Experience

The Importance of Experience Design and the Future of Brand

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Customers today are accidental narcissists.

Tomorrow is an entirely new game brands, CX strategists and marketers.

Disruption is a gift either given to you or by you.

Knowing this, we are still making mistakes in creating meanignful experiences to a new generation of connected, impatient and demanding customers. We get stuck in legacy thinking, playbooks and metrics rather than innovate and disrupt to fully capitalize on new digital opportunities.

Following my presentation at Adobe Summit, I had the opportunity to join my dear friend Giselle Abramovich of CMO.com for an extensive conversation about the importance of experience design and the future of brand in a digital economy.

Giselle has a way of bringing out the best in someone. In our discussion, I share my latest research, work and ideas about how every company should re-imagine brand for an era of digital Darwinism.

The questions and answers cover a broad range and will get your mind running and hopefully inspire you to blaze new trails for others to follow.

Questions covered in the video:

  1. How does digital transformation and experiential marketing intersect?
  2. What does it take to be an experience-driven business?
  3. What is the role of data in crafting these experiences for consumers?
  4. Every brand claims they are experience-led. How do you get everyone on board?
  5. Which consumer trends should marketers pay close attention to?
  6. How should brands think about experience?
  7. What else are marketers prioritizing?
  8. How did you become a digital anthropologist?

Related Links:

The State of Digital Transformation

The Six Stages of Digital Transformation

The O.P.P.O.S.I.T.E. Approach to Digital CX

The Digital Change Agent’s Manifesto

Brian Solis

Brian Solis is principal analyst and futurist at Altimeter, the digital analyst group at Prophet, Brian is world renowned keynote speaker and 7x best-selling author. His latest book, X: Where Business Meets Design, explores the future of brand and customer engagement through experience design. Invite him to speak at your event or bring him in to inspire and change executive mindsets.

Connect with Brian!

Twitter: @briansolis
Facebook: TheBrianSolis
LinkedIn: BrianSolis
Instagram: BrianSolis
Youtube: BrianSolisTV
Snapchat: BrianSolis

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Brian Solis

Experience Innovation – Designing for the X Factor in Customer Experience

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Coming up in Silicon Valley during the 90s and early 2000s was special for a geek like me. I moved to Northern California from LA in 1996. Tech and startups were at the time fledgling in Los Angeles but still exciting. I would later return to help catalyze the startup ecosystem. My goal at the time was to plug into the startup garage capital of the world. By then, there were already storied landmarks that one would have to visit. The HP garage (considered the birthplace of Silicon Valley), the Apple garage, the Google garage, et al.

But it wasn’t just garages. There were sprawling tech campuses that were already reshaping the Bay Area…and the world. Among the many, one of the iconic landmarks in the rise of Silicon Valley is the Xerox PARC innovation center. This is afterall, where Steve Jobs famously witnessed (and marketed) the GUI (graphical user interface), WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editing and mouse techologies for the launch of Lisa and Macintosh and the personal computer market.

I was beyond thrilled, when I was invited to PARC to present on the topic of “Experience Innovation.” It was not only an honor, but also validation of my years of work, that I could contribute something to epicenter of innovation.

I wanted to share that experience with you here.

Brian Solis

Brian Solis is principal analyst and futurist at Altimeter, the digital analyst group at Prophet, Brian is world renowned keynote speaker and 7x best-selling author. His latest book, X: Where Business Meets Designexplores the future of brand and customer engagement through experience design. Invite him to speak at your event or bring him in to inspire and change executive mindsets.

Connect with Brian!

Twitter: @briansolis
Facebook: TheBrianSolis
LinkedIn: BrianSolis
Instagram: BrianSolis
Youtube: BrianSolisTV
Snapchat: BrianSolis

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Brian Solis

Why Inconsistent Messaging is Undermining Customer Experience

This article is part of our series on customer experience where we focus on topics relating to connecting data, intelligence and experiences. Further reading: Silo Busting is Essential to Delivering Personalized Experiences.

Delivering exceptional customer experiences has quickly become table stakes for marketers. Too often, though, these experiences are undermined by inconsistent messaging and opportunities go begging.

Repeated or irrelevant messages breed consumer intolerance and annoyance, which they are not afraid to shout about to the hilltops.

