News Flash | Getting Immersed

We’re being asked to create ‘immersive’ experiences more and more. It’s the most loaded word in every digital brief, but what does it actually mean?

Broadly speaking, immersion is defined as “digital technology or images that deeply involve one's senses and may create an altered mental state”. But I would go one step further. For me, a successful immersive experience is one so rich and interactive that the user is willing to be submerged in a brand’s world and take the time to explore it.

Obviously VR can help brands achieve true immersion, but outside of that space, what can we do on the web to achieve that brand-submersion?

• Non-linear narrative – map the concept like a game (and borrow from gaming behaviours), move out of the confines of linear storytelling into a playful matrix that can be explored.
• Great UX – although the landscape may be complex, the way to navigate it still needs to be intuitive. Keep the needs of users front and centre and provide multiple ways for them to explore.
• Rich content – immersive sites fly or die on the production quality and use of the photography, film, animation and audio within them.
• Devices – build the experience around the native behaviours of each device (better still, provide added interactions for multi-device users and little gems specific to mobile). 
• Don’t lose sight of the engagement objectives – what do we want users to do, learn, share or buy and how do we gently steer them towards that? 
• Interactive surprises – if a user is taking the time to explore, how can we reward them? Added content, games, and interactive tools all help to build the immersion and drive engagement.
• Intimacy – Immersive experiences are inherently intimate. Build in techniques to help the user shut the world out, tailor their choices and enjoy the journey!

Some sites that we’ve been losing ourselves in recently:
http://www.bbqcultures.com/ 
https://insideabbeyroad.withgoogle.com (pictured)
http://www.deadliestcatch360.com/ 
http://play.lso.co.uk/ 
http://jviewz.com/

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News Flash | Scratching the Consumer’s Itch

Instead of paying a market researcher millions, simply sit down and have a beer with your consumer. Beck’s Beer took a consumer-led approach to their new limited edition label and it’s propelled them right to the top of Taxi Studio’s wish list.

By creating an aluminium canvas that lets consumers scratch away to create whatever takes their fancy, Beck’s have merged the artistry of their beer with the artistry of their packaging

The drinks industry is a facing an age-old challenge as Generation Y have more and more influence over the way young Brits are consuming their alcohol. Between 2004-2012 alcohol per capita dropped 16% as consumer behaviour shifted away from a UK binge-culture mentality*.

So how do you re-inspire a more positive outlook towards branded drinks whilst negotiating the industry’s domineering regulations? Here at Taxi Studio we never overlook the basics and begin by asking ourselves how consumers literally consume the product. Is there a certain way they play with it? Do they shake it, sip it, gulp it or swig and share it? We all have quirky mannerisms that make us smile and if brands can tap into that unique behaviour, they’ll create a certain brand-love that will outlast their competitors.

Through unlocking a key consumer insight, Beck’s new design establishes a tradition and culture around drinking specifically Beck’s that will engage consumers now and well into the future nights out. It’s witty, it’s fun and it makes you reach for another bottle, job well done.

 

* ‘How Brits Are Really Boozing’. Canvas8. (2014)

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News Flash | A Dose of Reality

With the consumer launch of Oculus Rift just around the corner, Google Cardboard awarded a Grand Prix in Mobile at this year’s Cannes Lions, and Microsoft’s HoloLens getting everyone (especially us) very excited indeed, it looks like brand communication as we know it, could be on the brink of a dramatic shake-up.

So it seemed like a good time to invite the boys from Opposable Group to come and talk VR at our most recent #digitalbrainfood session. It was really interesting to discuss the reality (virtual and practical) of bringing a VR concept to market, and the session left us in no doubt that VR brings the kind of total immersion that other platforms can only dream of… but is it a gamble?

The way I see it is… It is true that we don’t yet know how willingly consumers will integrate VR into their lives (and to what degree). But as the technology moves in to our living rooms, the race for brands to follow it will begin. Plus, a few trailblazers are starting to already gain traction from VR and are building insight from their experiments along the way.

