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BMW + SCAD Collaboration

During my 2018 spring quarter, I earned the opportunity to collaborate on a multidisciplinary team with BMW for a 10 week duration. Companies such as BMW seek out SCAD to receive creative input and solutions from top student designers. This program allows transparency between top industry clients and world problems in which designers are needed for.


14 Students. 10 Different disciplines. 1 Creative team.


Brief

SCAD collaborated with BMW to develop concepts that leverage individual vehicle usage data to create new educational experiences. Through personalized and entertaining forms of information we aimed to develop ways to optimize the educational relationship between BMW and customers.


The Team

Left to Right Top : Manuel Garcia, Kelly Benton, Harper Hunt, Julia Wheatley, Lorenza Ruiz, Dmitry Dubodel, Meghan Grable, Morgan Hayes  Left to Right Bottom : Patricia Covarrubia, Ashley Pimenta, Luisa Fuentes, Radhiah Ibrahim, Kim Valentinsson, Cindy Reyes

Left to Right Top : Manuel Garcia, Kelly Benton, Harper Hunt, Julia Wheatley, Lorenza Ruiz, Dmitry Dubodel, Meghan Grable, Morgan Hayes

Left to Right Bottom : Patricia Covarrubia, Ashley Pimenta, Luisa Fuentes, Radhiah Ibrahim, Kim Valentinsson, Cindy Reyes

My Role

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Early on in this project we established a communal work style. With such a wide variety of skill sets and background, we wanted to ensure that individuals were able to bounce around and apply expertise where it was needed. With this being said, I wore many hats throughout this project. I started off as a heavy contributor to the communication channel research phase. After given the focus features from BMW analytics, I targeted my research to learning about spaces and situations where people subconsciously and consciously interact with their car. I conducted field research at a nearby dealership to learn more about the features and how the salesman would sell features to a consumer. For the purpose of concept development, I began looking into learning styles and how one might best interpret and understand our message. After collecting great data through our research, I wanted to showcase it in a more visual way. I led an infographics team and produced the ideas we came up with to best demonstrate our findings. The data synthesis process to create concepts was filed with ideas from each team member. Once we had narrowed down the concepts we wanted to produce, I became an amateur film director and actor. By the end, this had been the most rewarding and educational project I had ever been on.


Quick Summary : Final Presentation Key Points


See our work Live on BMW’s Instagram! (published Sept. 2018)


The Process


01 Research : Communication Channels

We began the brief by collecting data that enhanced our understanding of network communication. We analyzed both social media networks and emerging technologies along with each of their affordances. We identified the different types of learning styles and determined which communication platforms best fit a particular individual.

Communication Channel Visual


02 Research : Learning Styles

Based on the notion that people learn in different ways (Sarasin. 1999), we conducted primary and secondary research to understand how this impacted our objective to educate BMW customers. We learned that when information is transferred through a method that resonates most with a customer's key learning style the educational curve is also most successful. The following table summarizes our secondary research.


Auditory Learning

Descriptors/Behaviors

  • Reflective

  • Expands on topics

  • Request oral repetitions

  • Achievement-oriented

  • Perceptual / conceptual

Teaching Strategies

  • Lecture

  • Oral directions

  • Discussion

  • Independent tasks

  • Programmed instruction

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 Visual Learning

Descriptors/Behaviors

  • Active

  • Reflective

  • Visual imaging

  • Outlining

Teaching Strategies

  • Visual forms

  • Environmental influences

  • Modeling

  • Presentations

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Kinesthetic Learning

Descriptors/Behaviors

  • Physical by nature

  • Behavioral

  • Hands-on

  • Learns by doing

  • Interacts with resources

Teaching Strategies

  • Demonstration

  • Direct contact

  • Experimental learning

  • Simulation

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03 Research : Educational Funnel

Educational Funnel

04 Research : VITA Conclusion

We realized that we could use different methods and formats to frame our concepts to push them through various platforms. These would touch on the different learning styles and could be sent to specific customers. What channel is most appropriate to teach certain tasks, knowing that people respond different learning styles? How can we build something that is easy to digest? Through what channels should people access this information? We used the rapid sketching tool to come up with different ideas on how to represent the information.

Image

Through an image, or flow of images, we will attempt to educate our customer of the different features within their car.

Video

Youtube, Facebook, Vimeo, and similar information networks are becoming the popular way to consume visual information on mobile or online platforms (Lister 2018)

Audio

Podcasts, radio, Spotify, and other streaming services allow for the opportunity to push content that is purely audio.

Text

Text is important to educate a customer when the situation is complex. However, too much text can be overwhelming. We will need to find a proper balance.


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01 Understanding : Driver's Motivation

Collectively, we brainstormed the different things that motivated us to drive. We clustered the similar ideas and generated a two by two matrix that could visually inform us on how we could better approach a customer. The following chart shows the motivations and where they fall in relation to practical vs. emotional and internal vs. external motivations.

Understanding that people have different motivations to learn things made us realize the importance of personalizing our ideas. Besides the learning styles, the content of a message should be personalized in ways that would make customers want to learn a skill or know more about it. After affinitizing the chart above we found 5 overarching categories that we based our concepts off of. The categories are: connection, competition, legacy, sense of belonging, and socializing.


02 Understanding : Personalization and Push mechanism

We needed to encourage BMW customers to be receptive towards learning about their vehicles. The only way we could achieve this was by making them feel as if we were talking to them directly; but unlike a broad advertisement, this had to be a personal note. By specifically targeting the features that each driver is neglecting, we were able to provide instructions that felt personally curated and would be welcomed instead of being rejected as broad assumptions.

We needed our content to be pushed and not actively searched for. By providing personalized education, we are able to frame the content as entertainment and not as an inconvenient task one has to search for.

