courage can't see around corners but goes around them anyway. ~Mignon McLaughlin

What makes a digital rock star?

I have a strange job title: ‘experience planner’. It’s one of those 21st century titles that makes everyone wonder what exactly I do for a living. Well, the heart of it is understanding and crafting digital customer experiences for brands (note: by digital I mean all digital bits from the Web to  social media to mobile services and on). Digital is diffuse now — it’s no longer a channel to be treated in a silo. Technology is intergrated into our daily lives, from ban iphone users to the African fisherman using his mobile phone to locate the port where he’ll get the best price for his fish. It is my job, my mission, my committment to understand people and the role of technologies in their lives and possibilities for improvement through the creation of new products and services.

Brands want to know how to use digital media to connect better with their customers, NGOs want to use it to serve people in need. Those who are accessing the power of digital hold the keys to sucsess, or so they think.

But it takes talent, curiosity and discipline to identify appropriate opportunities, approaches and executions and pave that path forward. Deep understanding the customer is the key to discovering those opportunities. Technology is the enabler, it’s not the answer. When a colleague pointed out this blog post by Michael Estrin, highlighting the thoughts of Kristi VandenBosch, CEO, Publicis & Hal Riney, it made me smile. Especially this part:

“You know, the real geniuses out there are the unsung talent at a lot of digital ad agencies. They may go by a variety of titles — interaction designers, user experience designers, information architects — but what they really do is connect the dots, they think about how the consumer is really behaving; and if they’re really big thinkers, they can extrapolate that into designing how consumers interact with brands in real life. So from a strategy standpoint, it’s about being one of those people who can think and plan for a three-dimensional consumer-brand interaction. If I could start my career over again, I think I’d like to be one of those people.”

I’d like to think our little team at Ogilvy Experience Planning are doing exactly that, and getting better at it every day.

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