“Margaret” Goes to Forrester

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by: David Armano

Well, today I got to attend the Forrester “Humanizing The Digital Experience” event.  Actually, Margaret—one of my colleagues couldn’t make it today, so I went in her place.  That’s right, I was the guy with the dark hair, rectangle specs and “Margaret” on my name tag.  Yeah, I got a few looks.  Well, only in the morning—the kind folks at Forrester reprinted a nametag for me.

The one session today that stood out to me was from Jeff Hicks, President and CEO of Crispin Porter + Bogusky.  Jeff had a few interesting things to say, and of course Crispin does wonderful work, but what really encouraged me was that he stressed the strong linkage that advertising needs to have with the product.  He cited Burger King as an example where Crispin is doing a lot of messaging on the packaging itself (talk about getting close to the product).  I especially liked this line:

“Make the product the advertising”

And then Jeff went on to explain how CP+B helped persuade Volkswagon to change the Golf back into the Rabbit because consumers had strong emotional ties with that product.

“We want to embed marketing within the brand”

Of course there was still talk of the big idea leading the way (after anthropological rersearch to inform those ideas), but no mention of big bloated strategies.  And this was a nice simple thought as well:

“Some brands have momentum, some don’t.  We create momentum for the brands we work with”.

Maybe not the exact words, but pretty close.  So as far as marketing and storytelling goes, that’s a nice way to summarize it.  And I have to say, I was really impressed with Peter Kim’s performance (that’s peter in the pic, over on the right).  Peter provided a great set-up and came across really relaxed and professional during the Q+A.

Now, earlier in the morning Harley Manning took the stage and talked “Human Centered Design”.  I guess this ends the debate about using the term “user”, “consumer”, or “customer”.  We’re designing for humans dammit!  🙂  Actually, I have no problem with the phrase human centric—but I still like using the other labels when appropriate as they help me define design challenges:

Harley was highly energetic and inteligent.  He’s immensely engaging and makes a great case for smart interactive design and the benefits of this to business.  I have to say that whenever I hear the case for great digital experiences it always makes me think of  this whitepaper from Kevin Mullet of Macromedia.—I highly recommend printing it out and giving a read (don’t let the 2003 date fool you).  It’s a nice synopsis of taking principals from books like The Experience Economy and making them applicable to Digital Experience Design in a practical way.  The visual below is from the whitepaper:

Useful, Useable, Desirable—these all came up at the conference (I’ve referenced Kevin’s criteria before as it’s a pithy way to capture the key ingredients to a successful experience.  I would also add sustainable to it).

And lastly but certainly not leastly I got to have breakfast with two wonderful people and bloggers (they blogged at the official Forrester event blog).  Christopher Carfi and Marianne Richmond.  Further proof that bloggers are real decent folk (and just plain real).  Chris and Marianne were more than happy to share a good chunk of their morning with me over a cup of coffee.  They could have been out and about doing the networking thing, but we all just hung out instead.  Christopher and Marianne, thank you both for the great conversation and company (Chris, don’t forget to say hi to Mom for me).

Well, those are my brief highlights from a brief day.  Thanks Margaret, and thanks Forrester for a putting on a good show.  Oh , before I forget…  one thing that absolutely blew me away.  I kind of suspected that Chris and Marianne might have known of me, but I was astonished at how many people in the industry actually follow L+E.  So there may be a new dynamic at these kinds of conferences: The hosts (Forrester), The Sponsors, The Attendees, and the Attendee/bloggers all mixing it up both digitally and physically.  Maybe you’ll be blogging at your next event?

Original Post: http://darmano.typepad.com/logic_emotion/2006/10/margaret_goes_t.html