Brand Experiences | An Interview with Tara Naismith

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Sometimes it’s about genes, sometimes it’s a family tradition, and sometimes it’s just passion. For Tara Naismith, it’s that she always had a strong connection with art, design and architecture. She studied interior architecture, loving both its emotive and spatial points of view. Leading the hospitality team at Futurebrand Uxus, she immerses herself in her job, creating concepts that satisfies both clients and their customers. “Thanks to our multidisciplinary team covering retail, hospitality, architecture and branding, we can combine the best of both worlds in one space.”

When did you start to work with FutureBrand UXUS?

I started at FutureBrand UXUS in 2013, now it has grown into one of the leading brand experience design firms globally. My first projects were more focused on creating new food and beverage brands for travel hospitality, which was very interesting because we used to build the brands from scratch, including their story, the food offer and the experience. I then started working on more holistic redevelopment projects for large hotel groups and their brands, one of the biggest restaurant franchises in the world, and a series of luxury brand experience concepts.

We read that FutureBrand UXUS’s goal is to re-invent brands, how do you do that through design?

We often translate the brand story not just into the shape language, materials and communication, but also into new signature touch points and services that become iconic for the brand. Although we always strive to create beautiful environments, the design is a canvas for an amazing customer experience first rather than design for its own sake.

"At Futurebrand UXUS, we always approach brand experiences from an emotional and psychological point of view. We look at new consumer behaviours to shape our ideas, drawing from larger societal shifts and lifestyle changes."

What do you think the customer experience should be like?

It connects people to the brand in more emotive and sensorial ways, always inspiring them to return again.

"A good customer experience is like a good story: it engages you, leads you in to explore more and captures imagination with carefully staged high points throughout."

What are hospitality design values, challenges and goals?

Comfort and wellbeing are always a major goal in hospitality design. You want people to enjoy the space and spend their time there without any constraints. The space planning and flow are also crucial to make sure that the experience is intuitive and easy to navigate. It’s important to create diverse and layered spaces that give rhythm to the environment and tailor to different needs. Both natural and artificial light has to be well thought through to set the mood and allow the space to transform from day to night. One of the most important things for hospitality projects is the sensorial aspect: you want to engage all the senses!

Where do you get your inspiration from?

It’s important to step out of your context and see other things that at first might not seem relevant. Travel, visiting inspiring art and design exhibitions or even walking down the street can all bring you that spark of creativity.

What advice do you have for who is entering the hospitality world?

The best advice for me is to always think more strategically and think about the customer/user first and what they get from it rather than focusing only on the aesthetics.

Is there something you tell yourself to keep yourself motivated?

It’s usually the people around me that inspire and motivate me. I strive in very collaborative environments and try to nurture them in my team as well, so we can always support and motivate each other. This beats any mottos or resolutions.

By: Martina Ronchetti