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Ideation

01 Ideation : Trial and Error

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Our most relevant patterns of data revealed through which channels we would be basing our concepts in. It was important to keep in mind the purpose for each digital platform (social media and entertainment) as well as explore new and emerging technologies as options for our concepts. Looking at the volume of traffic and popularity of each platform, we focused on identifying the types and amounts of content generated in correlation to their effectiveness with each targeted audience. As a result, we brainstormed in small teams and all together selected the best outputs for each of our ideas. Through our brainstorming we found connections that were universally understood patterns found in the different learning processes.


02 Ideation : Concept Sketching

We differentiate ways to access a feature and then combined similar ideas to produce stronger concepts. We pushed ourselves to produce more rapid sketching and challenged our initial assumptions.

We differentiate ways to access a feature and then combined similar ideas to produce stronger concepts. We pushed ourselves to produce more rapid sketching and challenged our initial assumptions.


03 Ideation : Concepts

These concepts were directly from our rapid sketch exercise. We created higher fidelity mockups to showcase to BMW Group the direction we were headed in. The mockups were purposefully done on the platforms that indicated best fit from our research.


Brand Character

The animation and illustration team designed a brand character or mascot to possibly be featured in the content we created.


3-Panel Story

The three panel image story allows for a range of flexible executions that can provide a short, structured narrative premise within a very compact format. Ideally summarized as beginning, middle, and end - or problem, process and solution, these simple pieces can be placed in all the same places as the single panel image as still images, while extending into micro-narrative carriers, such as Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook stories as short time based pieces.

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Video

Video is the most flexible "container" for media as it can integrate audio, graphics, moving images, stills and weave these all into complex time based sequences. Video can be considered the base production form, as by shooting it in a high resolution, assets for other still image pieces can be extracted. Video also allows the widest range of learning styles to be accommodated, and the integration of different media elements and the flexibility of narrative and demonstration can provide detailed information for educational scenarios.


01 Edutaining : Final Concepts

Media in the learning context needs to be both pleasurable and educational. Pleasure draws us in to the work, and education highlights specific features that we want to provide information about. Making each concept edutaining, from video to a single image makes the message accessible and relatable to the audience. By entertaining, we make the work about the story and its characters and not about the learners deficit in knowledge. In this way, the user is involved and not estranged.

Our Final Concepts:

  1. Flower Bed / Save Your Darlings

  2. Wife Hacks

  3. Road Adventures

  4. Father & Daughter / The Milky Way

  5. Gluten is the New Black


Concept 1 : Flower Bed / Save Your Darlings

Concept overview

Reverse into the driveway with the assistance of the mirror switch to avoid running over the newly planted flower beds! The mirror switch is a universal feature that is encompassed by three steps. We aimed to highlight these touch points in a precise manner. We brainstormed practical narratives that occur daily rather than singular situations that are highly comedic. This function is simple and we wanted to keep it that way.

Media Platform

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Hulu, Vimeo, YouTube, Snapchat, Amazon Prime Video, Twitch


Concept 2 : Wife Hacks

Concept overview

Two women who are in a relationship are talking on the phone. Woman #1 is in the BMW and forgets the restaurant where she is meeting woman #2 for date night. Woman #1 remembers she saved the address in her bookmarks! Her wife will never know she forgot the location of her favorite restaurant. Minimize what you need to memorize with the bookmark function. Save locations, phone numbers, and other iDrive Functions with the touch of a button.

Media Platform

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Hulu, Vimeo, YouTube, Snapchat, Amazon Prime Video, Twitch


Concept 3 : Road Adventures

Concept overview

Friends throw backpacks into the car and set out onto the open road. One friend reminds the group of their speeding tickets on the last road trip. The driver informs his friends that with adaptive cruise control they have nothing to worry about. This feature was the most challenging to create an edutainment narrative while simultaneously explaining a scenario when this feature is most applicable. We believe this function is best applied in a highway or interstate context when the car is surrounded by other vehicles. Given our resources and capabilities we decided to explain the feature through a road trip narrative when the driver's focus may be on his friends more than staying within the speed limit.

Media Platform

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Hulu, Vimeo, YouTube, Snapchat, Amazon Prime Video, Twitch


Concept 4 : Father & Daughter / The Milky Way

Concept overview

A daughter who just received her driver's license offers to run errands for her father as an excuse to drive. When the daughter gets into the car, she realizes that she has forgotten the location of the grocery store. Her father sends her the store location to the BMW through the Connected Drive app. In this scenario we present a narrative including the novice and the expert to edutain the customer using an all inclusive approach.

Media Platform

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Hulu, Vimeo, YouTube, Snapchat, Amazon Prime Video, Twitch


Concept 5 : Gluten is the new black

Concept overview

A husband forgets the specific gluten-free grocery store that his wife shops at. On the phone she tells him it is Lucky's Market on Abercorn St. He looks it up on the iDrive navigation and realizes he should save this address for next time. He holds down a bookmark button and the address is saved. Bookmarks are buttons which allow you to save contacts, destinations, and other iDrive functions you use the most.

Media Platform

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Hulu, Vimeo, YouTube, Snapchat, Amazon Prime Video, Twitch


01 Thank you : Reflection

As designers we must know how to work within uncertainty. Embracing ambiguity allowed us to maintain creativity and keep an objective perspective towards accomplishing the task at hand. We trusted our colleagues and believed in the process when there was a lack of structure.

Digging deep into a question, dissecting it, and asking "why" was necessary to comprehend what we were doing. This analytical approach contributed to our ability to finalize our concepts. Furthermore we learned to get rid of ideas that were no longer useful to the project or did not communicate the core message.

I would like to thank our professors, John Colette and Louis Baker, for a great quarter. This project was propelled by their enthusiasm and confidence in us as a team.