Experience Design For Business
The growth of experiential marketing spawned a global creative Renaissance and, as a result, a new design discipline formed: experience design. Experience design represents the consolidation of a dozen design silos (including architecture, industrial design, theatrical design, and graphic design) into a single creative platform. The first mainstream multi-disciplinary creative format, experience design is critical to the success of experiential marketing in that it provides both form and function—and dictates the look and feel of live experiences. Experience design fuses strategy, creativity, and structure to communicate a message to a defined audience and stimulate a specific and pre-determined reaction. Experiential marketing drives a brand’s strategy, but experience design translates that strategy into living, breathing, shareable moments. Only when you combine the strategy of experiential marketing with the engagement of experience design can you allow people to feel your brand.
Creating Living Stories
The best experiences are designed around, and based upon, a story. “Stories are the vehicles that we use to condense and remember experiences, and to communicate them in a variety of situations to certain audiences,” notes artificial intelligence theorist and cognitive psychologist Roger Schank. Philosopher John Dewey’s theories of expression and creativity define experiences as “moments in time that have a beginning and an end—and change the target audience.”
Experience design is heavily influenced by theatrical design in that most live experiences are based on a narrative, using design to create a space that supports a story. Writing a narrative for Oracle’s OpenWorld event, for example, is not unlike scripting a multi-act theatrical play. The essential rules of theatrical engagements apply to marketing Experiences:
• Rule 1. Space is not static.
• Rule 2. Transitions are important.
• Rule 3. A grand entrance has impact.
• Rule 4. Lighting and sound enhance the experience.
• Rule 5. Great experiences are designed around great journeys through
Live experiences use the ancient building blocks of engagement-based narrative (exposition, conflict, catharsis, resolution) to explain, educate, engage, and inform audiences. No matter what the brand, product, or service, these experience building blocks never change—it’s how marketers arrange them and build on them that does.
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