F Word 1: Fearless

Accepting failure is the first step in being rebellious.

September 21, 2020

During my month off from writing, I wrestled with the concept of rebellion. There is a vision in my head of what a rebellious brand looks like, but it's hard to detail. Naturally, it seemed smart to try and breakdown the term into sizable chunks that could be combined into something more concrete. I landed on three "F-Words," starting with Fearless.

Understanding what it means to be fearless starts with defining fear. Cue Webster:

/ˈfir/ an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

In other words, fear is the looming awareness that things could go wrong. Unfortunately, our bodies can't help but be on the lookout for such threats because it is in our best interest to avoid pain. It's a primal function that enabled us to avoid meeting our doom at the jaws of sabretooth tigers and other adversaries hellbent on ending our existence. If that's the case, why is it so important for a rebellious brand to be fearless?

Cue Webster (again):

\ˈfir-ləs\ free from fear

In this instance, fear becomes a captor. A crushing slave merchant. Fear puts one in a cage and limits their potential.

Rebellion is anything but conventional or expected. It is a venture into the unknown and experimenting with what could be. A trip into chaos. To be fearless is to break free from the part of your lizard brain that tells you "this may be a bad idea, you might fail, you might get made fun of, people might reject you."

It is to liberate oneself from the chains of uncertainty. To understand that novelty, creativity, and change are found through a trial in the unknown. Most importantly, it is accepting that failure is necessary and to be expected in the search for greatness.

Rebels are not slaves to fear, they are free.

More you say?

Rebellion is Contextual

Why you cannot simply focus on your startup to stand out.

4.17.2020

There's a two-fold mission to this statement: one part applies to your startup's value proposition/unique selling proposition and the other pertains to the brand (how your startup makes people feel).

In short, you must know what is out there so you can create something that stands out. Let's break it down using the categories listed above.

Value Proposition/USP
Most startups will resort to "lowest price" on this point, but we can do better than that. Instead, ask yourself what are the alternatives to your product and what do they lack that your customers need? Sometimes it's as simple as a better interface or a different distribution method (i.e. Dollar Shave Club going subscription for razor blades). This should indicate what the big selling point of your product is or at least inform you of what is lacking within your competitors. From there, you can adjust your messaging to hit on the specific pain point your customers are looking to ease.

Branding
No two companies are alike in nature. Not even if they are in the same industry. Guaranteed, there are cultural nuances and quirks within every company that make them unique and special. Frankly, most of them hide it behind a professional demeanor and an unwillingness to be human. So, your goal is to assess your competitors personalities and find a void to fill. If the majority of them come off as stoic and cold, you have an opportunity to be friendly and vulnerable. Granted, you have to know yourself, since you can't put on a false identity in the hopes of attracting people.

These two bits of research can inform almost every decision your company should make in marketing itself. They give you the reason people should buy your product and why they won't forget you.

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Dashlane UX | Software Branding

The things Dashlane does to build trust, loyalty, and delight users.

1.18.2020

This is part of a 5-piece case study on Dashlane. Be sure to check out the previous pieces and stay tuned for what's next.

Part I

Part II

Part III

Let's set the record straight, UX is almost always confined to the digital space. I'd disagree with putting a box around it since experiences come in all mediums and formats. As such, it's important to take a look at the User Experience from a holistic stand point, especially with digital products and software. Why? Because the more methods you have in foster trust and loyalty, the better. A billboard, an email, a poster, a website, and the product must ALL cohere.

I'll touch more on what could be done better about Dashlane's overall user experience in my next piece and focus on their product for now.

In case you missed it, Dashlane is an internet security tool riding their flagship password manager application. Some things to keep in mind is that Dashlane has positioned themselves as a premium brand within this space, since most of their competition seeks to be known as more affordable.

In light of their position and the emotions they are seeking to evoke, Dashlane built a gorgeous product. It's as if they teamed up with an artisan seamstress who finely knit together a digital application out of codified silk. Everything feels smooth and fluid.

Both the desktop and mobile app feel seamlessly integrated and carry over the same design language effortlessly. Even when you input an incorrect password, the actions taken to inform you are starkly human. Literally shaking it's head "no."

In the spirit of making internet security simple and elegant, Dashlane's interface is highly intuitive. Presenting you first with a list of recent passwords and other precious info in your home screen and then providing the most useful screens int he thumb-enticing lower navigation (Vault, Contacts, Tools, and Settings). It's so simple it's stupid. Everything their user needs is a click away and the options provided are useful, especially in their tools screen.

Some overarching notes: there isn't a whole lot of typing done throughout the experience unless absolutely necessary (i.e. entering your master password or searching for a particular item in the Vault). Most of the actions are done with clicks or switching toggles, making it easy to sprint past password fields.

Even more impressive is their browser extension that auto-fills forms and helps generate strong passwords with a click.

The peace of mind given from not having to remember these passwords and going through the painstaking process of retrieving them is a game changer. Dashlane's product 100% lives up to the name, you enter the Dashlane of logins.

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