Inconsistent messaging can also be a lost opportunity. For instance, when a customer expects to be informed, but there is silence. Such as when a customer signs up to a new program and reasonably expects to receive a welcome email. When they receive nothing, that can create confusion and concern — which can be just as damaging as a sending a poor message.

In markets like China, where social and ecommerce platforms are dominated by a few large players, the risk and reward of consistent messaging increases, particularly for B2C companies.

For example, WeChat and Alibaba both have an incredible reach. And, given their prominence, consumers often use both platforms. So, any inconsistent message on WeChat can quickly undermine strong messaging on Alibaba, and vice-versa.

Compounding this problem, marketers sometimes focus too intently on WeChat and Alibaba and neglect their owned channels of email, SMS, and website. The messaging in all channels must be relevant and consistent.

Why It’s Happening

This isn’t rocket science, but it still trips up many marketers. The reason? The ubiquitous problems that arise from disconnected data systems and data access – marketers and systems in silos. Marketers simply do not have a single view of the customer, much less an accurate idea of what messaging has already been delivered.

That problem snowballs when channels are managed by different teams — such as a media agency for acquisition and remarketing, another agency for social marketing, while a company’s own marketing team manages email and mobile channels.

When this happens, even a central marketing plan can’t connect the data and creative for individual customer experiences.

Many organizations still lack the skills and tools necessary to unearth customer insights from first-party data. Those insights are needed to improve customer experience and deliver consistent, relevant messages through all channels automatically.

How to Fix It

A great place to start is to build consistency on the areas over which you have control and where you are comfortable.

For example, implementing automation and template programs for email and mobile channels will improve consistency in message cadence and content. At Oracle, we recommend leveraging existing data and using dynamic content to personalize your messages while maintaining a consistent message.

Next, build a data strategy to inform segmentation and start to weave that in other channels. It’s likely that your first major roadblock will be addressing how customer data is managed and accessed. Therefore, when getting data architecture in order, the focus should be on creating a core customer view in a secure, transparent and privacy-compliant way. All other data — such as sales, product, and policies — can then be attached to the core customer data, creating the fabled 360 degree view of the customer.

It is no small feat to upgrade data architecture and automate marketing. However, the benefits that accrue will quickly justify the undertaking.

Want to learn more? Get the Cross-Channel Orchestration Fundamentals Guide to learn how you can give consumers the personalized, relevant, and consistent experiences they want.  


Oracle Blogs | Oracle Marketing Cloud

Perspectives: Reimagining space and experience In the future of retail

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I just finished researching innovation trends in retail. It took over a year to complete and honestly, the insights shared in it are applicable to every industry. Please download, read and share it with your colleagues, even if you’re not in retail. It’ll help.

Recently, I was invited to present my findings on retail innovation at The Summit hosted by AT&T. I also cut right to the heart of the matter, that what we’re really talking about is change. How do we change, and then what do we do differently, to invest in new areas that create new value for our customers and those who are not yet our customers.

All innovation is a shift in mindset. That’s where retail and so many industries struggle. Many executives, boards and stakeholders are trying to do new things based on legacy mindsets and outdated operational models.

Mindset.

Innovation is all the work you do to conform to expectations and aspirations of people as they evolve instead of making them conform to legacy perspectives, assumptions, processes, policies and metrics of success.

Start with space.

Reimagine space.

Online and physical.

Most decisions are made using existing space as a center of reference for new possibilities and experiments. But that’s just thinking within the proverbial box. Even if we “think outside of the box,” we’re still in a box, just trying to think outside of it. We haven’t changed the rules. We haven’t changed the norms.

Space as a construct is limited only and also shaped by your imagination.

What is space?

How can space bring to life new experiences online and in person?

And that’s just it, what experiences do people value today, tomorrow, in other industries, that we can learn from to bridge the gap between what we offer and what people need or cherish? And, how do we connect ROI to those ideas to earn support rather than skepticism and denial.

Please take a moment to watch this short, three-minute video from The Summit that highlights this conversation (with inspiration music for added effect!)

Brian Solis

Brian Solis is principal analyst and futurist at Altimeter, the digital analyst group at Prophet, Brian is world renowned keynote speaker and 7x best-selling author. His latest book, X: Where Business Meets Design, explores the future of brand and customer engagement through experience design.

