Let's start with a simple example of how a weak or inconstant brand can hurt the user experience. You buy a product and the packaging design is different from the manual design and the logo on the product doesn't match the logo on the box. Did you get the right instructions; is the product I bought old in a new box? No wants to feel unsure about a purchase, but branding inconsistencies can create doubt in your customers. Your logo, website, packaging, documentation, font, company personality, colors and much more all go into your brand. Having a strong brand communicates that your company is professional, organized and knows what it is doing. All of which give your customers piece of mind.
This particular trip it was my pleasure to stay in a Hard Rock Hotel. I've never stayed in one before always assuming it would be too expensive. This trip however it was a cheaper option than the nearby alternatives. As this was a business trip the hotel wasn't something I was particularly concerned with but upon arrival I was immediately taken by the interesting surroundings and friendly employees—it's fun to look around and see the music memorabilia. Once in my room I was struck by the consistency of one particular branding element. They use a tribal tattoo as a branding accent and it was everywhere, but it was subtle. The edge of a mirror, pattern on a towel, a custom ironing board cover, a bag that held an extra roll of toilet paper. You can see a bit of it on the Hard Rock Website on the bar at the bottom of the main images. There were other subtle branding elements everywhere. Classic Rock played in the lobby, elevators and even in the room when you entered it. The walls were covered in music memorabilia donated by different musicians and the other artwork was related to music in some way. Even the iron had a neon light around the base. They could have purchased cheaper irons but by going that extra step it added to the overall appeal of the brand.
It also became evident that the Hard Rock has a target market they were appealing to. High tech TV system, lots of black, simple clean designs, leather, the right brands of alcohol in the fridge, the attire of the female staff, the masculine fragrance of the shampoo and soap, this is a hotel for guys. Which isn't to say woman won't like it, I'm just saying this strong brand hit the mark and the mark is primarily men.
I had a great time and would stay in a Hard Rock again. Does a strong brand enhance the user experience? I'd have to say yes, in this case it did.