Brands as Stories

Designing better brand experiences

Brand experience is now at the core of our interactions with brands as cultural legitimacy and connectedness pave the way for brands to react and innovate in tune with cultural shifts.

Many industries are being disrupted by challenger brands with a focus on UX and experience design, changing the way we expect certain services to be delivered. Take Uber in transportation, AirBnB in hospitality, or Netflix in subscription TV – all are breaking new ground in established industries by tapping into emerging cultural codes to disrupt the way we experience these services.

Nike is another brand at the forefront of this shift with Fuel Band and Nike+, blending advertising, products, online and offline to develop a valuable experience serving the needs of both the consumer and the brand. It marks the biggest change since the creation of Just Do It. “Our customers said don’t just inspire us – enable us” says Stefan Olander, Nike’s VP of Digital Sport.

This blend of strategy, design and development needs to be applied across a brand’s whole offering, ensuring a consistent experience that surprises and delights throughout.

Nike has always been great at creating memorable experiences, from its trademark concept stores to its suite of digital innovations. Nike+ Fuel Band was the development that took them into the emergent space of wearable technology and put them at the heart of peoples’ exercise regimes.

The Nike+ sensor had already started allowing runners to track their progress and goals but the Fuel Band took it even further, becoming the tool with which to set your goals, measure them and then share your progress on social media.

Nike backs up the technology with a full content marketing campaign across its websites. Regardless of whether you’ve actually bought a Fuel Band, there’s a wealth of fitness content, including stats generated by the Fuel Bands sold around the world, motivation pieces and fitness and training tips.

Putting the consumer at the heart of an ecosystem designed to enable, enhance and engage them in achieving their goals is much more powerful than a traditional advertising message, no matter how creatively it’s done.

“When I buy this product and take it home and sign up [for the services], I’ve created a link so much stronger than anything you could ever say in a communication. It’s an emotional connection to myself, and my achievement, and my friends. We’ve now created an entire ecosystem of services that complement the product.” – Stefan Olander, Nike VP of Digital Sport