Invite him to speak at your event or bring him in to inspire and change executive mindsets.

Connect with Brian!

Twitter: @briansolis
Facebook: TheBrianSolis
LinkedIn: BrianSolis
Instagram: BrianSolis
Youtube: BrianSolisTV

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Brian Solis

Customer Experience For The Win #FTW

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I had the opportunity to keynote UNITE by Satmetrix recently on the topic of experience design for modern customers. Leading up to the event, I joined the team on a podcast to discuss the topic in-depth. I share it with you here in the hopes that it will help you.

Capture the heart, mind and spirt of the new CX…the customer’s experience

Ask 10 different executives what CX means and how to improve it, you’ll get at least 15 different answers. Hear Brian make a compelling case that customer experience is the future of business. Learn why CX is bigger than any one department – and, importantly, what to do about it.

Highlights

Three word advice for CX success: “Be” the customer.

Debunk this myth! Customer journey mapping improves the customer journey. It’s all about experience mapping.

Admirable CX innovation: Experience mapping, flows, and overall experience design; they force an empathetic approach to CX.

Learn this from your peers: Career path/advice.

To raise the profile of CX in your organization: Highlight the friction that results from bad CX. Friction = lost revenue.

Listen here.

Brian Solis

Brian Solis is principal analyst and futurist at Altimeter, the digital analyst group at Prophet, Brian is world renowned keynote speaker and 7x best-selling author. His latest book, X: Where Business Meets Design, explores the future of brand and customer engagement through experience design. Invite him to speak at your event or bring him in to inspire and change executive mindsets.

Connect with Brian!

Twitter: @briansolis
Facebook: TheBrianSolis
LinkedIn: BrianSolis
Instagram: BrianSolis
Youtube: BrianSolisTV
Snapchat: BrianSolis

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Brian Solis

Customer Experience is Defined by the Experience Customer’s Have, Remember and Share

The funny thing about customer experience is that, for all of its good intentions, it is a bit ironic. Many businesses talk about the importance of customer experience (CX). At the same time, many are prioritizing investments in new technologies and touchpoints to improve engagement. But, when asked about their understanding of modern customer behaviors, expectations, preferences and which experiences in their life they love and don’t love…you get crickets. All too often, customer experience doesn’t really start with the customer. But in reality, the customer experience can only be defined by the experience a customer has with a brand. And, it can only be measured by the experience they have in each moment and the sum of those moments. Said another way, customer experience belongs to the customer and it should start with them.

That’s the irony of CX. It’s often not customer-centered. Companies are frequently shareholder- or stakeholder-centric. Decisions must always have the company’s best interests front and center. As such, CX can be viewed as a cost center and not necessarily as an investment. But customers who have great experiences will almost certainly deliver ROI against any strategic, customer-centered approach to CX. For example, it’s been reported that customers will pay up to 25% more for a similar product if they believe they’re going to get an exceptional experience. They’re willing to spend more money with brands that deliver experiences that excel over mediocrity. Think about that. How sad is it that people will pay extra to avoid frustrating, indifferent or reluctant experiences?

Experience Matters to Humans

Customer experiences are just that…they’re experiences. They’re human. Customers too, are human. Surprise! This is why I look at, the emotional side of experience design in addition to technology and trends. Customer experiences, or experiences in general, are essentially emotional reactions to moments. They can be measured by how people feel, sense and respond at each touchpoint and in the totality of the customer journey. Customer experience is so much more than any one thing. It’s everything! Any technology, effort, process or policy that touches the customer contributes to experiences individually and collectively. They must be designed and they must work together.

Any investment in CX must first start with understanding the experience from the customer’s perspective, what’s broken or missing, and also what it could be in comparison to the experiences that customers love elsewhere. For example, whatever business you’re in, whether you’re a dentist or a bank, you compete with the likes of Uber, Airbnb, Amazon, et al., in terms of experiential standards. They’re fast, transparent, personalized, frictionless and evolving. They become the standard for what people want and expect.

For example, in my research into CX and digital transformation, I consistently find that companies are out-of-touch with modern customer. Most recently, I learned that the majority of businesses are planning CX and digital transformation roadmaps and making investments with incomplete information about the customer. Case in point, 2017 findings show that only 34.8% of businesses have fully mapped the customer journey within the last year, which is down from 54% last year. Wow.

