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The Holistic Consumer Experience


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DMI Review

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The Holistic Consumer Experience

  1. 1. D E V E LO P M E N T Read what six of your colleagues have to say about the customer experience. Comments include a diversity of case studies and of- fer many useful lessons and best practices.56
  2. 2. The Holistic ConsumerExperience—Insightsfrom DMI Membersby JoEllen Kames, Audrey Arbeeny, Rich Levy, Mel Lim, Megan van Krieken, and Peter Wyatt-BrandenburgCreating a Holistic Customer the overall user experience, as well. servers, Apple designed the interac-Experience on a Mobile Device Part of Apple’s success with the tions to be as simple and humanisticby JoEllen Kames iPhone can be credited to simple as possible. Creating a ho- product vision, but some of it is due At Motorola, the design team listic customer to Apple’s success at minimizing the working on the Android mobile experience on risks that might adversely affect that operating system wanted to develop a mobile device vision. A dedicated, nonnegotiable a holistic experience on an open is particularly data plan and little or no carrier cus- platform, which meant connecting challenging be- tomization ensured that users would to touch-points outside Motorola’s cause of the dif- have no cost-based compromises in control. As a founding member of thefused control of a number of factors getting information and that the de- Open Handset Alliance, Motorola isthat shape that experience. The car- vice interactions would be dictated by philosophically devoted to designingrier’s services, the device’s capability, Apple. A straightforward interaction to accommodate open standards forthe user’s rate plan, and the strength paradigm and clear design guidelines mobile devices.1of the mobile signal—all have the made it easy for third-party applica- One of the critical elements ofpotential to make things fractured tions to reliably fit into the overall any mobile device is the contacts withand frustrating for the user. Third- user experience. Integration with whom the user can applications, which users readily other Apple-branded touch-points As mobile devices have developed indownload via application stores, have was seamless. For areas out of its con- 1. Android and Open Handset Alliance are trademarksrecently become a significant factor in trol, such as syncing with Exchange of Google Inc. © 2010 The Design Management Institute 57
  3. 3. B ra nd : Deve lo pin g a Ho li sti c Custom e r Exp e ri e n ce complexity, the people a user has on Designing a holistic contact Designing a Great Customer his or her phone became scattered experience necessitated design work Experience: Sonic Branding throughout the device: in the contacts outside the contacts application. Us- Microsoft’s Xbox 360TM application; in instant messaging ers have universal access to rich con- by Audrey Arbeeny, President, Audiobrain contact lists; in-third party applica- tact information across the device via Audiobrain tions such as Facebook and Twitter; the contact “badge,” which contains is recognized and in Exchange client applications. the contact’s name, photo, and most worldwide for At the same time, there are few links recent status update. The Happen- its expertise in between the people with whom a user ings application, a social dashboard sonic (audio) communicates and the communica- of current contacts activity, surfaces branding—not tion itself. Call history, email, and text timely updates to the home screen. to mention its messages received were stored in their The contacts application and the Mo- talent for research, systems design, respective applications, but there was toBlur service complement each other and interactive technology. We have no way to see all communication with to provide efficient, human-centered a passion for creating long-term, a given contact. ways of including unpredictable, systems-oriented, shareable, inten- The contacts user experience dynamic content. tional audio assets, and one of our designed for Motorola’s Cliq device As mobile platforms become in- more recent projects, designing the and enabled by the MotoBlur service creasingly open, the number of factors sonic branding experience for the takes the bits and pieces of people that can affect the user experience will Xbox 360 video game and entertain- that were scattered all over the device only rise. Apple paved an approach ment system from Microsoft, was a and brings them together.2 One to the problem with a clear vision special pleasure. contact list merges disparate lists and a controlled ecosystem. Future Audiobrain was brought in early into one human-centered view of a systems will not have that luxury, but in the branding process; all the client’s user’s contacts. A meta-contact gives design ingenuity can be a key factor key teams were involved, and all had users an aggregated, holistic view of in mitigating the impact to the user clear objectives. We had a large group the multiple sides of a contact. In the experience. Designers’ ability to create kickoff meeting. The branding group first release of the Motorola Android a tangible vision, synthesize disparate operating system, these views include elements into a coherent whole, and contact information, updates from all practice systems thinking and col- social networks, and all communica- laboration will support better ways tions (email, SMS, calls, or social for all the pieces to come together in a messages) with the contact. holistic customer experience. 2. Cliq and MotoBlur are trademarks of Motorola, Inc.58
