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X: The Experience When Business Meets Design Hardcover – October 19, 2015
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From the Inside Flap
Do you know how your customers experience your brand today? Do you know how they really feel? Do you know what they say when you're not around?
Without defining experiences, brands will become victim to whatever people feel and share. In an always-on world where everyone is connected to information and also one another, customer experience is your brand.
Great products are no longer good enough to win in business. Creative marketing and delightful customer service too are not enough to succeed. Success and the future of business is experiential and this is the time to learn how to create and cultivate meaningful experiences.
This isn't your ordinary business book. It was actually designed to be a sensational experience. Its aesthetic is meant to evoke emotion while also giving new perspective and insights to help you win the hearts and minds of your customers. And the design of this book, along with what fills its pages, was done using the principles shared within.
Welcome to a new era of business in which your brand is defined by those who experience it.
The future of business lies in experience architecture and you are the architect.
From the Back Cover
EXPERIENCE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN BUSINESS.
YET, MOST EXECUTIVES AND ENTREPRENEURS NEGLECT THE VALUE OF DESIGNING EXPERIENCES FROM THE ONSET. THEY TALK, BUILD, AND SELL AROUND IT, WHILE STILL MISSING IT. WITH X, YOU WILL LEARN THE IMPORTANCE OF EXPERIENCE AND HOW TO DESIGN EXPERIENCES. WHY? BECAUSE EXPERIENCE IS EVERYTHING. EXPERIENCE IS HUMAN. EXPERIENCE IS SENSORY. THAT'S WHY THE FUTURE OF BRANDING IS EXPERIENCE ARCHITECTURE. IT'S PERSONAL. IT'S CULTURALLY AND CONTEXTUALLY RELEVANT. IT'S ASPIRATIONAL. AS YOU READ THIS BOOK YOU'LL QUICKLY REALIZE THAT IT'S INTENDED TO DELIVER A THOUGHTFUL AND INTENTIONAL EXPERIENCE. AND THAT'S THE POINT.
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So if it is so great, what only four stars? I'll get to that.
What I think X does best is connect experience and brand. We've all known for a long time that a brand is simply a collection of experiences that people have with a product or service that they can bring to mind but few are able to adequately make that connection intentional. This book is the roadmap to becoming the brand of choice, the brand of conversation, the brand of sharing, the brand people buy. It doesn't matter if you are a service company, a product company, brick and mortar or online, the principles all apply.
Throughout the book you'll find many roadmaps that require you to actually do some work to come to the right conclusions for your business but you will if you do the work. The book is also full of well articulated case studies that show the outcome of the work for other companies, you'll find many you can relate to. The book also does a great job of showing you how to anticipate your customers wants and needs and get ahead of the curve in delivering experiences they desire but also experiences they don't even know they want yet and that is the competitive advantage this book gives.
The book is composed of 25 sections. It begins with What Is X and continues through Design, Persona, Storytelling and finishes with section 9.0, This is water - You'll have experienced the journey fully to finally understanding what is meant by the idea of customer experience but more importantly you'll know how to create them for your clients.
The section called The Grid will be of particular importance and may be one of the most profitable pieces of the book. In this section you'll develop a customer map where every ever leads to excellence at every connection. This is where designing your experience starts. The next very important segment of the book is journey mapping, it outlines the journey that your client takes throughout their lifetime with your company. We've often explored the idea of lifetime value of a customer but rarely do we explore what the journey looks like for the customer and where along the journey we can delight and surpass their expectations with experience.
Now here is the hard part and where the book fails and I'm not blaming the author for this at all, but it is the experience of reading the book itself. The book is full color, printed on heavy stock and that is the problem. As you are reading the book you'll come across pages that have a very dark background making them very hard to read in all but the best of light. And, if you want to use this as an actual working book, you'll have to add sticky notes to the book because on many pages you can't make notes in the margin because of the page color. This seems to be an emerging trend with a lot of books but if I can't easily read it and easily highlight it, it loses a star. For a book all about experience, the experience this one delivers is not quite there but that is completely trumped by the information inside. It is worth the aggravation to get the good stuff.
This book has the possibility of helping you create dramatic change in your business, change that will lead to raving fans and profitability. It isn't a fast read and it will take work but it is your roadmap to exceptional customer experiences.
This is a must read for every business owner, customer service team and CEO.
First off this book is gorgeous. The design, which is intentional, is so well done - it's captivating. It's hard not to pick it up and read it. Then you add the expertise that Brian Solis brings to the table and you have a bible of customer experience and how to make customers happy.
Brian Solis is a world renowned marketer, thinker, speaker, and author. His other books are all must reads. His two previous books, What's The Future of Business? and The End of Business as Usual, are books that should be on any business or MBA students' reading list.
I've had the pleasure of talking with Brian on a number of occasions, through social media and via podcasts. He is charming and very approachable. This is exactly what his new book, X: The Experience When Business Meets Design, instills in its readers.
The book was designed by the San Francisco advertising firm Mekanism and the design of the book, as I stated before, is truly a piece of art.
In the X, Solis talks about how it's important for brands to know how your customers experience your brand online. You want them to have a good impression and say good things about your brand. But do you really know what is being said?
"Without defining experiences, brands will become victim to whatever people feel and share," writes Solis. "In an always-on world where everyone is a connected to information and also one another, customer experience is your brand."
Solis couldn't have stated it better. One bad impression can lead to a waterfall of bad publicity and unwanted attention. But on the other hand, one great impression can build a business and lead to immense success. By having a fine-tuned and optimized customer experience, you can get a better handle on how you're viewed in the market.
One of the best thing about his book, besides the immense wisdom that Solis brings to the table, are the bite sized chucks of knowledge at the start of each section.
For example here are some of my favorites:
"Comfort With The Old Must Make Way For The Thrill Of The New"
"If You Empathize With Customers, What You'll See Through Their Eyes Will Surprise You"
"To Design Experiences You Must Experience The Journey For Yourself"
As stated before, this book should be on every business and MBA student's reading list. Even at $30 USD and $36 CAN, it's a must buy.
To conclude, if you're unaware of Brian Solis, or haven't read his books, this book is a great start. Get reading!
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