Experiences Happen and They Influence Others

Customer experiences happen whether they’re designed to be amazing or not. The best and the worst experiences convert into memories. How people experience those moments shouldn’t be left to chance.

In this always-on, hyper-connected, mobile world, customers are sharing those experiences online, everywhere, and those shared experiences become the currency of influence. Customers increasingly rely on the experiences people have and share to inform and shape their decisions and next steps. This is why customer experience has never been more important and why CX must start with the customer’s experience at the heart of everything. That takes insight, empathy and then design. Touchpoints must be more than functional, transactional and connected. They must bring to life desired experiences that people prefer and hopefully remember in ways that positively impact the brand and influence others.

You have to know your customer and how they’re different than what you know or assume and how they continue to evolve. Then you have to design CX strategies for the experiences you want people to have and share. This really shouldn’t be a surprise. Exceptional CX doesn’t just build upon the experiences of yesterday, it breaks new ground to deliver modern experiences for today and tomorrow. That takes intent, design, integration and cross-functional collaboration to deliver experiences in each moment of truth and throughout the customer’s journey.

Design experiences that matter…to human beings. Then work together towards a vision and purpose that everyone can align with and deliver against.  Experience starts with you.

Please join Brian Solis at Nextcon, October 23rd at 9 a.m. for the opening keynote, “Great Expectations: The Customer Mindset for 2018.”

About Brian

Brian Solis is principal analyst and futurist at Altimeter, the digital analyst group at Prophet, Brian is world renowned keynote speaker and 7x best-selling author. His latest book, X: Where Business Meets Designexplores the future of brand and customer engagement through experience design. Invite him to speak at your event or bring him in to inspire and change executive mindsets.

Connect with Brian!

Twitter: @briansolis
Facebook: TheBrianSolis
LinkedIn: BrianSolis
Instagram: BrianSolis
Youtube: BrianSolisTV
Snapchat: BrianSolis

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Brian Solis

Ignite the Fan Experience

As a fan of the Golden State Warriors, I’m still gushing over their 2017 NBA Championship win.  Congratulations Dubs!  We’re so proud.

Being in the Bay Area, we are very lucky to have talented sports teams including basketball, baseball, football and hockey.  Having been to every stadium/arena, the fan experiences are quite different!

At home, we’re spoiled by the HD surround sound, consistent internet connectivity and multiple screens so we won’t miss any moments.

As stated in “Should the Chief Marketing Officer Oversee The Whole Customer Experience?” report, the consumerization of IT has created often unfulfilled customer experiences. 

At stadiums for example, there are:

Lines: they were everywhere from parking lot, front entrance, concession vendors, bathrooms, leaving the game, you name it.

Limited connectivity: it’s very slow.  So slow to load it’s hard to watch replays or look up real-time stats.

Disengaged experiences: once I step away, I missed plays. 

Arch rival: gotta love them.  That’s why it’s a game!

Supportive fans: those are the best and there are tons of them!

At live events, there’s no frustration among fans waiting in long lines.  We’re patient, interactive and social, at least before the game.  Social networks and consumerization of IT have created the expectation with apps, online and mobile experiences that’s easy to use and fun keeping us engaged. 

With all the digital disruption in every industry from retail to manufacturing to banking, this is the perfect place to use technology and data to enhance the customer experience with the Oracle Simphony Cloud

At live events, spending less time in lines should be an easy fix!  The action is what fans like me are most passionate about and it would be the next best thing to be able to enjoy a more interactive, modern experience like this:

 

 


Oracle Blogs | Oracle Marketing Cloud

60% of CMOs Value Brand Experience For Creating Ongoing Relationships

Results of a recent survey revealed that brand managers, CMOs, and event planners around the world are recognizing that sensory brand experiences are a key strategy when it comes to building brand loyalty and staying top of the mind during the purchasing process. If consumers are loyal to your brand, then yours is one of the first names they think of when making a purchasing decision.

The survey was carried out by Freeman, a provider of brand experiences. The experts at the company polled 1,000 professionals in B2B and B2C marketing across North America, Western Europe, and Asia. They discovered that nine out of ten of the people they surveyed confirmed that brand experiences have become a greater central part to their roles than ever before.

