Micro moments can make (or break) experiences

The entire experience of an organisation can be built or broken in the tiny details or micro moments. As Ahmed Shuja, an experience designer, aptly explained over coffee

“Micro moments really matter to users because small niggling problems, which they know can be fixed, drive them more mad than bigger problems. Feelings of empathy towards the brand can make users a little forgiving when it comes to big problems.”

Continue reading “Micro moments can make (or break) experiences”

Discussion Topic: The New Era of Customer Engagement

According to French, T., LaBerge, L. & Magill, P. (2011), “For the past decade, marketers have been adjusting to a new era of deep customer engagement. They’ve tacked on new functions, such as social-media management; altered processes to better integrate advertising campaigns online, on television, and in print; and added staff with Web expertise to manage the explosion of digital customer data. Yet in our experience, that’s not enough. To truly engage customers for whom “push” advertising is increasingly irrelevant Continue reading “Discussion Topic: The New Era of Customer Engagement”

Riding the Mythical Happy Wave of Facebook

Facebook UpsetsFacebook is not just a social network, it is a phenomenon that has changed our lives in significant ways. At the turn of the century, Google had already begun to fundamentally change the way we searched for information, people, places etc. Google as a brand has won over the hearts and minds of students, critics, academics, professionals, and about anyone who is aware of the Internet. In 2006, a research study conducted in the UK by me, determined that Google enjoyed high brand equity with positive brand associations, high brand awareness and loyalty, and overall brand equity in comparison to its competitors in the search engine product category (Ahmed, 2006). The brand did not have any negative things associated with it. Enter, Facebook! No matter how real it seems, with the familiar and much loved faces of our friends and family, at the end of the day it is a virtual, make-belief world, which lacks reality. For most of us, life has become too busy. The rate race coupled with our relentless pursuit of growth and finding happiness in some distant part of the world has resulted in us being more disconnected with our close ones. It is not surprising that about a billion people are active on Facebook. Continue reading “Riding the Mythical Happy Wave of Facebook”

The Coaching Doctor Website & Branding

Our company (Obscure) recently branded and designed The Coaching Doctor website along side other marketing communication material. Our client and subsequently his clients are thrilled by it. Our client’s Australian mentor has declared this website as a Gold Standard for her students (i.e. health & wellness coaches) in the sense that their websites should aim to meet the standards set by Obscure. That’s great news for Obscure and we are loving every minute of it! The visiting cards of the Coaching Doctor look so delicious in their warm chocolate brown – you are actually tempted to eat them if you could! You have to experience it to believe it.

Obscure Interactive – New Website Launch

Obscure Interactive is a user-centered design consultancy which I have been a marketing consultant for since the past 2 years. We have recently launched our new website (http://obscure.pk) with a new brand identity. The old logo of Obscure Interactive, which was a result of a brainstorming session, had an asterisk sign (*) and green and black were the corporate colours. The old brand identity of Obscure was stolen by a competing firm operating from Karachi as their own logo. Even their website seemed to have been inspired by our old website design. Lucky for them, we had already scheduled time to work on Obscure’s rebranding initiative. We figured that it was time to push things into top gear instead of taking action against the offenders – legally and socially.

We took the rebranding of Obscure as a full time project with identified tasks, milestones and deliverables. The brainstorming sessions which involved white boards, markers, good old multi coloured post-it notes, and many a piece of paper resulted in a thorough analysis of the market situation and Obscure’s position in it. We worked through it all – competitor analysis, SWOT analysis, the brand essence which involved heated discussions between the lead User Experience Designer and myself, and the brand personality that was initially quite hard to define.

Since we are a company which believes in creating meaningful user experiences in the online connected world, we were faced with the challenge of communicating the same through our brand identity. We chose a rather odd colour – a sunlight copper- to represent energy. The use of an arrow in the logo depicts goal-directed motion. Also, it symbolizes a human figure which shows the importance of people at each stage of experience design – the people for whom the experience is being designed (our client’s customers), the people who design it (a vivacious team of user experience designers + marketing strategists + architects), and the people who ask us to design in the first place (our clients). Finally, the use of a circle symbolizes completeness and implies a sense of security.

In terms of communicating the core message of delivering quality every time, we came up with the idea of documenting our approach (http://obscure.pk/whatwedo.php) and case studies. We still have to add more case studies along side adding a “Buzz about Obscure” section. So keep visiting!