• Transform magazine
  • July 18, 2024

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Five minutes with Paul Silcox

Paul Silcox Crop

As the executive creative director, brand experience at FutureBrand, Paul Silcox works to ensure brands can forge deeper connections with their audiences. He discusses with Transform the importance of brand experiences, how FutureBrand utilises these ideas and whether clients are beginning to take the field more seriously.

Tell me about the importance of crafting high-quality brand experiences, and how this can lead to companies forging deeper emotional connections with their audiences.

Brand-led experiences are the fabric of what defines a brand’s reputation and relationship with their audiences. They are a pivotal way of making brands tangible and generating sustained success.

Whether the desired role of any given experience is to inspire trust, provide some unexpected inspiration or be inherently useful, the approach needs to follow the same fundamental approach. Mining deep insights into the lives and wants and needs of consumers to meet and surpass their expectations of their interaction with the brand is key. These ultimately inform experiences which must be timely, relevant – and designed and executed beautifully.

Consistency is key to ultimately become trusted, loved and famous – and to find that all important clear space as a valued category leader which most brands strive to achieve.

 

What are some of the more creative ways brand experiences can be utilised?

In contrast to temporary experiences which activate a specific campaign or product, working from the core of the brand out gives a substantial long-term foundation as to how the brand is experienced in ways which shorter term activations might not.

Well considered ‘baked-in’ experiences to the brand can be what builds trust and credibility over time – a haptic vibration from a device on payment, a welcome ritual on arrival at a hotel… these are often not the experiences which win the awards or get the headlines but are often central to building credibility, preference and loyalty.

Of course, complementing these bedrock brand experiences with multi-sensorial, memorable and stand-out elevated experiences are what allows a brand to then connect with audiences fully emotionally in different ways at different times.

Furthermore, it gets interesting when brands can flex around their customers’ actual behaviour. For example, considering loyalty, services and how these mean different things for different types of people. So, it can lead to a deeper understanding of customer behaviour, where we can use emerging tech to support hyper-personalisation.

 

How have you been able to infuse these ideas into your recent work at FutureBrand?

At FutureBrand we focus on making brands tangible through experience, having worked with partners from tech giants to national carrier airlines.

With Air India we have put brand-led experiences at the core of their expression together with their brand strategy and visual identity to ensure they are experienced by people in the real world in the desired way.

Creating undeniable experience ideas for Air India which lean into the idea of unique Indian hospitality allowed us to capitalise on the sub-continent’s rich and unique heritage of service and care. We defined signature rituals, on-board hospitality as well as influencing internal behaviour to ensure their huge workforce had alignment in how they behave and responded in various situations at all given times.

 

Are you seeing this field of brand design started to be taken more seriously by clients?

Very much so. There is often a chasm of meaningful direction which exists between the brand strategy/identity and the briefing to channel leads. This can often result in disconnected and fragmented experiences between channels and touchpoints for the same brand.

Filling this gap with brand-led strategy and creative direction for experience design can inform the meaningful role for channels and touchpoints, ensuring connected and consistent output - and saving time and money for clients and their teams, and elevating output for more memorable and empathetic experience for people.