Customer Experience vs. Customer’s Experience: A Guide to Design-thinking

Nipa Eason, Creative Director

How many of us have seen a campaign that obviously went through a lengthy process of planning but found that its target audience was unable to interpret the intended message? Agencies or communications teams may spend an inordinate amount of time researching and branding a client only to discover that they’ve forgotten to step back and understand the customer.

I’ve created dozens of brands using design thinking and there are some easy steps you can follow to ensure your team does not fall into this trap. Whether you are a CEO or the marketing director authorizing the work, below are important lessons I use to help clients stay on target. 

Step 1. Empathize.

By interviewing clients and potential users, we can uncover pain points that may relate to the problem we’re seeking to solve. This can also help us with messaging and storytelling – the foundation of any solid campaign.

Step 2. Define.

Using our interviews, we can then reframe the original problem in a human-centric way. We can insightfully identify gaps and issues that may arise in the future. 


Step 3. Ideate.

This is the fun part. We gather together and build upon each others’ ideas. This needs to be a safe space free of judgment. 


Step 4. Prototype.

A challenging and important step, prototyping allows us to visualize the user journey. This needs to be built quickly in order to identify issues early on. The goal here is to learn from the process and implement changes to the final product. 


Step 5. Test.

When we’re closer to the final product, we step away. We let other people look at the project. We listen, take advice (to a degree), understand how we’re successfully reaching the goal, and identify our failures. Embrace failure. It helps us understand how we can fix the issues at hand. You may need to repeat this step a few times.


Step 6. Assess.

How are we solving the defined problem? Are there measurable ways that we can show that these problems are being solved? We have to learn to detach from our work and think about it critically in order for it to be the best solution it can be.

Interested in learning how design thinking can help your next project?  

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