Distinguish Your Brand in the Immersive Web

Profile picture for user Zoe Anderson

Zoe Anderson
Client Partnerships Director, Jam3

An immersive website for T.I's new album

I played witness to brands’ torrid relationships with websites throughout my time at Superhero Cheesecake—a boutique digital creative studio founded in the Netherlands with the aim of building premium work for the web—which integrated into Media.Monks earlier this year after merging back in 2016. It's been amazing to see how the indie feel that made Superhero Cheesecake so attractive hasn't been lost in meeting the ever-growing demand for amazing web platforms.

Right now, a need to differentiate and capture first-party data is revitalizing the potential of the web experience. In my new role with the Jam3 team, we focus on combining insight, creativity and technology to align with culture and connect with people. Because websites have become the primary sales support and source of information for audiences once again, they must also pull their weight in building deeper connections with audiences. Yet many designers and development teams are focused on ticking every best practice off the list, resulting in websites that end up looking and feeling the same, lacking the unique spark needed to make an indelible impression with audiences. 

We need to raise the standards and expectations on what a website can achieve—so I say rip up the rulebook and trade best practices for bespoke, premium solutions that forge deeper connections with audiences and immerse them within the world of the brand.

Set Your Brand in Motion—Literally

There’s a saying we like to use: the interface is the brand. It means every experience across the digital ecosystem becomes a direct reflection of its core products and services. So when we set out to build an immersive web experience, we begin by examining the essence of the brand and how to communicate that through a series of moments. What is the emotion we want to trigger with visitors? Building a uniquely differentiated platform starts with defining what you want audiences to feel at every step.

This is where conventional wisdom to stick to standard best practices falls flat. Limiting your website interface to static text and images does little to bring brand moments to life. Interactive elements in particular—think real-time rendering and explorable 3D product models, or even full games themselves—enable user journeys that feel premium and personalized, but even little touches in motion design go far beyond user expectation.

Form Meets Function

Elements like those described above aren’t just for looking good; they can also help translate abstract concepts into tangible, memorable experiences. Product demonstrations are a great example of this. With 3D interactive models, you can break apart a product to explain its various pieces, like an exploded-view diagram.

A 3D animated Lucid Motors car

Above: An animation that highlighted the key features we needed to communicate to the consumer as part of our work with Lucid Motors

This was our approach to building a strong online identity for Lucid Motors, creators of the most luxurious electric cars on the market. We built the user journey around motion visuals and CGI assets that were animated to perfectly highlight key features of the automaker’s technology, including components of the chassis and the battery pack that powers it all.

The scalable platform is also lightning fast. This is an important consideration that can’t be overlooked: when you have resource-intensive, motion-heavy assets and animation, your team must ensure the experience doesn’t slow down and freeze up—especially for those on mobile devices. What’s the highest performance, most flexible way of representing the brand? This is a critical question but one that most production studios skimp out on, sacrificing performance for flashy visuals. But the fluidity of moving through a platform contributes just as much, if not more, to the experience than visual fidelity alone.

Building Effective Experiences

With the rise of the immersive web, much of the work that was once restricted to microsites has made its way onto brand platforms and commerce. Which means truly standing out requires a totally different set of skills than many teams may be accustomed to. Realizing the market need for experiences built upon a foundation of data-driven and strategic insights, we’re scaling up our own capabilities within the Media.Monks team to defy convention and create work that breaks new ground.

What we do is highly specialist—and that can make it tough to find the finest talent in-house to support brands’ growing ambitions. To combat this lack of talent, we recently launched a six-months paid immersive web traineeship to cultivate a pool of specialist creative web developers who have instilled our values and pursuit of perfection from the start.

This means tackling historic challenges like measuring the value of touchpoints like microsites. In the early aughts (when the microsite was king), they lacked the analytics to understand if their million-dollar investments were worth it. The present-day focus on conveying the feeling of a brand may not be as concrete as selling X amount of product, but it’s no longer immeasurable.

The ultimate goal is to forge a connection and relationship with audiences. While today’s immersive web thrives from CMOs willing to take creative risks to build something special, there’s opportunity to bridge together creative UX design, strategy and analytics to eliminate risk and enhance the brand—even without relying on best practices that have sucked the feeling out of the everyday digital experience.

With Wajer Yachts, for example, we used the website to transport visitors to the exact moment of casting off with a yacht in a single click. 360-degree product views and gorgeous imagery of the yachts’ interiors offered a vivid experience and a sensation of ownership. But it didn’t just look good: time spent on the website increased by 250% after launch and generated qualified leads increased by 450%, demonstrating the value of bespoke branded experiences.

The internet in its current form is closing to its end. A new era of immersive, personalized experiences is emerging, as evidenced in recent discussion around the metaverse. As brands aim to build relationships with consumers through bespoke touchpoints, the role of web experiences—enhanced by immersive web technology—has elevated to become an essential space to differentiate the brand and translate it into compelling experiences.

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