The AEX design methodology isn’t just a new name for something. It’s simply a catchall term that I’ve decided to start using to describe all the various aspects needed to properly engage an audience. I’ve written a book on gamification and marketing. And within that, we also explored various aspects of behavioural psychology and business strategy. In the end, I realised that each aspect is inextricably linked with the other. And to simply say that I am a gamification consultant was too limiting for what it was that I, and others, were trying to do, and that was engaging audiences of all shapes and forms.
Therefore Audience Engagement and Experience design seeks to utilise and combine the disciplines of gamification, marketing, behaviourism and strategy, into a framework and methodology that will always have as its aim a positive outcome for both sides, provider and audience.
To offer a better look overall at the methodology, we should probably also look at a company as well, and not just individuals such as Steve Jobs. I thought we’d go for that tried-and-true example that we’ve all seen in every marketing, gamification and so on book, article, and more, Nike.
Yes, I know, if you ever looked up an example of the above named disciplines, you’ll likely come across Nike. And specifically, I imagine Nike+. But that is precisely why I want to use them again, because by the sheer fact that I’ve decided to use them again, and by the fact that if any of you search for something that they appear, means that they are incredibly successful at engaging their audience, or any audience for that matter.
And just for ease of comprehension again, we’ll use the example of Nike+ to illustrate the effectiveness of this campaign.
What is the goal of the message? To promote health and wellbeing by giving their customers a way to track how well they are doing in staying healthy. Additionally, it was a continuation of the emphasis of the company branding for activity and sports. The primary goal, therefore, was to create brand loyalty among current and new audience members. The Nike+ Fuelband allow its users to track their activities, but also to share and compare with others, thus creating an organic community of fitness enthusiasts.
What actions are expected of the audience? For the audience to be able to achieve their fitness goals and be part of the community, they needed to cross the low-effort barriers of getting the fuelband and downloading the app. After that, they could choose how and what they wanted to do. To bring in a psychological motivator here, they were given full autonomy to choose their experience path. Along with this autonomy, Nike would also promote its brand, so to be able to fully achieve your goals with Nike+, you would like to need Nike gear to give you the best chance possible.
What is the outcome of the message? The outcome of Nike’s campaign was that everyone would forever associate a can-do attitude and healthy living with the Nike brand. If you wanted to improve your wellbeing then a whole community would attest to the fact that Nike is the one that helped them achieve just that. And as I said before, the fact that we are still talking about it and that Nike is as popular as ever is a testament to the effectiveness of this goal alignment between them wanting to promote their brand and wanting their audience to stay healthy.
Naturally of course a customer base or audience that is healthy will stay alive longer, meaning you have people who buy your stuff for longer. The paradox with some companies, such as cigarette sellers and unhealthy fast foods, is that they are essentially trying to engage their audience quickly enough and get to buy enough before they keel over. This is not what AEX design is about.