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UCD14 Talk - Anish Joshi - A User's Narrative of Luxury

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Anish Joshi - A User's Narrative of Luxury

The talk will examine user centered design when it is practiced and utilised for branding in the luxury industry.

This may seem like a peculiar niche of design and industry to analyse, but it is luxury’s special nuances that make the user centric approach in this sector particularly twisting, fascinating and at times contradictory.

The talk will look at the components of luxury branding and how multiple touch-points through a user’s experience journey are used to tell a desired story (or multiple stories); and in the end how that user’s interpretation of these stories end up defining the user’s narrative experience as subjective, bespoke and fluid.

Backed with references to a variety of luxury brand’s strategies and a more in-depth case study into a luxury travel brand, the rationale of user centered design for luxury is exhibited as a real world, and real business performance.

Published in: Design
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UCD14 Talk - Anish Joshi - A User's Narrative of Luxury

  1. 1. A User’s Narrative of Luxury
  2. 2. w Anish Joshi ww.seren.com
  3. 3. Design Strategy for Brand & Business DESIGN STRATEGY USER-CENTRED THINKING USER-CENTRED THINKING BRAND
  4. 4. Full Brand Experience Service Design Digital 360 DEGREE KN OWLEDGE 3 DIFFERENT MEETINGS WITH USER NARRATIVE? Looking at a customer’s complete journey for Sandals & Beaches – luxury Caribbean resorts company For a new Barclays product - looking at the points where the product can or does interact with users, staff or other products and how at those nodes what are the user’s expectations and feelings. When creating personas to better understand the ‘characters’ for the narrative that the user goes through 1 2 3
  5. 5. Personas - to better understand the characters in our narrative Journey mapping - to better understand the process a person takes during their interaction with a brand or product QUICK LOOK AT NARRATIVE IN SERVICE DESIGN
  6. 6. Stories Beat Information Every Time. WHY NARRATIVE? Malcolm Gladwell journalist, author and speaker
  7. 7. Narrative is a vehicle that a brand can use to connect to people; an engaging thread that links the nodes of interaction. It flows both through and over brand experience trying to deliver a consistent captivating story; but narrative is like a rainbow – it is never the same – everyone sees it differently depending on where they stand and how they look at it. DEFINING USER NARRATIVE Anish Joshi
  8. 8. In the past the brand or product was the principal character, the ‘hero’ and the customer’s involvement with it was mostly concentrated at one point or instance. Everything revolved around it and a story, if there was one, was a very linear tale. These days with a move towards user centric design, it has lead to more characters being involved in the mix and a far less linear story. We should see modern day brand user narrative as more like the movies Inception, where the story does not necessarily play out chronologically and there are nested tales within tales - especially with such facets as social media, influencing the narrative landscape. DIVIDED & NON-LINEAR TALES
  9. 9. The luxury story is diff erent, sometimes fundamentally so for diff erent people. Arguably Luxury may in fact give rise to the greatest polarity in narrative. It means that a (luxury) brand can, and quite often does, tell 2 stories; One for those ‘ordinary’ people, and one to those ‘extraordinary’ ones. Luxury is the extraordinary for ordinary people and the ordinary for the extraordinary people DEFINING LUXURY The Luxury Strategy by Jean-Noël Kapferer & Vincent Bastien
  10. 10. So because luxury brand narrative has two goals – one to be sold to those High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) … and the other to purely build brand desirability (within those tiers of society that may not be able to aff ord it, but would still follow, crave and aspire to it) . This in fact means that luxury narrative displays duality. A example of this may be a brand like Porsche A TALE OF TWO STORIES
  11. 11. DISPELLING THE MYTHS HNWI absolutely desire VALUE. Luxury must be substantiated.
  12. 12. Every time that luxury is bought or sold, it damages the dream, the very ethos and essence of what it is. Luxury is what you can’t get. THE FUNDAMENTAL FLAW OF THE LUXURY NARRATIVE If a brands succeeds in telling their story well and a person comes along for full journey to sale, then they have damaged the essence of story and the brand.
  13. 13. HAS ONE SUCCEEDED? Perhaps it is its heritage and with a story steeped in both history and sport that afford it its place in luxury – and this is something that has not been eroded by the relatively lower price point.
  14. 14. A NOD TO THOSE IN THE KNOW Normally narratives are there for everyone to experience, but Luxury is subtle and is positioned for those ‘in-the- know’ - this is selective narrative.
  15. 15. THE LUXURY CLUB Luxury is about belonging to an exclusive club, but sometimes it isn’t the direct product that is the marker of this but the underlying privileges and services offered as in the case of Vertu phone’s concierge service.
  16. 16. What factors and strategies does luxury use to create value that need to be present when we design for the user’s luxury story? Exclusivity The idea that it is not the norm. It is not everywhere, it is rare. Only a certain amount of people can have it. This can of course be determined by price - if its too high only a privileged few can aff ord it, but it may also be by location or power or personal connections. e.g. The 7* Burj Al Arab hotel Quality There is an intrinsic feel to it, perhaps it has rare materials, or there is a special skill that is needed it its manufacture e.g. a Louis Vuitton bag Desire (waiting/time) The wait builds expectation. e.g. Ferrari. They could increase production, and defi nitely sell a lot more cars, but they purposely keep things so that there is an ordering system, and a waiting list, a hence a wait, and so a desire… THE COMPONENTS OF A LUXURY NARRATIVE
