Schulich marketing Professors Markus Giesler and Ela Veresiu have made strides in broadening the scope and understanding of customer experience design.
In October 2014, they published the first marketing-oriented, in-depth, scholarly investigation of the World Economic Forum in the Journal of Consumer Research. Their findings show how the forum has used design principles and culture to shape the customer experience.
“We wanted to study how the World Economic Forum policy affects consumers on an everyday level,” Giesler said.
The annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, has helped design four different types of consumer identities, he said, including: the bottom-of-the-pyramid consumer; the green consumer; the health-conscious consumer; and the financially literate consumer.
Using global warming as an example, the study explains how the forum has shifted global risks from corporations and governments towards individual consumers. From fair-trade coffee and fitness watches to ethical finance products and intelligent thermostats, customer experience shapes decision-making.
“When we, as consumers, think of global issues, we try to address those through better consumption decisions,” said Gielser. “Global warming to us means buying a hybrid car or eating organic food, and that is in part because the World Economic Forum has shifted our perception morally. What we think is right and wrong today is different from 10 years ago.”
On a grander scale, customer experience design also addresses consumer decision-making on a political level.
“What we do in our research at Schulich in the Big Design Lab is not just examine retail design, but also the design of political spaces, and how consumers respond to a global situation, make smarter decisions and experience the global risk in such a way to help solve larger problems,” Giesler said. “It is an instrument politicians use to design policies around experiences rather than rules and regulations.”
Giesler and Veresiu have attended the annual forum each year for eight years, gathering research for the study.
Giesler will chair a Big Design Lab Roundtable in Davos later this year.