Creating useful and immersive digital experiences

Campaign Brief May / June 2011

Agency creative’s can learn a lot from the application developer approach in creating useful immersive ideas. To have such a mind-set the focus must begin by making the user – feel personal.

The idea must be helpful towards advancing the user’s purpose writes Adam Good, Executive Director of Digital Innovation Clemenger Group Australasia – who  has just relocated to San Francisco as Executive Vice President of Proximity Worldwide.

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It’s no secret that customer experience is one of the cornerstones of an effective business and marketing strategy. In all honesty, customer experience should have always been the focus all along, but many companies have chosen to hide behind corporate walls and only communicate to customers when it was convenient for them, instead of when the customer actually needed them.

There’s no need to belabor the point that social media has put customers in the driver’s seat. Marketers continue to be challenged in getting through to people via traditional advertising methods. With digital TV recorders (DVRs), do-not-send lists, pop-up blockers, and spam blockers, people are doing everything possible to tune out of advertising messages.

At the same time, word of mouth continues to rise as social media sources enable immediate broadcasting of positive and negative experiences which ultimately influences the buying decisions of others.

The best way to influence people is to focus on the brand customer experience. What is the brand doing to delight people and make their lives better? Many businesses this year face the task of fixing their customer experience to ensure that products and services actually do what they’re supposed to do, and the company’s support and service are actually helpful.

Who will business and marketing leaders turn too to deliver brand experience ideas?

In 2011 the creative industry has an opportunity to captalise and look to create ideas that are useful and immersive.  There has never been a better time to embrace digital technology and give a brand a true useful purpose. People are becoming more adept and comfortable using technology and applications to better their lives, but still few marketers are leveraging digital to create tools and experiences for people to use and interact with, and find it easier to create messages where a brand is just talking about itself.

Digital no longer offers a cold fixed desk screen communication platform. The increase in hand held internet enabled devices has allowed us the ability to create action sensory communication.

Mobile phones and smart devices today have eyes with inbuilt cameras. They have brains to know where they are located via mobile networks. They also have ears with built in microphones. They have a skin that you can touch which increasingly allows a brand a platform to augment consumer’s senses and truly change behavior.

People are in love with their personal internet enabled smart devices. They are never more than a couple of metres away from them at any given time. These devices for the first time in our short technology history are actually becoming smarter every day. To make them smarter people choose and seek out an array of useful applications to download and improve their device and of course their lives.

There are now hundreds of thousands of quality free and low cost easy to use applications to find and download. Many of these applications are useful ideas that are both social, can deliver on productivity, offer supporting utilities or just enhance the user’s entertainment and idle time.

Agencies creative’s can learn a lot from the application developer approach in creating useful immersive ideas. To have such a mindset the focus must begin by making the end user feel personal. The idea must be helpful towards advancing the users purpose. Being a useful idea means you have the power to produce or make improvements for the user.  Useful ideas can be as simple as save me petrol, lose weight, get more sleep, use less electricity, save more money, find me a holiday, enhance my photos, or even help me run a marathon. Combining both the brands data with the users input data is the basis of true useful customer experience.

An example of a useful idea is the EcoDrive solution from AKQA London that demonstrates that an auto maker’s environmental responsibility should not stop when the car leaves the production line, but extend into the way people drive their cars. EcoDrive collects all necessary data relating to vehicle efficiency and, transmits it into an advanced USB key.

The driver plugs this into a PC. The EcoDrive system presents the driver with detailed environmental performance of the car including the CO2 emission level for each trip. It analyses the driver’s style and then provides tips and recommendations on how to modify style to achieve CO2 reductions – and save money on fuel. EcoDrive will encourage the driver to set himself challenges such as CO2 reduction targets for specific journeys or over a set period of time. And in a community site will encourage all drivers to come together and pool their savings – working towards much bigger collective targets and showing that a lot of small contributions join to have a massive impact.

Another example is RGA New York’s Nike Football Head2Head from RGA which gives competitive high school football players the ultimate tool to see how they stack up with the best in the game, at any stage of their career, as well as their next opponents. Part numbers cruncher, part data visualizer, and part video trainer, Nike Football Head2Head gives players the tools they need to get stats, get motivated, and get better.

My final example is the world’s first Impulse Saver™ from Westpac developed by Colenso BBDO. Save money as easily and impulsively as you spend is the useful goal for this useful iPhone application. It allows you to save money on a whim, anytime by just pressing a button. New Zealanders spend on average $16,600,000 daily on impulse purchases such as chocolate bars and drinks, simply because it’s easy and convenient. So what Colenso BBDO did was make saving as simple as spending. Forget logging into a bank website, choosing an amount, selecting the account, confirming the transaction with your password, than logging out again. Now saving money whenever, wherever, is as simple as pressing a big red button.

The question on how to create a useful brand depends on many factors. Foremost among these is our own possibilities, our talents, style, propensities, knowledge, skills, and level of being. We may need to hone our skills, learn new knowledge, and develop our talents. When we get it right creating a brand idea to play a more integral and ongoing role in people’s lives can be very satisfying.

One thought on “Creating useful and immersive digital experiences

  1. Great article Adam.
    Getting the idea is half the battle. Having a plan to follow through with the platform is a huge factor, as you haven’t simply made a campaign that will stop when the media does, you have made a platform. It isn’t something you can’t turn off, it requires the constant attention of it’s users, and an ongoing commitment from both agency and client to continually make it better.
    Exciting times ahead.
    Hope all is well in SF.

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