4 Situations Where an Experience Strategy Can Help You Right Now

Discover four situations where an Experience Strategy can help you succeed by linking your organization’s business strategy to a concrete understanding of user/customer/employee needs and engaging experience design.

Picture this familiar scenario: you are the Head of UX for a leading regional bank. This bank has its eyes on growth, particularly through acquisitions into new geographies and introductions of new products to existing customers. Additionally, you face enormous pressure to get a wave of mobile applications out the door.

frustrated creative

Meanwhile, many of your existing web-based properties are dated and stagnating, including mission-critical applications that need to be migrated from flex to HTML5, for example. There is so much to do and the resources (both budget and people), while more generous than in years past, still need to be justified. Once the resources are approved and acquired, you will need to quickly prove their value.

You fear that just tackling each priority as it comes up will not accomplish the bank’s long-range goals. What do you do? How do you know when to pull the chain and stop the assembly line?

In this post, I’ll discuss four situations where an Experience Strategy can help you succeed by linking your organization’s business strategy to a concrete understanding of user/customer/employee needs and engaging experience design.

Scenario 1. Experience Strategy Can Improve an Inconsistent and Complex Experience

Take a broad group of products and solutions; multiply that by a diverse set of client segments, and then multiply that by the ever-increasing group of channels and devices. You’ll end up with a recipe for complicated planning with dependencies, and the potential for wasted or missed opportunities.

Here are a few examples of environments that produce inconsistent and complex experiences:

  • A large ecosystem of applications (tens or hundreds or thousands of applications)
  • Diverse customer-client segments (retail, institutional, high net worth, etc.)
  • Different geographies (e.g. Emerging, EMEA, Mandarin-speaking, etc.)
  • Interlocked products and services (e.g. physical devices controlled by iOS apps)

An extreme example of a landscape with complexity is the sheer number of specialized applications in a global financial services company that support different market segments, geographies, and product lines. These often number in the thousands! Each channel or product line can encompass a multitude of items, from screen-scraping tools for custody services to tablet-based retail banking apps–all simultaneously supported under one brand.

Experience strategy can join different apps

An example of a Vietnamese mobile banking app.

As an example, consider a firm with trading tools that are used by hedge funds in London as well as mobile banking apps in Vietnam. Think these two applications have nothing in common beside the company logo? Think again—internationalizing mobile and tablet trading apps is an emerging trend, and there are plenty of best practices to share across this seemingly broad divide. These vary from the use of typography to support information hierarchy, calls-to-action best practices, and responsive paradigms. Sharing standards will be fundamental in providing consistently excellent experiences across hundreds or thousands of applications serving dozens of countries.

Complexity is rarely the time to “trust your business intuition.” An Experience Strategy can align technology component deployment with the applications and functionality required by your key market segments. It serves as a roadmap that can help you align the rest of the organization with the rationale for choosing a particular path and set of priorities based on limited resources.

Scenario 2. Experience Strategy Can Align Your Organization Around a Strong Vision

Imagine pitching Wall-E to someone who had never heard of PIXAR before simply through PowerPoint bullets:

  • It’s about a robot left on an Earth full of garbage.
  • All humans are aboard a starship far away, getting more out of shape all the time.
  • One day, another robot shows up and finds a living plant.
  • There are lots of buildings with Buy-N-Large signs on them.
  • It’s a family-friendly, poignant, animated comedy!

Seems ripe for lots of misinterpretation, doesn’t it?

In order to really galvanize an organization, business ideas need to be brought to life and communicated in a dynamic way. In a similar fashion to how movie studios evolve and refine a plot, using scenarios and storyboards can effortlessly show how a new market can be entered, or how a more engaging digital relationship with a client can be built step-by-step (or how emotive a robot can be!)

Storyboard experience strategy

A storyboard will provide visual reinforcement.

How would you apply this to real life scenarios? For instance, say you have to convince an executive of your game plan. Arm that executive with compelling assets. These could be:

  • A set of storyboards
  • A series of beautiful iPad designs of a new application or new solution
  • An animation that shows the client lifecycle for a new product

Next, link these to a structured dissection of your client segmentation or planned technical architecture enhancements. Now, you’ve helped the senior executive translate his/her vision into something people can get excited about and provided a visual expression of your business strategy that effectively reinforces your ideas.

This approach is more effective than dense documents or presentations crammed with lots of bar graphs and Venn diagrams. Words and jargon are often misinterpreted, while a visual depiction of the long-term vision is more likely to resonate with your audience. I think of this as visualizing your business strategy.

Scenario 3. Experience Strategy Can Help You Transform Your Business

In a recent article in the Sloan Review, George Westerman and Didier Bonnet note,

“For larger companies in more traditional industries, it’s easy to think that digital transformation can wait, and that a ‘follower’ strategy is a safer route than trying to be a pioneer. That kind of thinking, while tempting, is wrong. Although the software, media and technology industries get a disproportionate share of the attention, those industries account for less than 10% of the U.S. economy.”

