… or fostering teams for the Experiential Mindset.
Continued from Experience Driven Marketing
The thought of crafting the customer experience as a continuum from brand communication touchpoints, to marketing to actual product experience is not something the digital age invented. This has always been the hallmark of great brands that know how to take care of their customers.
The differences in the digital age are:
- How fast we can go from customer feedback to new product iterations and how fast customers expect these changes to occur
- The exponential growth of complexity and multiplicity of touchpoints with customers (internal and external)
- The level of customization and attention expected by individual customers
From my experience and looking at the last 10 years of evolution in Branding and Advertising, Product Design, User Experience Development, Interaction Design, Software Development, Persuasion Architecture and Online Marketing (including the emergence of social media) — there clearly is increasing momentum for a comprehensive practice and advocation of the Customer Experience. A holistic approach where practitioners of all of the aforementioned disciplines (and others I’ve left out) more closely collaborate.
This deeper level of collaboration between all these disciplines is what eventually I believe develops into the Experiential Mindset. Only if all these folks are brought to the table as eagles… I mean equals, instead of the old strategy>creative>production>execution pyramidal organizational model, do we really have a customer-centric experiential organization.
To use a concrete example, an interaction designer will see something the brand creatives have devised that will undermine the usability in such a way that the entire brand experience ends up suffering. In an Experiential Mindset organization, the ID would be able to intervene earlier in the process and help the creatives come up with a better solution. This seems perfectly common-sensical [sic] when down on paper, but I can’t keep count of the number of times this simple process has been ignored in the best of organizations.
Another example comes from the media planning and social media angle. People engaged at that level need to be able to have more influence on the earlier stages of the creative process as well.
How does an organization truly allow all these disciplines to influence strategy, rather than line them up in a production “assembly line” model?
The best approach is to create processes that demand such participation. Meaning, all of the responsible parties need to sign off on early briefs and architectural models. If not, your organization won’t do much more than pay lip service to the Experiential Mindset and continue to practice what it’s used to doing. There needs to be a deep process change that will affect a lot of the commonly accepted hierarchies. Not an easy task. In addition there needs to be sub-processes that allow for much faster adaptability once a program is launched. This is where brand frameworks may come into play. (More on that to come in an other post…)
Experiences do not happen as separate events tagging along an otherwise “strong” brand. They are the brand and they are in constant state of flux and as such deserve the extra attention required from many more angles than used to be. Otherwise there is no “strong” brand. So, in order to build the next great brands, let’s all team up and be eagles! … equals, that is…