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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Visual Goodness To Maximize The User Experience

Fuel For Thought series

Visual Goodness Describes How Best To Maximize User Experience During Fuel For Thought Series

One last post to share with you from Sigma's Fuel For Thought, the Growth & Innovation Series. This one about Visual Goodness.

Visual Goodness is an 8 year old digital production shop in New York City with expertise in animation and development, 3D/motion, video production... They also struck me as creative to the hilt - in a practical way!

Chuck Acker, chief of new business at Visual Goodness, introduced Mark Rosal, creative manager.

Fuel For Thought described the session as follows:

"No matter what the product, service or industry, the most important goals in building your brand online are starting a relationship with your customers and maximizing user interaction time with your brand. In this workshop we’ll explore case studies where brands are going above and beyond to engage users right where they live by maintaining deep customer interaction while building mindshare and influence.

Mark started out the session with these observations:

+ As individuals, we are connected and overloaded with information.
+ But, as Clay Shirky has observed, the problem isn't information overload, but rather "filter failure."
+ The same is true for customers who are developing better filters.

In our current age of immediacy, people have multiple means to get to goals and they bypass the user experience we create to get to what they want faster. And, they want what's valuable to them [i.e., relevance].

The solution is to Maximize the User Experience and provide value within an experience in one of three ways:

+ Be a unique story teller.
As example, HBO, which redefines story telling. This post, HBO Imagine: Clues, Cubes and Mimes offers an overview. At all points, viewers [participants?] can share via Twitter and Facebook. Have you participated? What's your reaction?

+ React. Engage.
This example intrigued me. Visual Goodness created an experiment Mark referred to as "The Twitter of OZ." It answers the question "What if the main characters in the Wizard of Oz were on Twitter?" Here, Dorothy, Scarecrow (coming online soon), Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, the Wicked Witch, the Wizard and Glinda the Good Witch tweet their experiences in real time, 140 characters at a time?

Using Hootsuite to manage the multiple characters and story lines, Mark put together a script for the story with the goal of observing what would happen. He quickly got rid of the script when a new unexpected character showed up and he had to engage and react in real time.

This was a public experiment; for authenticity, he decided not to use a hashtag symbol [also left more space for content].

+ Be where the user is
This approach requires understanding where users are and engaging with them - talking to them - at the right moment. In this example, imagine having passersby text a message that is immediately projected onto a building in a busy urban environment. This was the "Who you for" text message campaign that spoke to people at the right moment and created word of mouth in a new medium.

Some other examples:
+ Flickr has active forums such as the Canon DSCR group. This is a self moderated group with distinct rules and guidelines on how to tag photos, etc. Note that it includes over 54k members!

+ From Visual Goodness, ESPN Monday Night Football Paper Football & Music Maestro.

As you think about maximizing the user experience for your customers, what do you find most effective?

How do you highlight value that is relevant to them?

How do you align what you offer with the filters customers have created?

Previous Posts About Fuel For Thought include:
Federated Media's Conversation Economy Examples
John Battelle & the Conversation Economy

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