The other 90% certainly can benefit from a comprehensive customer experience strategy that truly understands the target audience and seeks to leverage existing physical and relationship assets. The goal should be to create a differentiated customer experience strategy that interweaves all of the emergent “power of things,” like social media, or location-based applications with unique assets that are impossible to recreate digitally.

For instance, one large wealth management company recently went through great pains to think through the entire customer life cycle. The organization pays particular attention to the importance of its advisors’ existing relationships with their clients and their role orchestrating all the company’s products and solutions.

Digital touch points and solutions are always seen in the broader context of this key relationship. The company continually develops new tablet applications that can complement discussions and decision-making, but never disengages the advisor from his or her trusted role. This approach is further fine-tuned by using market segmentation to help understand the economics of where to apply self-service models with no touch or limited touch customer experiences that are purely digital.

Worldeconomicsgraphsized

Understanding the economics of different market segments provides insight into shaping targeted customer experience.

Transforming your client experience is one place where developing a strategic approach is critical to help propel your business forward. As Forbes.com Leadership Writer Christine Comaford points out:

“How do you avoid organizational stuck spots–the spots of stasis usually found between inflection points where the company stops growing and swirls around at approximately the same level of annual revenue before sliding precipitously backwards? Either you swirl around the stuck spot, barely maintaining the same revenue year after year, or you slide forward with tremendous intentionality.”

It is precisely at these moments that an Experience Strategy can provide a thoughtful—and sometimes disruptive—view of customer experience that will serve as the engine of transformation.

Scenario 4. Experience Strategy Can Anchor Decision-making in a Decentralized and Rapidly Changing Business

Entering a new market or launching a new product often requires coordination and planning. A playbook will help you adapt to continually evolving situations.

Think of it like coaching a football team. The extreme level of statistical analysis and contingency planning is actually critical to being able to adapt on the fly in the middle of the game. Plays are often adjusted by the quarterback after he sees the defensive lineup seconds before the ball is snapped. He needs play variations that provide multiple pass options so that he can choose the open receiver on the fly.

Ensure experience strategy is dynamic

Just like quarterbacks adjust plays in real time, strategy also needs to be a dynamic concept.

In a similar vein, useful experience strategies are not just a static plan. New competitors, new technology platforms, shifting business priorities and the economy can render a plan stale in less than a year if it is not dynamic and adaptive. It is important to remain consistent with core principles and existing assets.

A coherent user experience throughout the execution of the playbook or roadmap is an essential element of success. Thinking in terms of responsive design systems or guiding principles for user interface layouts, for example, are very pragmatic in this context. A holistic customer journey map can have long-term value because it portrays the full sweep of customer engagement, often by filling in the spaces between digital touch points with offline behaviors and motivations.

One of our clients that has had success with this method is a large bank that started defining governance models to provide clear ‘rules of engagement’ for deploying new digital capabilities to newly released dashboards. Such models help to ensure a quality user experience, while simultaneously preventing these new “destinations” from becoming overloaded with content and functionality as the rest of the organization attempts to draft off their initial success. Without guidelines, a dashboard that once seemed so lean and pared down can run the risk of becoming a crowded parking lot of links and tools.

In large enterprises, so many initiatives are concurrently in-flight that old models of command and control are often ineffective. An Experience Strategy can provide ‘bumpers’ or ‘guardrails’ around designs and experiences that allow for innovation, while still ensuring overall alignment and cohesiveness of client experience.

Sometimes, It Just Makes Sense to Think About the Future in a More Structured Way

Even the most tactical initiatives can benefit from establishing their place in the overall business goals and drivers of an organization. This may be as granular as assessing which design patterns, tools, and existing frameworks can be leveraged. Are there personas related to target market segments that can be used in understanding client needs and behaviors? A well-constructed Experience Strategy is an investment that can allow smaller initiatives to charge ahead, confident that they fit into the greater scheme of things and maximizing existing assets.

The four reasons I’ve mentioned are but a few of the many ways that an Experience Strategy can provide immediate benefits for your organization. There will always be critical projects where budgets and time frames are tight. However, if you are not feeling confident of the results after 20 fire drills in a row, maybe it is time to pitch a more thoughtful and aligned approach.

Create a roadmap to transform your business into a digital leader with our Experience Strategy Services.

Image credits: “Vietnamese mobile banking app” and “football player” images created by TandemSeven Principal Visual Designer Frank Donofrio, Wall-E sketch image “Opening Sequence 1” courtesy of Bryan Wong. Wall-E is a registered trademark of Disney Enterprises, Inc.

Discover four situations where an Experience Strategy can help you succeed by linking your organization’s business strategy to a concrete understanding of user/customer/employee needs and engaging experience design.

