Experience Architects vs. Film Directors

In response to the internet, brand expanded from logo, color, and slogan to all the ways in which every stakeholder experiences the company and its services/products. Almost all aspects of a company are now consumer facing or can be exposed quite easily to the public. Ethics and morality aside, integrity is a pressing pragmatic reality for those companies who want to grow and keep their customers.

Enter the Experience Architect. I know, this sounds like another example of novelty job titles, or worse, job title bloat. But this title, or better, this role is crucial in consumer facing companies. Put simply, experience is the 4D version of the brand, and architect is someone who designs and guides a plan. Guide is the right word because total control is unrealistic.

Film direction shares much in common with experience design and architecture save for one critical aspect, total control. Film directors (a.k.a mega control freaks) have total control over what the audience sees and feels. This total control allows the director to utilize deception, theatrics, and facades to create a sense of reality. There is no such thing as total control over the experience for the brand.

Incidentally, this may explain my growing enjoyment for older movies, especially spaghetti westerns (think Clint Eastwood in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.) I appreciate these films especially from a production and direction stand point. Stylistically, they are gritty and simple. But I love discovering the artifacts of production that subtly confess the deception. As film technology has developed so has the ability of film directors to control the experience. The inverse is true for companies trying to control the brand experience. As internet technology has developed so has the ability of consumers to control their experience.

What can your company control? Your company can control the creation a company that is coherent, cohesive, and clear. You can design and build a company that has integrity in every dimension. What can’t you control? Your customers will discover every inconsistency and share it with the world. So in terms of brand, let’s abandon the idea of total control and embrace architecture as the more powerful and appropriate concept for companies.

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