  17. 17. Creating a club – For those people ‘in-the-know’ luxury is about being part of a select group e.g. The East India Club Trust It is about having something you can trust and a company that you can trust in absolutely e.g. Rolex Creativity and design Originality in terms of creativity may make something desirable e.g. Apple or Dyson. THE COMPONENTS OF A LUXURY NARRATIVE CONT...
  18. 18. Craft & Art Sometimes just sheer beauty shows that it is special, perhaps even a one-off , never to be replicated, perhaps even priceless? e.g. Fabergé Eggs or works of art Originality Something that is just new, diff erent, that no-one else has or has thought about or done. e.g. Virgin Galactic Technology That allows users to do something that others can’t, or it may even make them part of an exclusive early adopter’s club. e.g. Bang & Olufsen or Bose Heritage You can’t buy history or time. If you’ve lasted many years it because you have tradition, quality, and a certain STORY. e.g. Hermes – who are always keen to express their origins THE COMPONENTS OF A LUXURY NARRATIVE CONT...
  19. 19. ‘Meritage’ Sometimes when don’t have history, its what you’ve done, your story through merit, that is the point itself. e.g. Ralph Lauren is built on making it through the American dream. Philanthropy Luxury is about giving. Despite prejudices, the wealthy do give a signifi cant amount. This giving is something that is embedded in luxury in a holistic sense. e.g. Bill Gates Green/environmental credentials Perhaps the newest facet of luxury. Luxury is about being responsible. It is about doing the right thing. A Toyota Prius is an interesting example – Toyota in itself isn’t a luxury brand, and there is nothing expensive about a Prius, yet a signifi cant amount of HNWI buy one. Similarly, high end coff ee or chocolate; it will most likely be ethically sourced as well as being of the fi nest grades. e.g. Green & Blacks chocolate, or better. THE COMPONENTS OF A LUXURY NARRATIVE CONT...
  20. 20. THE COMPONENTS OF A LUXURY NARRATIVE - SERVICE Service The considered nature of the interaction(s). For example ‘Haute Joaillerie’. Now for items such as these, the customer does not have to go to the shop, the ‘shop’ comes to them. In that several individual items are brought to their place of choice at their convenience. But how is this done? With subtly, panache... and security following discretely.
  21. 21. You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation ANOTHER CURVED BALL - THE NEVER ENDING STORY Originally products/brands had no story, then it became the duration of the user’s journey with the product - but it was fi nite. Patek Philippe however pushes the narrative length of the story to the individual, and not the product – and further in fact… extending to the customer’s children (… and their children e.t.c.) The story is a never rending one.
  22. 22. Privacy - People want their own beach not another deck chair 2 feet away Time - this is now seen as the greatest of luxuries – anything that can give you time or make your time well spent is priceless (HNWI are time starved) Explore/adventure - that sense of exploration Products - the rooms, furniture, the plunge pools and exclusive bar drinks e.t.c. Service - what the staff give, how they act, their kindness, their planning... Authenticity - people want a real holiday, to really experience where they go Culture - the thing that makes that place, that place, that makes it special People - to meet interesting people in that location Nature - to appreciate nature and not the artificial In luxury travel there is a much more definite journey that we can all relate to, and a journey within a story. There some other additional components to this luxury narrative though: THE LUXURY TRAVEL STORY
  23. 23. word of mouth social media print advertising TV Web - information Web e-commerce Call centre Tour operators Air carrier Arrival Transfer Greeting Room Service Amenities Check out Travel back Get back – talk about it Return Email friends People they meet, excursions they go on A TYPICAL SANDALS JOURNEY
  24. 24. LUXURY INCLUDED foR two pEopLE IN LovE LUXURY INCLUDED IN YoUR CaRIbbEaN paRaDIsE j amaica antigua st.lucia bahamas For more inFormation or to book, contact your local travel agent, call 0800 742 742 or visit www.sandals.co.uk COMPARING NARRATIVES A B
  25. 25. This new luxury narrative meant people aff orded that the product was indeed luxury. Normally the product does not live up to the brand promise, but here the issue was reversed. NEW LUXURY ACCESSIBLE LUXURY SANDALS TRUE LUXURY This work meant for the fi rst time Sandals entered Superbrands THE RESULT OF TELLING A GOOD STORY
  26. 26. That user narrative is different for different people – what I found was that people in the US had a very different idea of what luxury was, compared to those form the UK and Europe. This is true from how they interpreted the visual elements such as advertisements, down to how they saw the role of the Butler. That user narrative exists throughout a whole brand experience, and that at every point it must meet (or exceed expectation). But that through looking at a product or service with a narrative lens it gives a different dimension on how one can design and tailor a brand. That no matter what story you try and tell, people are subjective and will make up their own minds – e.g Reviews on Tripadvisor will range from, “the most luxurious holiday I’ve ever had”, to the downright negative. WHAT WE CAN LEARN ABOUT USER NARRATIVE FROM LUXURY & THE LUXURY TRAVEL CASE STUDY 1 2 3
  27. 27. Thank You

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