Picture this familiar scenario: you are the Head of UX for a leading regional bank. This bank has its eyes on growth, particularly through acquisitions into new geographies and introductions of new products to existing customers. Additionally, you face enormous pressure to get a wave of mobile applications out the door.

frustrated creative

Meanwhile, many of your existing web-based properties are dated and stagnating, including mission-critical applications that need to be migrated from flex to HTML5, for example. There is so much to do and the resources (both budget and people), while more generous than in years past, still need to be justified. Once the resources are approved and acquired, you will need to quickly prove their value.

You fear that just tackling each priority as it comes up will not accomplish the bank’s long-range goals. What do you do? How do you know when to pull the chain and stop the assembly line?

In this post, I’ll discuss four situations where an Experience Strategy can help you succeed by linking your organization’s business strategy to a concrete understanding of user/customer/employee needs and engaging experience design.

Scenario 1. Experience Strategy Can Improve an Inconsistent and Complex Experience

Take a broad group of products and solutions; multiply that by a diverse set of client segments, and then multiply that by the ever-increasing group of channels and devices. You’ll end up with a recipe for complicated planning with dependencies, and the potential for wasted or missed opportunities.

Here are a few examples of environments that produce inconsistent and complex experiences:

  • A large ecosystem of applications (tens or hundreds or thousands of applications)
  • Diverse customer-client segments (retail, institutional, high net worth, etc.)
  • Different geographies (e.g. Emerging, EMEA, Mandarin-speaking, etc.)
  • Interlocked products and services (e.g. physical devices controlled by iOS apps)

An extreme example of a landscape with complexity is the sheer number of specialized applications in a global financial services company that support different market segments, geographies, and product lines. These often number in the thousands! Each channel or product line can encompass a multitude of items, from screen-scraping tools for custody services to tablet-based retail banking apps–all simultaneously supported under one brand.

Experience strategy can join different apps

An example of a Vietnamese mobile banking app.

As an example, consider a firm with trading tools that are used by hedge funds in London as well as mobile banking apps in Vietnam. Think these two applications have nothing in common beside the company logo? Think again—internationalizing mobile and tablet trading apps is an emerging trend, and there are plenty of best practices to share across this seemingly broad divide. These vary from the use of typography to support information hierarchy, calls-to-action best practices, and responsive paradigms. Sharing standards will be fundamental in providing consistently excellent experiences across hundreds or thousands of applications serving dozens of countries.

Complexity is rarely the time to “trust your business intuition.” An Experience Strategy can align technology component deployment with the applications and functionality required by your key market segments. It serves as a roadmap that can help you align the rest of the organization with the rationale for choosing a particular path and set of priorities based on limited resources.

Scenario 2. Experience Strategy Can Align Your Organization Around a Strong Vision

Imagine pitching Wall-E to someone who had never heard of PIXAR before simply through PowerPoint bullets:

  • It’s about a robot left on an Earth full of garbage.
  • All humans are aboard a starship far away, getting more out of shape all the time.
  • One day, another robot shows up and finds a living plant.
  • There are lots of buildings with Buy-N-Large signs on them.
  • It’s a family-friendly, poignant, animated comedy!

Seems ripe for lots of misinterpretation, doesn’t it?

In order to really galvanize an organization, business ideas need to be brought to life and communicated in a dynamic way. In a similar fashion to how movie studios evolve and refine a plot, using scenarios and storyboards can effortlessly show how a new market can be entered, or how a more engaging digital relationship with a client can be built step-by-step (or how emotive a robot can be!)

Storyboard experience strategy

A storyboard will provide visual reinforcement.

How would you apply this to real life scenarios? For instance, say you have to convince an executive of your game plan. Arm that executive with compelling assets. These could be:

  • A set of storyboards
  • A series of beautiful iPad designs of a new application or new solution
  • An animation that shows the client lifecycle for a new product

Next, link these to a structured dissection of your client segmentation or planned technical architecture enhancements. Now, you’ve helped the senior executive translate his/her vision into something people can get excited about and provided a visual expression of your business strategy that effectively reinforces your ideas.

This approach is more effective than dense documents or presentations crammed with lots of bar graphs and Venn diagrams. Words and jargon are often misinterpreted, while a visual depiction of the long-term vision is more likely to resonate with your audience. I think of this as visualizing your business strategy.

Scenario 3. Experience Strategy Can Help You Transform Your Business

In a recent article in the Sloan Review, George Westerman and Didier Bonnet note,

“For larger companies in more traditional industries, it’s easy to think that digital transformation can wait, and that a ‘follower’ strategy is a safer route than trying to be a pioneer. That kind of thinking, while tempting, is wrong. Although the software, media and technology industries get a disproportionate share of the attention, those industries account for less than 10% of the U.S. economy.”

