Edelman’s Global Experience Director discusses his newly created role and empathetic design

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Taj Reid, the new global director of experience for public relations firm Edelman, believes the next generation of consumers will have no patience for user manuals, guides or guides on how to use new products or services.

“The days of instruction manuals are over,” said Reid.

These ever-rising consumer expectations will be one of Mr Reid’s main concerns in his new role, to which he was promoted in September. He was previously Executive Vice President, Executive Creative Director and Head of Connected Experiences in the United States since 2020.

Edelman, who employs more than 6,000 people in approximately 25 countries, decided she needed an experienced chef because her clients want help in improving both their growth and their clients’ confidence. with diverse audiences and distant markets, said Tristan Roy, global digital president at Edelman.

“Increasingly, these solutions require the fusion of traditional storytelling principles with the best of modern design, technology, creativity and user experience,” Roy said in an email.

Mr. Reid is on his second stint at Edelman, where he first worked from 2014 to 2016 as Vice President and Creative Director. He then joined Microsoft Corp.

as senior creative director of the tech company, overseeing mixed reality team experiences such as feature releases for PowerPoint, Outlook, and HoloLens, an augmented reality headset. He returned to Edelman in 2019.

Mr Reid spoke to the Experience Report over the phone about his new role, the future of marketing and PR experiences, and empathetic design, a concept that revolves around what users think of a product. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

WSJ: Why do you think the public relations, marketing, and advertising industry is creating experience director roles? What do you want to change in your role?

Mr. Reid: When I think about it from the point of view of who joins the team, the young talents coming out of school today, they are well qualified and versed in a myriad of professions.

And it is a reflection of the world in which we operate, where a concept or an idea lives in so many habits.

And the people who use or experience what is created have such high expectations. It’s indicative of the world’s expectations – things that not only work, but anticipate my needs before I need them. Gone are the days of instruction manuals. We need to meet people where they are with what they need, with the anticipation and the know-how to be able to deliver it eagerly.

WSJ: The role of Experience Director is new to Edelman and across the industry. As a person of color stepping into this role, what expectations do you have for yourself?

Mr. Reid: It’s something that I constantly wonder about, it’s really difficult. There are so few people who look like me in the spaces I travel through for work. And I think it’s getting better, but they still have a long way to go.

I recognize that I am gaining more confidence than any of these experiences I have ever had and who I am exactly what makes all the change. And so I hope in my role, I can provide that inspiration to someone that comes along or that opportunity.

I just hope someone can see a vulnerable and transparent black man fighting for fences and going out and trying to bring everyone with them so they can participate and jump into those roles – absent impostor syndrome , in the absence of those doubts and just saying to yourself, “Who I am is enough, and that’s perfect. And I want to participate, I might fail. I agree with that. I just want to go. .

WSJ: You talked about the impact of empathetic design on your time at Microsoft. What does this term mean to you and how will you fit it into your role at Edelman?

Mr. Reid: If you look at the artificial intelligence and machine learning space, I quickly learned that these capabilities are only as good as the information they have. Based on this information, how to expand this data pool? How can we ensure that everyone is included in this information so that the benefits of AI and machine learning flow to the people represented?

WSJ: How has the pandemic affected your thinking about the experience, your new role? Did you learn anything from this?

Mr. Reid: Before the pandemic, across the industry people were very regional: “You can only work here if you can get to the nine to five office every day, living in the area. And that may have excluded people and excluded prospects.

But now, being able to be at a distance, we can harness talents and work with people wherever they are. I’m starting to see more prospects coming.

Write to Ann-Marie Alcántara at [email protected]

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