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What Financial Services Firms Can Learn about UX from.... Bacon

One of my favorite selling points is that I come from both inside and outside the financial services industry. In fact, when I was brought in to redesign a site for one of the world’s largest, most recognizable banks a few years ago, I had only minimal financial services exposure.

They brought us in just for that reason - to give a fresh perspective and view on a relatively legacy industry. I had worked for the top brands in technology, hospitality, pharma, consumer packaged goods, food and beverage, ecommerce and more. I used the same proven process successfully with them, so I was 100% confident I could easily apply it in this case. Being in an industry now like financial services, it's even more important to innovate because the industry is changing so quickly. To me it’s simple, understand your user’s needs, innovate around them, and solve them with technology and good user experience.

In an environment where financial services firms are faced with relentless regulatory pressures, many forget the other Know Your Customer (KYC) conversation – UX Design. Demonstrating the critical importance of design and customer experience to business operations, Forrester suggests taking four main design principles and extending them to create what it calls the "customer-obsessed operating model" which would

  • Put customers at the center of their universe,
  • Use insights to anticipate and delight them,
  • Move fast to outpace competitors and disruptors,
  • Connect functions to deliver seamless and differentiated customer experience.

You don’t need to be obsessive about design and notice fingerprints on a windows to successfully implement a user-focused design strategy. Leave that to the designers. But what CIOs, Heads of UX, Digital, Technology and Operations should be thinking about is whether they are solving a user problem and advocating for the strategy, content, workflow, aesthetic and experience customers really want. As an advocate for user experience, I would argue financial services firms can actually learn a lot about the right approach to UX Design from.... Bacon.

How UX Design Can Bring Help Bring Home the Bacon
Three years ago Oscar Mayer had a problem. Everyone knew their hot dog, but no one knew about Oscar Mayer Bacon. When they talked to their customers in focus groups, they were excited to learn that men were actually pretty obsessed with Bacon. And they played off of that knowledge and designed the ‘Say it with Bacon Campaign’ centered around 3 ‘gift boxed’ Bacon products (a Bacon money clip, cufflinks and multitool, promoted over Twitter with a limited 20 item daily run – that always sold out and a video and ad campaign focused on the idea that you give a woman a diamond as a gift and a man, in a carriage, a box of Bacon.

The campaign was a resounding success. It won an Effie award for effectiveness and a Shorty award in the Food and Beverage category because it understood that first and foremost UX design must define the strategy and execution around the user and continuously iterate on the concept based on continuous user feedback and data. According to Nielson, “When all was said and done, the effort had garnered 500 million impressions (70% of which were earned) and Oscar Mayer saw a 53% lift in branded Bacon conversations. More importantly, it helped move product: while sales across the entire category slipped -7.7% due to rising commodity costs, Oscar Mayer’s Bacon sales were up a hearty 3.3%.”


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