An Experiential Approach To UX – 360° Integrated Campaigns
Posted by Matt Brown / October 27
The History Of UX
The idea behind User Experience (UX) truly started to grow and expand in the 1990s alongside the dot-com boom. As many will remember, large and bulky sites began proliferating across the Internet with no thought toward the experience of the end user. Many websites became overcrowded with flashing advertisements, cumbersome blocks of copy, slow load times and no way to quickly search for relevant content. Shopping carts took forever to navigate and the mobile experience required excessive scrolling and zooming in/out.
Thankfully, a new field of study was born that recruited designers obsessed with delivering a user experience that was simple, intuitive, fun and compelling. These architects are typically well-versed in the latest design/technology trends and perfectly suited to identify their target audience’s online behavior and needs. Since then, we’ve experienced a wave of beautifully designed new websites and applications that are artfully crafted to help the user quickly find content and enjoy their experience – regardless of device or browser.
Solid UX has quickly become the new standard in the digital realm. If you aren’t delivering an ideal experience, users will quickly click away to one of your competitors.
More recently, innovative and forward-thinking companies have taken UX from the digital realm to new and great heights in the experiential world.
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk left no stone unturned when he crafted his crown jewel, the Model S, putting his customer’s experience at the center of every decision. When the driver approaches the Model S with the strategically designed key fob in pocket, the door handles instinctively pop out before automatically retreating into the car’s sleek design once the door is closed.(1) As the driver buckles his seatbelt, the car turns on automatically, ready to go places your older sedan could only dream.
Whole Foods is doing their part to push the UX envelope, too. There’s a reason why you’re instantly greeted with the smell of fresh flowers and organic fruits and vegetables when you walk into one of their stores. There’s a reason why you’re surrounded by wooden farmer crates and chalkboards listing daily specials and all other sorts of emblems that communicate fresh, local, organic, et cetera. They’ve perfected their UX from the minute you walk in the door to the minute you leave.(2)
Application To Experiential Marketing & Overall Campaigns
So what does experiential marketing have to do with the UX behind Tesla Motors and Whole Foods? The answer is everything. As experiential marketers, it’s our job to consider every detail to ensure our users, and customers alike, have a flawless experience from start to finish. It begins and ends with us. Just like Tesla, we want to anticipate our user’s wants and intuitively stand ready to serve. Just like Whole Foods, we want to guide our customers through a sensory experience that effectively communicates our brand tone and characteristics.
Experiential marketing has changed dramatically in the last 15 years. It’s no longer simply planning an event and interacting with users when they arrive. Experiential marketing has evolved into a process of seamlessly intertwining digital elements and initiatives within your events so that users and customers can interact and engage with your brand in new and creative ways before, during and after your event.
Now more than ever, it’s about the user experience. What are your users exposed to when they walk into your event? What’s the vibe and feel when a user strolls past your booth at a local festival? What do they see? What do they hear? What do they smell? What do they taste?
Even more, how is the brand identity and profile communicated through the various elements of your event? Have you created an immersive environment that speaks to the pillars and identity of the brand? Does every customer touch point have a brand message woven in?
To succeed, we must immerse ourselves in these environments. We must become obsessed with the user experience on even the most granular level with each and every event we host, every website we build, every digital, creative and social campaign we launch.
Need another example? Look no further than The Happiest Place on Earth – Disney World. If you’ve ever been, you know exactly what we’re talking about. Every detail is considered – from the type of cups served, to the color, design, feel and texture of the various walkways. Each “zone” at Disney World has a different look, feel and vibe to provide an entirely different experience.
To ensure each user has a completely satisfying experience, Disney has full-time employees whose jobs are to do nothing more than document the UX. Is the user smiling? Laughing? Yawning? Excited? Bored? Every bit of data is collected and later used for improvements.(1)
Our Approach To UX – 360° Integrated Campaigns
“You‘ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology – not the other way around.” – Steve Jobs
Legacy Marketing Partners puts UX at the center of every integrated campaign that we execute. It’s increasingly difficult to deliver an appealing, unified experience in the new world of 360 integrated marketing where brands need to interact with consumers at events in broadcast television, in print, in social media, on the web, in email communications, etc. Given this complex and varied landscape, it’s important that we anticipate where and when our users will be in certain locations and how we can deliver a compelling experience to them in that medium.
Our UX designers work in tandem with our Project Managers on every major project that we execute. Our integrated expertise positions us to stand alone in the industry in the strategy, planning, production and activation of a given experiential campaign.
After analyzing our client’s objectives, as well as the landscape of the desired audience, we create custom platforms intended to maximize the opportunity for our brands to connect with their users. We run competitive audits, map out user flow charts and design navigation maps. Essentially, we do everything we can to look at an experiential campaign from all angles, so nothing is missed.
But the core of UX – the reason why we do all of this – is the user. If you’re planning a live + digital campaign, you had better know your audience.
Who is attending? Why are they attending? And, ultimately, what do they want?
The question of “What does the user want?” must be the genesis of our planning and preparation. It’s the central theme behind the Model S, the mission of Whole Foods and the objective of Disney.
If you can answer that question with confidence and certainty, you’re well on your way to providing an immersive, seamless user experience.
And that’s why we do what we do.