The other 90% certainly can benefit from a comprehensive customer experience strategy that truly understands the target audience and seeks to leverage existing physical and relationship assets. The goal should be to create a differentiated customer experience strategy that interweaves all of the emergent “power of things,” like social media, or location-based applications with unique assets that are impossible to recreate digitally.

For instance, one large wealth management company recently went through great pains to think through the entire customer life cycle. The organization pays particular attention to the importance of its advisors’ existing relationships with their clients and their role orchestrating all the company’s products and solutions.

Digital touch points and solutions are always seen in the broader context of this key relationship. The company continually develops new tablet applications that can complement discussions and decision-making, but never disengages the advisor from his or her trusted role. This approach is further fine-tuned by using market segmentation to help understand the economics of where to apply self-service models with no touch or limited touch customer experiences that are purely digital.

Worldeconomicsgraphsized

Understanding the economics of different market segments provides insight into shaping targeted customer experience.

Transforming your client experience is one place where developing a strategic approach is critical to help propel your business forward. As Forbes.com Leadership Writer Christine Comaford points out:

“How do you avoid organizational stuck spots–the spots of stasis usually found between inflection points where the company stops growing and swirls around at approximately the same level of annual revenue before sliding precipitously backwards? Either you swirl around the stuck spot, barely maintaining the same revenue year after year, or you slide forward with tremendous intentionality.”

It is precisely at these moments that an Experience Strategy can provide a thoughtful—and sometimes disruptive—view of customer experience that will serve as the engine of transformation.

Scenario 4. Experience Strategy Can Anchor Decision-making in a Decentralized and Rapidly Changing Business

Entering a new market or launching a new product often requires coordination and planning. A playbook will help you adapt to continually evolving situations.

Think of it like coaching a football team. The extreme level of statistical analysis and contingency planning is actually critical to being able to adapt on the fly in the middle of the game. Plays are often adjusted by the quarterback after he sees the defensive lineup seconds before the ball is snapped. He needs play variations that provide multiple pass options so that he can choose the open receiver on the fly.

Ensure experience strategy is dynamic

Just like quarterbacks adjust plays in real time, strategy also needs to be a dynamic concept.

In a similar vein, useful experience strategies are not just a static plan. New competitors, new technology platforms, shifting business priorities and the economy can render a plan stale in less than a year if it is not dynamic and adaptive. It is important to remain consistent with core principles and existing assets.

A coherent user experience throughout the execution of the playbook or roadmap is an essential element of success. Thinking in terms of responsive design systems or guiding principles for user interface layouts, for example, are very pragmatic in this context. A holistic customer journey map can have long-term value because it portrays the full sweep of customer engagement, often by filling in the spaces between digital touch points with offline behaviors and motivations.

One of our clients that has had success with this method is a large bank that started defining governance models to provide clear ‘rules of engagement’ for deploying new digital capabilities to newly released dashboards. Such models help to ensure a quality user experience, while simultaneously preventing these new “destinations” from becoming overloaded with content and functionality as the rest of the organization attempts to draft off their initial success. Without guidelines, a dashboard that once seemed so lean and pared down can run the risk of becoming a crowded parking lot of links and tools.

In large enterprises, so many initiatives are concurrently in-flight that old models of command and control are often ineffective. An Experience Strategy can provide ‘bumpers’ or ‘guardrails’ around designs and experiences that allow for innovation, while still ensuring overall alignment and cohesiveness of client experience.

Sometimes, It Just Makes Sense to Think About the Future in a More Structured Way

Even the most tactical initiatives can benefit from establishing their place in the overall business goals and drivers of an organization. This may be as granular as assessing which design patterns, tools, and existing frameworks can be leveraged. Are there personas related to target market segments that can be used in understanding client needs and behaviors? A well-constructed Experience Strategy is an investment that can allow smaller initiatives to charge ahead, confident that they fit into the greater scheme of things and maximizing existing assets.

The four reasons I’ve mentioned are but a few of the many ways that an Experience Strategy can provide immediate benefits for your organization. There will always be critical projects where budgets and time frames are tight. However, if you are not feeling confident of the results after 20 fire drills in a row, maybe it is time to pitch a more thoughtful and aligned approach.

Create a roadmap to transform your business into a digital leader with our Experience Strategy Services.

Image credits: “Vietnamese mobile banking app” and “football player” images created by TandemSeven Principal Visual Designer Frank Donofrio, Wall-E sketch image “Opening Sequence 1” courtesy of Bryan Wong. Wall-E is a registered trademark of Disney Enterprises, Inc.

Interested in partnering with us?

Send a message and we will work with you to understand your needs.

UX360 - Enterprise Journey Mapping Platform

Power Platform

UX360 - Enterprise Journey Mapping Platform
Related Insights

2017-08-14T14:54:23+00:00