The Art of Creating Stellar Consumer Experiences

Everyone knows that customer experience is an integral part of running a business. No matter how great your product or service may be, it is essential to build a positive relationship and experience for the customer in order to ensure their patronage and loyalty.

But how do you do that?

Last spring, a roomful of professionals congregated in order to answer this very question.

The event, held at the Cambia Health Solutions’ campus and sponsored by Alpha and  Cambia, gathered professionals from a variety of careers to tackle the important topic of the consumer experience. This gathering sought to expand the conversation around the topic,  boasting a panel of experts, the attendees participated in a fast-paced, information-rich discussion to gain perspective on building the customer experience.

The panel was headed up by a colorful team of individuals: Matt Morasky, author of The Art of Opportunity and co-founder of Territory; Nicole Cathcart, Director of Innovation at Cambia; and Parker Mangum, Global Program Line Manager at Nike. Each of these experts brought their wealth of knowledge and experience to the table, maintaining a lively conversation and targeting key points necessary for curating a customer connection.

Territory’s marketing team—me, Rachel Leong, along with Louisa Alstot, and Kylee Sanders—had a chance to interview Matt Morasky after the event in order to pick his brain.

Leong: Who are you? How did you begin? Where did you get your start?

Morasky: Parker and I are colleagues. We’ve known each other for the better part of a decade. We met through our former company where I was hired to be the creative director for the Amsterdam office.

I began as the creative director and then transferred to consulting because I enjoyed facilitating and working through problem-solving with clients, so I have this perspective on both parts of the organization: the visual design/storytelling practice, as well as the methodologies and problem-solving services.

Fast-forward. Parker and I had the opportunity to write a book called, The Art of Opportunity with a colleague of ours, Dr. Marc Sniukas. The publication of [the book] cascaded into us deciding to form a new, innovative design consultancy together. That resulted in Territory.

The Art of Opportunity is part of a bigger picture, and that’s mainly what I was speaking on from an innovation perspective at the event. My role in the book is really about turning abstract theory into a practical application. The theory about “well, this is the way the world should work, and innovation works best in this sort of environment.”  What we do well is making those theories tangible so that people can say, “Oh, that is how you do that. That is how I would bring a group of people together and work through a facilitated workshop.” We provide step-by-step guidelines so people can learn how to do that and do that successfully. It’s a challenge and it’s an art form.

Leong: Can you tell me about the event? Who was there?

Morasky: Cambia’s innovation team sponsored the event. The focus of the event was creating amazing customer experiences. It helped promote Alpha’s value to those in attendance and was a chance for Territory and the The Art of Opportunity, Cambia, and Nike to get out in front of people, It was a win-win-win all around.

Leong: How many people attended?

Morasky: About 50. It was a panel discussion facilitated by Alpha and featured Parker Mangum of Nike, Nicole Cathcart the head of innovation at Cambia, and me.

Leong: Who made up the audience?

Morasky: Other consultants, people from various innovation teams—people interested in innovation and customer experience.

Alstot: Was there anything that the other speakers said that really stood out to you?

Morasky: It was less what they said than the particular angles and insights that they took on customer experience.

I/we (the representatives of Territory and The Art of Opportunity) were more focused on the academic and  the practitioner side of things such as “here’s how you go about doing this, here are the things you should be thinking about.”

Parker Mangum focused on the story. He shared methodology, primarily because Nike already has that really well-defined. They look at a few principles and say, “are these inspiring people to be an athlete?” Because ultimately everybody is an athlete, and Nike is about helping them realize that they’re athletes. So it’s more about how you tell those stores.

Nicole Cathcart focused on “how do we identify the problem we’re trying to solve” and very “human-centric design.”

Leong: Was there anything that was said that didn’t resonate with you?

Morasky: I think you find that in the world of consulting, no one is really ‘wrong.’ Every approach has its merits. It can all be tied back to higher-level strategic objectives.

Leong: What made this event great? For example, if you were going to organize a future event like this, what would you say to convince them to come? What makes it beneficial for people to attend?

Morasky: It was very well facilitated. There were great questions, and there was an opportunity for other people to chime in as well. There was a wide range: consultants, academics, people who are right in the thick of it with Cambia, and a really unique perspective from Nike.

Leong: If you could bring in anyone that you could stand beside and listen to their perspectives on a panel, who would that be?

Morasky: I would be curious as to what Richard Branson has to say about customer experience. He launched Virgin Airlines back in the day, and that was a very different experience. To get his perspective would be awesome.

Also, I would want to get someone who’s not in the business world at all, such as an entertainer. Maybe someone who designs an escape room. That would be a wildly interesting perspective on customer experience.

It’s uncommon to find someone with a really rare idea who has seen it all the way through. So how do those people live? What’s the inspiration they would give to a crew to say ‘here’s what I did to make that happen.’ If you’re not Steve Jobs, and you’re not sitting at the very top of the organization, how do you come up with something and sell it? And build all of the support you need to convince people to actually give it a try? That would be truly fascinating and inspirational.

Leong: So how does your book, The Art of Opportunity, connect you to this event?

Morasky: It links directly to the event in that it’s about innovation and customer—specifically non-customer—understanding. That’s where innovation and experiences begin. So when developing the customer experience, a new product/service, you should always begin with this starting point—this opportunity—to look at a broader field. We bring perspective to how you can do that. The book offers real-world examples and methods for digging up customer/non-customer insights that would inform how you go about building that experience.

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Alpha specializes in procuring Market Research, aiding businesses by providing fast, efficient, and accurate information about their target markets and what they need to know to find their niche.

Cambia Health Solutions is a nonprofit healthcare community that specializes in human-centered, economical, and sustainable healthcare systems.

Nike is a multinational corporation engaged in design, development, manufacturing, and marketing of apparel, footwear, and equipment. They are the largest supplier of sports equipment in the world.

Territory is a global network of consultants, designers, and strategic thinkers that specializes in breaking the mold through focuses on strategy, innovation, transformation, and storytelling.


Rachel Leong

Rachel Leong

Rachel has a passion for creative arts and also enjoys working with people and values the practical aspects of life. She has always pursued excellence, whether in the classroom, in professional interactions, and even in musical performance.


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