Written by: Ziad Abou Rjeily, Head of the Bold Experience Unit.
I still remember when I started my career, some 15 years ago, as a creative technologist in a digital agency when the word “User Experience” emerged. A few years later, it became a buzzword, credited with the success and failure of many products and brands.
Sure, at that time, the internet was an emerging technology transforming the way we live—a tool to achieve our goals with the least effort at the greatest efficiency. Success was to design experiences that require your audience to spend the least amount of time possible on your website and app with the least amount of clicks.
Back then, “User Experience” had many definitions, yet all revolved around a single idea: “Ease of use.”
The internet grew to become more than just a tool. It became a destination that connects people with their families, friends, and interests. A simple model fueled this exponential growth; Users access content/tools for free in exchange for their data to be used by brands to target them with cost-effective marketing; it Looks like a win-win situation.
But in this picture, some more minor and unnoticed micro trends are emerging, supported by the gen Z (the internet native generation) that don’t perceive the internet as just a tool but a destination.
The first one is the rise in paid content subscriptions which are growing exponentially year after year and are isolating users from the advertising reach. And the second is the growth in ad-blocking software and tighter user privacy settings, reducing digital advertising effectiveness.
The foundation of the last era’s growth is changing today; Our marketing understanding and strategies also have to change.
Here are a few things that we can safely assume moving on:
First, paid media won’t guarantee the reach of our message anymore. We need to bring back focus on quality stories and production and explore new avenues for brand communication and expression. After all, brands aren’t observers of society, they’re part of it and its culture and must act as such.
Second, user experience is now an avenue for brand experience, significantly since users’ expectations of the internet grew with their comfort level and exposure. Today corporate websites and digital products must be a true expression of the brand essence and must deliver differentiated and memorable interactions with the user.
Finally, user-generated content is the new word of mouth. Every brand touchpoint is an opportunity to create something memorable and shareable, whether a product package, digital experience, or on-ground activation.
For more, check out their instagram.