With retail markets changing daily, brands face constant challenges to remain relevant to consumers. The high-end luxury market is even more difficult due to traditions set in place. For brands that have been around decades, their lineage and tradition makes it difficult to experiment quickly and make changes. During the 2016 LEF class, I had the opportunity to work with Hermès along with 4 MBA students (Columbia), 2 Fashion students (Parsons), and 1 Communication Design Student (Parsons) to create a 360° marketing campaign for the classic 90x90 Scarves.
User Experience, User Research, Wireframing, Scenario Mapping, Rapid Prototyping, Visual Design
With a 180 years of tradition, Hermès is positioned at the highest end of the luxury market. With a diverse range of products, Hermès has just about anything for anyone.
The brief given to us was simple: Develop a business and marketing for the Hermès Classic 90x90 Scarves with an emphasis on presenting, designing, and marketing the product in an innovative, technologically savvy approach.
Without any prior knowledge, we focused our research on a breadth of areas including background information on the brand (history, products, collaborations, events, etc), in-store visits, user interviews and competitive analysis across brands (store and digital).
We were given the opportunity to interview a wide spectrum of employees from Hermès and also millennials from a variety of backgrounds.
The in-store analysis was conducted to determine what the experience was across the stores and whether they were consistent. This research later informed the type of recommendations we made to Hermès.
The research on the use of social media helped inform what type of digital marketing strategy would be best for Hermès. With a large focus of activity surrounding the Scarf already, it was more about optimizing certain content for millennials as opposed to the general audience.
This open-ended brief allowed the team to explore a variety of different goals and solutions. To prevent ourselves from entering a rabbit-hole of ideas, we decided to focus our research on millennials.
An Experience Map was created to help inform the team what type of recommendations we wanted to put forth. To connect with millennials, we understood how important connecting via mobile was. We broke down the customer experience into 4 sections with each being connected to the phone.
VIRTUAL SCARF TRY-ON
One of the first recommendations we made was the Silk Knots app. Hermès has an extensive database on all of their Scarves. The integration of a virtual try-on is an opportunity to engage millennials in their comfort zone.
Hermès has been experimenting with AR and with interest in technology-driven methods to engage customers, the Origami Box is an extension of the experience.
The Silk Salon is a dedicated section within a Hermès store for guests to see the Scarf fully opened. During our research, we realized how restricted the experience was with Scarves placed inside a cabinet. Jean-Louis Dumas mentioned that the scarves are best viewed from a distance to best showcase the design and craftsmanship. The Silk Salon serves this very purpose and to increase engagement with the product.
Scarf Tiles is an immersive installation similar to the yellow brick road in the Wizard of Oz. As guests enter the store, their movements are tracked and scarves are projected onto the floor. A road is created that leads them into the Silk Salon.
WHAT I LEARNED
The experience map helped identify a variety of different touch points and over the course of 2 weeks, the team came up with 15 concepts and narrowed it to 5 (only 4 can be shown here) ideas.
This opportunity to work hand-in-hand with MBA students was a valuable experience in terms of aligning business goals with design. With 4 presentations over the course of 3.5 months, this tight schedule tested my ability as a designer to carry out my responsibilities while aligning views with the MBA students. Especially with the client coming from a background of heritage and tradition, learning to put aside my own ego and providing the best solutions under the particular circumstances was a valuable learning opportunity.
Being paired with a MBA student also exposed me to a different type of confidence. Before this project, I approached design from a consulting perspective. Yet at the end of day, we are selling our designs to a client. Watching my partner conduct user interviews and present our findings taught me a side of presentation that I will for sure in the future.
While hectic, this four-month long project provided lots of learning opportunities and allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and usual design process. While we can have a general format, the steps in which we conduct UX design has its flexibility. Certain steps can be omitted whereas others need to be enforced.