develop your Brand and the User Experience and execute them on platform and content development.
Looking forward to 2019 already!
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