Going beyond advertising
Head of Strategy and Experience Design
Last week I was having dinner with my friend Aldo. Aldo is normally a calm, reserved type of person, but that day he was very excited about a gadget (and the whole digital ecosystem that went with it) that he had seen advertised. He he was convinced it was the perfect solution to his exercise problems. Right before he was about to go out and purchase the product, we ran into our friend Reza. This was a turning point for Aldo, because Reza had used the product and strongly advised Aldo not to get it. Reza told him he’d had several bad experiences with ecosystem integration, and even worse experiences with the customer service from that brand. Not to mention the service he got at the store when asking for assistance.
When a person has a good experience, they tell one friend, but when they have a bad experience, they tell 99. Focusing only on the communications part of your brand experience is like swimming upstream in fancy swimwear: you look good, but you might have so much going against you in other points of the consumer journey that you are wasting a lot of time and money to get where you want to be.
In fact, young Indonesians are increasingly skeptical of ads (as Kantar Millward Brown’s 2016 AdReaction study shows) so creating advertising that is effective has become even more challenging in the past few years. The consumer journey has become fragmented across different touchpoints, and consumers demand consistency and delight at every one. In some cases the touchpoints are designed, but often marketers focus too much on communications and neglect the other touchpoints, where an experience “just happens”.
It’s time the marketers of Indonesia start thinking more about purposely designing coherent experiences for people – that go beyond advertising and delight people during each step of their journey with the brand.
Traditional marketing has mainly been about generalizing data and creating something that works across the board, which is a real challenge today as not one person has the same experience with a brand. They all connect with different touchpoints during different stages of their journey.
This means we cannot design for segments, and need to design for people. We should look at the experiences that individuals are currently having with brands, identify their pain points, and create solutions for those. These solutions should then be extrapolated to fit a larger audience, creating truly innovative experiences instead of designing mediocre ones for the masses.
Your efforts should start with getting a better understanding of what people are like, and what they need. Far too often have I seen marketing teams rely too much on research reports, without actually meeting the people they are selling to.
To truly understand people, you need to empathize with them, and that can only be done by walking a mile in their shoes. Get close to people through design research – which is mostly qualitative in nature – and build empathy for their situation. How are they purchasing the product? Understand what their considerations are, but also what the context is in which they live, and purchase your brand. What are the questions they have regarding your brand or the category? Which current touchpoints delight them?
Which deter them? This is often covered in traditional market research as well, but the key difference is that in this case, the designers (clients, creatives, account directors and strategists) are deeply involved in execution of the research, allowing them to spot opportunities for innovation based on their internalization of people’s desires and motivations.
The results should be mapped against the journey that people go through. Mapping allows marketers to design business processes, communications, and other services that align with consumer needs across the journey, designing value for people at each interaction they have with your brand.
So, before you go out and start thinking about your next advertising campaign, give some thought to going beyond advertising and truly delivering amazing experiences and meaningful innovations for Indonesian people, so you can drive brand success and accelerate value growth for your brand. And think of Aldo, who changed his mind about the fitness gadget and hasn’t mentioned it since.