Cozy Up To The Consumer

Matthew Creamer of Ad Age has thoughtfully laid out a five-year plan for agency growth.

One of the things I find interesting in his assessment is the emphasis on User-Experience Design, a.k.a. UX.

User-experience design is too often thought of as a digital-marketing task, ensuring that website and app development meet and ideally exceed usability standards. It needs to be something bigger — much bigger — if the ad business wants to remain relevant. Agencies and marketers should think about how the tenets of improving user interaction and user experience can be applied throughout the brand experience, from importation of digital assets and in-store browsing use of call centers. The idea is to get beyond ad-centric ideas that inevitably get lost in the muck of media fragmentation and message overload and to offer brands more ways to reduce friction with their consumers.

The ad business wants to remain relevant. So, let’s put that to bed.

But do brands and their friends in the agency business want to “reduce friction” with consumers? I’m not sure. Friction is heat, and heat keeps people warm and happy. Friction is also connection. Ergo, friction is good.

Maybe I don’t understand Creamer’s use of the word “friction.” I do understand that a poor performing product is friction, as is bad customer service. Unwatchable commercials might also be thought of as friction. So, sure let’s reduce the uncomfortable sandpaper-type of friction, and focus instead on the silk pajamas variety.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.