The survey also showed that nine out of ten professionals believe that brand experiences offering strong personal interactions created greater levels of brand engagement. Brand engagement is one of the most important parts of marketing.

Evolution In Expectations

The reason that brand experiences are becoming an even bigger part of the marketing process is that the world has seen an evolution in audience expectations. According to Jason Stephen Ali, Director of Marketing forBroadConnect Telecom “It’s never been more important for marketing professionals to take a new approach following an increase in steep competition, the changing demographics, and audiences becoming more sophisticated.”

Over two-thirds of all the survey respondents across the board were in agreement that creating a great brand experience was a key step in achieving the goals of their organization. 59% of the Chief Marketing Officers surveyed value brand experience for creating ongoing relationships.

The report also found that, with marketers recognizing the value brand experiences offer, they are changing how much they spend on creating said experiences. Over one-third of all the CMOs surveyed said they expected that brand experiences will make up 21-50% of their marketing budgets within the next five years.

Three Main Tactics

The three main tactics used by marketers to drive up brand experiences are websites (58%), social media (57%), and through email marketing (51%). Marketers moving ahead of the trend and getting in on immersing their audiences with the brand are taking advantage of interactive marketing tools including touch screens, virtual reality, location mapping, and gamification. Gamification itself is becoming a major part of modern marketing and even staff training.

The report showed that marketers in Asia particularly are moving quickly to adopt immersive and interactive technologies into their brand experiences. Some 42% of Asian marketers are making use of sensory interaction in some way to create a personalized brand experience for their customers, which is much more than the 28% of marketers doing the same thing in North America, and 13% in Western Europe. On top of this, 31% of Asian companies are making use of virtual reality in their brand experiences.

This is over three times as many as the 7-9% of marketers using virtual reality elsewhere in the world. Gamification continues to expand as well, as 22% of Asian companies are making use of gamification compared to the 9 and 13% of their respective counterparts using it.

Every sector is seeing an increase in brand experiences, but there still seems to be a disconnect when analyzing marketing roles within organizations. 48% of CMOs see brand experiences as a great way to showcase their thought leadership and connect with their audience, but only a third of brand managers, and just 28% of event planners are in agreement with this assessment.

Over 58% of CMOs feel that creating a strong brand experience delivers a powerful impact when it comes to connecting their audience to their brand and increasing brand advocacy. The disconnect with this opinion is even greater, as just 13% and 18% of brand managers and event planners respectively agree with their CMOs. It’s up to CMOs to continue to tout the importance of brand experiences and get their contemporaries to agree.

Privacy Is Paramount

Every marketer the world over is fully cognizant of the need for the best possible experience each time, every time with their brand. But with every experience comes more data and with more data comes more responsibility.

"I don't think brands realize just how big and how important data privacy is," said Yosi Yahoudai, founder of JNYLaw. "And consumers are very concerned. Just look at the recent Gigya study which showed nearly 70% are concerned how brands use their personal data."

Moreover there is the soon-to-be-enacted General Data Protection Regulation in the EU, which has been dubbed "the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years." According to the official site the regulation, which goes into effect on May 25, 2018 was designed "to protect and empower all EU citizens data privacy and to reshape the way organizations across the region approach data privacy."

And lest you think because you're brand is not affected if it's not based in the EU, according to Tech Target Being GDPR compliant is not just a concern for the EU.

With just over a year to go until the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation goes into effect, companies need to assess their obligations to be GDPR compliant. Although organizations located outside of the European Union might not give a second thought to EU regulations, the GDPR will affect nearly every organization that does business online, regardless of its geographic location."

With IoT, smart watches, connected vehicles, Alexa and on and on there has never been a in history where more data is being generated every single second of every single day. But just because you as a brand have access to all this data does not mean it is yours to use, necessarily.

Who Should Lead?

As customer expectations continue to rise, businesses need to appoint a senior executive like the Chief Marketing Officer to deliver exceptional, end-to-end customer experiences. It’s a tall order, but if done right, enhanced customer experiences translate into loyalty, repeat business, and revenue.

Download Should The Chief Marketing Officer Oversee The Whole Customer Experience? to learn how businesses can set CMOs up for success using four of Constellation’s primary business research themes, including Next-Generation Customer Experience, Digital Marketing Transformation, Matrix Commerce, and Data to Decisions.

