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A new focus on customer experience

How Marvel has transformed the way creative teams win and do work

A 2015 report from Econsultancy and Adobe entitled ‘The Future of Agencies: The progression of agency value in a digital world‘ found that ‘customer experience’ was seen as the most exciting opportunity by the 500 mid-level to senior-level agency practitioners surveyed. The creation of Marvel pre-empted this finding — co-founded by ex-agency employees, Marvel is a product of the creative industry, as much as it is one for the creative industry.

A key takeout from the report was how many agencies are now focusing on customer experience and are “rapidly expanding capabilities to position themselves differently – from delivering services across discrete channels to designing, staging and optimizing experiences across paid/owned/earned channels, and ultimately, to guiding transformations in the client organization itself”.

As one of the leading global marketing and technology agencies, DigitasLBi are at the forefront of this movement. They have 40 offices around the world and more than 6,700 digital experts across strategy, creativity, media and technology. Within their industry they are respected, revered and awarded. Marvel is used throughout the business, bringing customer experience ideas to life in a way that’s changed the way teams communicate, and clients are won over.

“Our Head of Mobile used it on a project first,” said Alan Chu, an Associate Designer at DigitasLBi. “Everyone on his team loved it and then went on to use it on other projects. It’s how things get adopted here. Both Marvel and Sketch made production as fluid as possible, allowing more time for creativity. The integration of the two was a clincher for us.”

“Marvel has rippled through the agency”

“The pregnancy app we built for Mumsnet had some unusual ergonomic and navigational aspects. Marvel allowed us to mock up several variations and test really quickly with mums. The final prototype that we presented to the client was much more compelling as a result and really helped them to trust us and go for it. It was the coolest way to document it and fun to do”.

The report also uncovered the emergence of “a new ‘full-service’ business model … that is blending front-end, marketing, design and communications capabilities with back-end technology and integration”. Helen Fuchs (Executive Creative Director), John Roche (UX Designer), and Alan Chu talked about how Marvel has enabled their blended teams to work holistically across skill sets, timezones and development stages. “We use it in three ways,” explained Roche, “firstly, it allows developers to work more closely with designers. Secondly, it’s a place to show clients our work in context and get a sense of how it will feel. And lastly, we use it for user testing with our client’s customers to be sure it works for them, in their lives”. He went on to describe a project that had one team spanning London, Hong Kong and Nice. “Prototyping used to be quite waterfall. Now, it’s a lovely collaborative thing where the prototype becomes the common point we work on together”, said Fuchs.

Pitching and client meetings is where Marvel has made the most dramatic impact. “I used to have to be really good at mime”, joked Roche as he described the dramatic hand gestures and sound effects he resorted to while presenting paper prototypes or stills to clients. Now, they’re more likely to take phones, pre-loaded with the Marvel prototypes, into the meeting – “It means they can try it out and get a feel for interaction right away”, said Roche. “It’s less of a ‘sit back’ experience,” said Fuchs, “Clients feel more confident, more brave, now it’s not such a leap of faith”. With an impressive client roster that includes Honda, National Trust and Mumsnet, DigitasLBi’s ability to push the boundaries and deliver innovation at scale has never been more important.

“Clients feel more confident, more brave, now it’s not such a leap of faith”

Maintaining value in a digital world relies on agencies having the ability to move fast in design and technology, and giving clients the confidence to be ambitious and bold. Hearing Fuchs, Roche and Chu talk, it’s clear that Marvel is one of the tools helping them to meet those needs every day.

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