  4. 4. Th e H o l i st i c Co n s um e r E xp e ri e n ce —I n s i g hts f rom D MI M em b er s cues in our search for the perfect sonic icon. For example, the product sported a curved form that resembled an “inhale.” This, combined with the concept of “living, breathing,” inspired the creation of what we call the Xbox 360 breath, which in a split second would identify the product and be useful in all kinds of branding and co-branding environments. As the sonification process took shape, we were able to create sonic branding guidelines to help everyoneexpressed objectives such as shifting full competitive and user analysis to to be clear on what the brand soundedthe demographic to a wider audi- ensure that we were creating a unique, like, and what its unique, ownableence while keeping the core fan base, differentiating, ownable, sustainable sonic characteristics were. Because ofarticulating that this was a “living, sonic experience—and one that could this, when new features were addedbreathing entertainment system.” The appear across many touch-points. in 2008, it was easy for us to evolveproduct development team discussed Indeed, for the Electronic Entertain- the sounds of those features from thethe user interface (UI) and how the ment Expo briefing event, commonly framework we had already established.product would interact with the known as E3, we created atmospheric The now-iconic Xbox 360 soniccustomer. It was organic yet high ar- soundscapes to fill the Shrine audito- logo and all its other sounds havechitecture. Every sound mattered. We rium, as well as sounds for executive been positively received globally. Thewould be responsible for the sonic walk-ons, the launch party, and tele- highest compliment I personallybranding strategy, the sound logo, and vision events, all continuing the sonic received was when my 12-year-oldgeneral product “sonification.” How branding dialogue and creating a nephew told me how awesome theywere we to bring this personification consistent POV. The sound was then were—and then mimicked the soundto life? leveraged into advertising, co-brand- used at bootup. Does he or anyone Since this was a full sonic brand- ing environments, and to the website. else truly realize the effort behinding initiative, it was important to see Because of Microsoft’s commitment developing a consistent sonic brand?the UI and design features so that we to placing significant value on the Probably not. Do they have a greatcould support and maximize the cus- sonic branding initiative, we were able experience with the product and lovetomer experience sonically, and get an to help convey the personality and the sounds? Yes. And that, for me,idea of where sound could optimally experience of the brand seamlessly. is what designing a great customersupport user interaction. We did a We tried to use all kinds of experience is all about! 59
  5. 5. B ra nd : Deve lo pin g a Ho li sti c Custom e r Exp e ri e n ce Sports, Soccer, and the director for MLS and Soccer ditional Canadian expansion on the SuperLiga Brand Experience United Marketing. The MLS horizon.) The competition crowns by Rich Levy, Principal, RLP+ brand concludes its fourteenth the best teams in their respec- Sports, as with season of operation in late fall in tive leagues, earning that team many extracur- North America as the premier not only the largest prize ricular activi- professional soccer league— money for a soccer competi- ties, give us an while also facing the chal- tion in the region, but more outlet—espe- lenge of staying relevant importantly, the chance to cially in these in the saturated sports earn the honor, pride, and trying economic marketplace that is the glory that comes with be- times—to release our emotions and United States. ing the best on the energy on and off the field or court, The challenge continent. whether for two halves or four quar- behind SuperLiga was The name ters. It is a time-controlled environ- the idea of developing SuperLiga draws ment, and one that also offers an a new tournament from both Spanish opportunity for spectators to engage that would elevate the and English and in an authentic, unscripted brand credibility of the MLS is symbolic of the experience. team brands from a interleague tourna- Traditions in sports, along with competitive standpoint, ment, which brings historical competitive rivalries, are while extending the together different key ingredients to making a sports MLS brand experience cultures in the spirit brand experience invaluable. The fans’ within the soccer-crazed of competition. connection to and passion for a team’s fan base that exists in The silver and colors, symbolic identity, players, and Mexico. gold logo and trophy traditions make each team sports af- SuperLiga was born drew inspiration from filiation tribal in a sense. Our society from the border soccer the North American conditions us to believe that it is rivalry between the United bald eagle and the about winning and losing and which States and Mexico, which golden eagle (which is team or tribe gets to claim that year are widely recognized as featured in Mexico’s that they are the domestic or world the two most dominant national flag). champions. national team pow- The opportunity to I was fortunate to design-manage ers in North America. design an iconic inte- the creative process for SuperLiga, an (Canada’s MLS team, grated brand package innovative soccer tournament, during Toronto FC, is also that included nam- my 10-year tenure as the creative eligible, with ad- ing, visual identity,60