This article first appeared on Forbes

Image source: Pexels


Oracle Blogs | Oracle Marketing Cloud

Designing the Experience: My Ongoing Experiments with Book Trailers and Storytelling

I’ve always been fascinated by Hollywood trailers. So much so, that 10 years ago, I was determined to develop a trailer for my next book at the time, Engage!. Since then, I launched every subsequent book with a trailer. You can see a compilation here.

With my latest book X, I broke that tradition. It wasn’t intentional however. I simply got so caught up with the launch and the following book tour that I couldn’t get to it. That didn’t sit well with me and so I decided to do something about it. Over the last several months, I started a few separate book trailer projects. The first two I’d like to share with you are experiments in that they deviate from my usual approach.

I wanted to share them with you here to get your feedback on which one I should use as one of the official trailers I’m set to debut.

For these two pilots, I partnered with Chief Nina Eric Prospero Torres of NinjaTropic to experiment with alternative takes on what a book trailer could be. In version 1, I emphasize the script and used imagery to visualize the narrative. Since this is a book about designing experiences in a digital economy, I aimed to find the right balance between words, visuals and music to evoke the senses and inspire an action or reaction.

Pilot v1

Pilot v2

Version 2 follows the same script and is visually similar to what you just watched. But with this one, I was distracted by a voice over artist who sounded a lot like Morgan Freeman. I just needed to hear what it sounded like because….Morgan Freeman! While he may not be the best imitator, it was an interesting experience and I’m curious what you think. The challenge here however, is the undulation and pace of a Morgan Freeman-like narrative slows down the experience and adds another minute to the trailer length.

Please let me know what you think and I’d appreciate it if you could share this post.

Thank you!

p.s. I’d also like to say thank you to NinjaTropic and Eric in particular. Thank you for your patience and openness to experiment!

Brian Solis is principal analyst and futurist at Altimeter, the digital analyst group at Prophet, Brian is world renowned keynote speaker and 7x best-selling author. His latest book, X: Where Business Meets Designexplores the future of brand and customer engagement through experience design. Invite him to speak at your event or bring him in to inspire and change executive mindsets.

Connect with Brian!

Twitter: @briansolis
Facebook: TheBrianSolis
LinkedIn: BrianSolis
Instagram: BrianSolis
Youtube: BrianSolisTV
Snapchat: BrianSolis

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Brian Solis

Experience Happens: Design What You Want People to Feel

“Experience” is one of those words that is both aspirational while also meaning something uniquely different to each person who uses the word. No matter who you define it, the important thing to remember is that experiences lie in the value of the beholder.

The reality is that experiences are something you feel, you sense, and they’re defined by the people experiencing them. Whether they’re amazing, meh or terrible, they’re either forgotten or they turn into memories. Either way, reactions and feelings say everything about engagement and how important moments translate into experiences and how those experiences become, or not, shared expressions and memories.

Unfortunately, so much of the work in experience design today does not take into account how someone is going to react, why and what they are going to perceive as they move on. Important moments are often left to chance. All too frequently, moments that matter are solved for by technology, creativity and greenlit from a distant perspective that is probably out of touch with what people want or desire to experience.

In the end, experiences are the same of all moments someone has with you in each touchpoint, throughout their journey and lifecycle.

Experiences take empathy, thoughtfulness and intent. And, that takes design.

I was recently going through some of the archives aka email and I came across an interview with my good friend Minter Dial from SXSW 2016! In the midst of the chaos that is South by, we found the quietest spot available and where we discussed the future of experience design and why the world needs experience architects.

Please listen here or over at iTunes.

Brian Solis is principal analyst and futurist at Altimeter, the digital analyst group at Prophet, Brian is world renowned keynote speaker and 7x best-selling author. His latest book, X: Where Business Meets Designexplores the future of brand and customer engagement through experience design. Invite him to speak at your event or bring him in to inspire and change executive mindsets.

Connect with Brian!

Twitter: @briansolis
Facebook: TheBrianSolis
LinkedIn: BrianSolis
Instagram: BrianSolis
Youtube: BrianSolisTV
Snapchat: BrianSolis

 

 

 

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Brian Solis