Posts Tagged ‘Strategy’

Oh no, not another “UX; What does it mean?” debate

Posted on: September 23rd, 2013 by Fransgaard 7 Comments

Image from one of the best Tumblr blogs on the web
Just got home from a fab Monday night with two of my biggest idols in the digital industry: Windahl Finnigan and Steve Hutson.

After a few drinks the debate turned to the definition of User Experience, a topic I have been engaged in for years.

However, I realised I almost never associate myself with UX anymore. I have given up!

The UX industry are all in agreement on the definition of the disciplines of UX and how it is much much more than just User Interface Design or Information Architecture.

But to clients and colleagues “UX” is synonymous with the tactical aspects of UX environment such as UI or Frontend Development. Every time a non-UX person says “User Experience” I know I will need to spend 10-15 minutes luring out what UX means to this person in that context.

And it rarely refers to the strategic elements of UX, but often translates to “make my idea happen”.

However,  the definition “Customer Experience” seems to be much more well-defined in everybody’s minds. Say “CX” and everybody thinks persona, journeys, strategy, ideas and business value. To me this is what User Experience is about.

But if everybody else wants to call it “Customer Experience“… well… I’ll accept that if it means I can get on with the kind of work I like to do, which is helping my clients crystalise their visions of how to connect with their customers.

How to do social media: Microsoft vs Madame Moi

Posted on: March 16th, 2011 by Fransgaard 1 Comment

Microsoft and Madame Moi doesn’t have a lot in common.

Microsoft is a big company; Madame Moi is small.

One deals in fashion the other sells microsoft products (guess who).

…and one gets social media right.

This article is not about Microsoft or Madame Moi as such. You could replace Microsoft with most other big companies and you could replace Madame Moi with an increasing number of young entrepeneurs. But recent the online behaviour of  both Microsoft and Madame Moi in relation to the earthquake disaster in Japan makes them a good example for this article.

Both tried to help the situation in Japan… in hope of positive sentiment from the social web.

Microsoft via Bing posted a tweet asking people to retweet and in return Microsoft would donate $1. It created a backlash.

Madame Moi launched a YouTube video urging people to buy some of her items of which the proceedings would go to Red Cross. So far I’ve only seen a positive response.

Why did one work while the other failed? One isn’t better or worse than the other.

But the way I see it it really comes down to 3 things:

  • Company size
  • Long-term and personal engagement with customers
  • Giving before receiving

Company Size

Had Madame Moi been as big as microsoft she would probably have suffered the same backlash. But size matters in social. The smaller your company is, the more genuine you come across. Big companies almost instantly attracts critics with a syndical view on everything they do. But smaller companies are easier to emphasize with.

That doesn’t mean large companies cannot create the same emotional environment but they have to create a scaled-down, simplified presence of the company. For example Richard Branson is the scaled down version of Virgin. While we may hate Virgin’s faceless customer service we still think Richard’s an alright guy.

Long-term and personal engagement with customers

Many who saw the Bing tweet have no regular interaction with microsoft as a company. So the tweet was read out of context of all the other good things Microsoft do.

Madame Moi’s tweet mainly reached her social sphere of  customers and supporters. They may follow her across her other social profiles as well. They know what she is like as a person and company. They are familiar with how she behaves mixing her personal life with the occasional marketing pokes here and there.

But above all they’ve seen her do this type of charity before and know she genuinely wants to help. They have a personal relationship to the company through her personality.

Giving before receiving

Social is about giving before receiving.

Had Microsoft had just donated $100,000 they would probably have received the retweets the wanted plus they would have mainly been positive. But they didn’t. They expected us to do something before they would commit.

They also made it clear that they were only willing to follow their customers engagement to a certain point namely max $100,000 which in the grand scheme of things doesn’t seem like a lot. So even if you did retweet the Bing tweet, Microsoft may not reciprocate.

Madame Moi is different. She invested time and effort in tweeting about the disaster and create the youtube video. For a small company this is a lot of effort and people, whether they are in marketing or not, appriciate this effort as it comes across as being sincere.


Next time you look for inspiration take a break from the big companies and how they do social and look to the new entrepreneurs and small companies out there run by digital natives who live in the social web.

Madame Moi’s Japan appeal

Follow-up on Rishi Saha’s presentation at Digital Lounge

Posted on: June 9th, 2010 by Fransgaard No Comments

I am quickly becoming a big fan of Digital Lounge. Not only do they seem to be able to dig out quality speakers, they also seem to be able to encourage said speakers to really deliver the juicy stuff.

The latest Digital Lounge featured Rishi Saha, Head of New Media for The Conservatives. I’ve heard Rishi speak before but it was aimed at clients rather than digital professionals. And in many ways the difference is similar to how David Cameron speaks to the general public and how he spoke at Ted; He spoke in sound bites at the more public facing instance and more from the heart and in bigger conceptual strokes at the one aimed at industry people.

Anyway here are a few of my take aways from Rishi’s Digital Lounge. They are tweet shaped as I, as many others,  was tweeting these during his talk. Enjoy.

Prior to 2005 all parties had this silent agreement that if none of us worry about digital communication then it doesn’t exist. However, The Conservative Party wasn’t doing great after the 2005 election and Digital was identified as a way around hostile (towards tories) official news environment.

Digital demanded silos being demolished within the party’s culture. People had to get off their high horses and work together to formulate a combined and coherent strategy.

Digital presents an opportunity to give people better and faster news in competition with the mainstream press. In fact, soon our reach of The Conservatives email marketing will rival those of the big newspapers (the Sun and the Mail).

Getting to know your audience challenges established digital conventions.

  • I think this one is very interesting. Often we, as seasoned digital professionals, make assumptions about how a user group behaves based on experience. However, digital moves so fast that actually asking the users may well show that what we know is no longer how it is.

Show internal sceptics how we will rule digital and prove that digital will not rule us.

  • I wonder whether this is in fact what often stops clients going all out on digital? Whether they are afraid it will run wild and out of control.

Often the things most effective are the ones mainstream media is less interested in. Example mentioned was: When was the last time you saw an article about SEO in a regular newspaper?

Digital industry is some times suffering from an inferiority complex, somewhat driven by the fact that digital is seen as the cheaper (but more measurable/effective) option. We need to get past that and step up and lead the strategy.

  • I don’t 100% agree with this. There is a conversation going on whether digital or traditional print should lead strategy and I think the discussion is redundant in that it should be a combined effort otherwise the product won’t get the complete 360° attention it needs. But there is no doubt digital need to play a much bigger part than it currently does… and I do agree that digital does have an inferiority complex.

Digital communication focussed on the voters (audience) rather than targeting main stream news such as traditional PR would.

Reach the floating voters (undecided audience) with SEO because they are online looking for answers.

Make it easy for the Slacktivists, the ones who aren’t mobilised … but would like to. Reach them via their friends.

Make activists part of it. Give something back (ie. let them meet politicians) make them feel good about spending their money, make them feel it is the right thing to do. in turn they will support and defend you against negative comments.

Don’t forget the bigger picture: Was Twitter mass communication during the Leader’s Debate? With 40,000 vs. the millions watching the TV debate, No it wasn’t. It served a purpose but a limited one.

  • Goes back to measurement. At the end of the day measurement and tracking is nothing without the intelligence and will to decipher and make decisions based on the numbers. And yes, some times it means killing your digital darlings.

All the above is what I took away from the presentation. If you feel anything is missing please feel free to share.