So there is a huge opportunity for Fearless brands to

– Create ‘VR firsts’ (generating a huge buzz for those who get it right)
– Build genuinely immersive connections with their consumers
– And be ahead of the pack when the race begins

All of which has got to be worth exploring, hasn't it?

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News Flash | A Star in the Making

Taxi Creative Partners & Founders Ryan Wills and Spencer Buck went talent searching at D&AD New Blood last week and bagged a future creative superstar in the form of Ryan Panchal.

Ryan’s already an award-winner, having picked up two D&AD Wooden Pencils AND the New Designers Pentland Award recently for his standout creative work.

Ryan Wills (senior) said: “Ryan simply stood out. His book is full of solid creative work backed up with intelligent, strategic thinking. He’s a great fit for Taxi and we’re really looking forward to welcoming Ryan and integrating him into the Taxi family in the coming weeks."

Ryan Panchal (junior) said: "For a long time Taxi have been on my list of dream companies to work for, so to be offered a junior creative role was a huge honour. Their ethos of Fearless Creativity will give me the opportunity for my ideas to flourish and the exciting atmosphere in the studio is an environment I can’t wait to be a part of. I look forward to beginning my adventure in Bristol and working for an agency who’s ambition is to be the best in the UK.”

In other news, Spencer Buck was bagged by the team at D&AD to do a little piece to camera about what the D&AD New Blood Festival means to Taxi… you can hear what he said here

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News Flash | What in the World?!

It’s the beginning of the year, so as your newsfeeds clog up with reviews of 2014 and previews of 2015, here’s our soundtrack to what the future has in store…

1. Hey (big) spender – Post-recession consumers are all about stealth wealth, not flashing your cash.

  • The recession taught us we could spend smarter and now people don’t want to flash their cash – stealth wealth is the name of the game

  • Consumers increasingly want to spend their money on incredible experiences, not ostentatious material goods

  • For those who do want to treat themselves, affordable luxury brands (such as Michael Kors) are where it’s at

 

2. Plug it in – Wearable technology will continue to invade/facilitate your life, and it’s looking better than ever.

  • Wearable technology is destined to become much more fashionable and therefore more widely accepted

  • We’ll continue to be even more in sync with our devices, letting them rule our home (from the ikettle to Google’s Nest or Apple’s Homekit) or using them to collect personal data to share with professionals (e.g. giving health app info to doctors for analysis) 

 

3. Stuck in the middle with you (and you, and you) – Global middle class is growing, fast. And in developed countries their spending habits are influencing supermarket success.

  • By 2030 the global middle class will have more than doubled to 4.9 billion

  • Post-crash middle class in developed countries are living in extremes – interspersing luxury treats with every day discount brands, which has seemingly led to growth in Aldi, Lidl and Waitrose (32%, 20%, 3.4% respectively) but impacted the middle-ground negatively

  • The middle class in Africa is set to explode from 510 billion in 2008 to 0.9 trillion in 2020

 

4. Right here, RIGHT NOW – Brands are continuously working to combat the inconveniences of online shopping to maximise revenue.

  • Global mobile commerce will be worth £390 billion by 2018

  • Increasing trend for immediate gratification when online shopping has led to brands being more innovative with collections and returns - more Click and Collect options, pop ups and lockers for consumer convenience are being introduced and trialled

  • Novelty luxury vending machines – like Selfridges champagne vending machine – are catering to this ‘I want it now’ trend

 

5. Another BRIC in the (crumbling) wall – While many of the ‘classic’ emerging BRIC markets are faltering, MINT are the new ones to watch

  • The ‘classic’ emerging markets Brazil, Russia, India and China’s (BRIC’s) mega growth is faltering, with Brazil falling into recession in August 2014

  • China is the most robust market of these, being the biggest spenders in 2014 (£81.7 billion) & with households earning c$35,000/year set to triple to 80 million by 2022

  • There’s a new acronym in town for the markets to watch and it’s MINT (Morocco, Indonesia, Nigeria, Turkey)

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