Is the Opposite True?

A litmus test for the selling points and features of your startup.

April 20, 2020

What is the opposite of having great customer service?

It's not a trick question, the answer is shitty customer service.

What is the opposite of having the best products and the best prices?

Having the worst products and the worst prices.

You see, the flaw in baseless superlatives like "best products," or "great customer service," is that they don't help a startup sell product because it's expected. Think about it, what company doesn't want to have the best product or the best service? None of them, the same way none of them want to have terrible customer service. If the opposite of the claim is not also a unique selling point, then it's not unique.

For example, tech startups jump to "easy to use" as another feature. Since "hard to use" is not a selling point, neither is "easy to use." It's expected. Now, what makes the product easy to use is a unique selling point. Webflow, the tool I use to build websites, has a drag and drop interface built for designers who usually work in Adobe Creative Suite, that is the feature that makes the product easy to use. They also have a customer support team filled with designers and developers who can answer technical questions, that is the feature that makes their customer service great.

If you are going to rattle off a list of features and selling points to investors or customers, ask yourself if the opposite of this is also true. If it's not, you have a baseless claim.

More you say?

Branding and Marketing

Branding, so you do marketing, right?

1.23.2020

Branding and marketing appear inextricable. At least that's what thousands of handshakes and responses to "I build rebellious brands," has let me know. So let's set the record straight.

Branding expert Marty Neumeier phrases it, "marketing is any effort to get customers, branding is any effort to keep them." Or, branding is the emotional glue that makes someone prefer your business after you've shown that you can meet their needs.

It's kinda like this, any guy can draw the attention of a woman by showing that he is, in fact, a man (assuming she's looking for one). However, it's not the size of his muscles, the amount of money in his wallet, or the car he drives that creates a lasting impression. It's his character and the fact that his character doesn't waver. He markets his features, but wins the heart by triggering emotions. Without them, he's a commodity.

Here is when marketing and branding enter into conflict:

When marketing efforts get pushy/spammy without emotionally priming the customer. 

Good marketing doesn't feel like marketing. An example of this is when you get an email from a company you love and happily open it. Without a doubt, the opposite happens too. you know, those emails you get that let you know this company is looking to get into your wallet. At that point, it's clear that the brand has been tarnished. Good luck getting your reputation back.

When the brand is not placed in front of the right people. 

It's no surprise that the creative side has trouble putting things out there. The most well-thought-out and cohesive brand is worth nothing if no one sees it. Good marketing puts the brand out in the open to the right people, at the right time, and with the right message. Remember, good marketing doesn't feel like marketing.

You need both and they need to work together.

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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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