  6. 6. Th e H o l i st i c Co n s um e r E xp e ri e n ce —I n s i g hts f rom D MI M em b er s it evolves and adapts to the areas within research and develop- ever-changing market. ment, sales and marketing, distri- Startups often have bution networks, and operations. an impatient urgency to Companies must establish a blueprint compete with the “big boys.” or a framework that covers this broad They want to prove their spectrum, as consumer experience presence and legitimacy to begins at the very inception of a prod- the market by subscribing uct or service and does not cease even religiously to methods they after it is discarded. Of course, funds have learned from business and human resources may vary, butbrand positioning, sonic branding, books or by copying the success touch-points can be prioritized andbroadcast animation, and trophy models of competitors. Sometimes, allocated accordingly, based on com-design fueled one of the greatest and these models work, but most often pany objectives. The tactical blueprintmost passionate international soccer they are just ideas to inspire, not a or framework will allow companies torivalries in the world today. I’m proud bible for guaranteed success. The chart their milestones, decide whento say that I was part of the process of startups fail to see that some of these and how strategies should be execut-creating the best sports-fan experi- ideas were successful only because the ed, turn actionable plans into measur-ence available on this continent, an big boys have huge resources to play able data, and thus form engagingexperience that allows soccer fans with. Unfortunately, these aspiring corporate—symbolically, at least—cross both small businesses end up spreading Certainly, companies must knownorthern and southern borders. themselves too thin and fail to capi- that they cannot control the market. talize on their core strengths—which Although a wide spectrum of brand-Customizing the are often the fresh perspectives and ing strategies can assist them in navi-Holistic Consumer Experience optimistic energy they possess by gating through unexpected challengesby Mel Lim virtue of being startups! Indeed, the without having to start from scratch, Every business large corporate brands may yearn for it should not control their course. The is different. Just that freshness. They may not suffer rule of thumb is to always remember because a strat- from limited funds or scarce human that no idea is flawless and timeless. egy has worked resources, but they do struggle with Sometimes, it’s not even about ideas. wonders for corporate politics, conflicting brand It’s about having a flexible but strat- one company directions among upper management egized tactical framework. doesn’t mean it teams, and constant resistance towill yield the same result for an- change or new ideas. “Strategy without tactics is the slow-other, even if they share similar goals, Regardless of the size of the busi- est route to victory. Tactics withoutmarkets, or resources. This is because ness, key touch-points may include strategy is the noise before defeat.”branding has no set formula; rather, – Sun Tzu 61
  7. 7. B ra nd : Deve lo pin g a Ho li sti c Custom e r Exp e ri e n ce A New Vision for of our CS emails. Our overall goal To be meaningful and to organi- the eBay Experience is to be more accessible, open, and cally address the ever-changing needs by Megan van Krieken transparent in our communications. of customers and the organizations What kind of We’re implementing new tools that serve them, both external and commitment and processes to help CS agents be internal engagement is essential. and resources more accurate and effective. We’ve While brand elements exist in specific does it take to also implemented a program to make engagements with customers through create a compel- the issues of our customers more tan- offerings and communications, they ling, persuasive, gible by encouraging every employee are also present in the larger posi- and holistic to spend time in our CS centers. tioning of an organization. They are user experience across a full range of This is a multi-year commitment, essential to the ways internal groups brand touch-points? The answer is: and CS team members are more ener- come together, not only to deliver, but It depends. Knowing your custom- gized than I’ve ever seen them. To to anticipate and inform the specific ers and what they expect from your unite a company in what you stand touch-points that are relevant to brand is essential. Your brand must be for and how you’re making a differ- customers. authentic and true to these expecta- ence, and to see that manifested in a Ultimately, “designing for ex- tions—or, better yet, exceed them. holistic, compelling experience may periences, rather than attempting If the brand promise, values, and be one of the greatest benefits of all. to design experiences”, ensures that attributes are deeply ingrained in the understandings and offerings are inte- Defining the Parameters culture of your company, then they gral to, not external to, the customer’s By Peter Wyatt-Brandenburg become a solid foundation to build experience. This approach addresses Brand ele- from and creating a holistic, compel- the relevant touch-points across ments are ling experience is an organic process. digital and physical engagements often thought An executive sponsor who champions that define a set of brand elements of as solely an a holistic experience and leads by that are meaningful to a customer’s external com- example is also a key ingredient. experience and aligned to the organi- munication At eBay, we’re reinventing our zation delivering that experience. In designed to en- customer support (CS) experience this way, we can form the basis of an gage customers. That’s a mistake. It’s to align with our brand attributes of ongoing engagement among cus- critical to also consider the complexity being human, trustworthy, smart, and tomers and the organization. of the organization designing for the friendly. We’re completely redesign- Reprint #09204GRO56 experience. By doing so, you can fully ing the site experience, from the help discern what is relevant, develop what center to the contact flows. We’re is meaningful, and deliver something expanding new communication chan- that is inspiring. nels and revamping the tone and style62
  8. 8. Adve r t isem ent 63