The 2016 University and College Designer Association conference was no exception. After listening to multiple presenters on a wide variety of topics, five insights emerged that are valid for anyone seeking to communicate with clarity and reach multiple generational audiences with messages that resonate.
The five key takeaways that were consistent in all the sessions are:
- Research matters. Understand your audience, find out what they love, and let that be the focus of your message and design touch points. From behavioral economics to the principle of conversations, you need to pay attention to research. This is critical for marketing to millennials; Trish Witkowski from Folding Factory stated “every touchpoint is an opportunity to create a relationship.” If that sounds familiar, it echoes the Be Social principle from The Cause Manifesto. What it means is that there is no secret formula; it’s all about you empathizing with what matters to your audience and delivering what they need.
- Print and digital must work together. The most effective campaigns are not only achieved through integrated communications, but also with the component of integrated measurement. Please resist the urge to throw out a misattributed Deming or Drucker quote about managing what you can’t measure; neither stated the quote of which you’re thinking.
- Personalization and customization is expected. Personalized communications stand out; customization nurtures a personal connection.
- Design the experience. Digital is not an experience; process is part of the experience. Every touch point your audience encounters is an opportunity to deepen your relationship, and nurture affinity and memorability. It’s what we call The Brand Path; look for more on that in the coming weeks.
- Print still matters. If you’ve moved strongly away from print to digital, you’re missing the opportunity to engage your audience more deeply than digital can. It’s not an opinion, it’s neuroscience—based on sound research. The more senses you can stimulate, the more valuable, authoritative, and memorable the content.
Please consider this for what it is—five takeaways distilled from four days of presentations from design professionals from across the U.S. and Canada, who are charged with communicating the value and relevance of an organization to diverse audiences from Generation Z and Millennials to Baby Boomers and beyond. If you've worked with Aespire, you know we have a knack for distilling the essence of a message or concept, so we’re confident that our insights are accurate.
When you hear from professionals who have increased inbound leads by 250%, are presenting findings based on behavioral research and economics, and have received a top rating from Gartner for their work in experience design and innovation, it’s worth paying attention and putting those principles into practice.