September 20, 2012

Meet the Roost | Q&A with Aaron Spiess

Our Meet the Roost series gives you a glimpse at the strategic, collaborative associates who lead Big Red Rooster’s client engagements. Today we’ll introduce you to our President, Co-CEO, and 2012 DDI Magazine Retail Design Luminaries award winner, Aaron Spiess. 

Describe your current role and responsibilities.

As Big Red Rooster’s co-founder, president, and co-CEO, I touch many aspects of our business. I find myself playing two large roles: shaping Big Red Rooster’s strategic vision while also discovering our clients’ strategic visions.

My role allows me to help clients understand the possibilities. I love bringing clients and the right talent together to solve problems and achieve the ultimate journey.

I’m so passionate about being in front of unbelievable clients and teams. It’s a joy to partner with large global brands to create experiences, tell their stories, and bring big ideas to fruition. Storytelling plays a significant role in our process.

You always talk about creating “brand experiences.” Why are these so vital?

Brands don’t live in logos; they live in experiences.

Whether it’s packaging, people, product design, digital, social, visual merchandising, architecture, or store design, it’s all about one customer journey. We must understand this journey and how different elements relate to one another. The industry’s future relies on identifying and coaching these brand journeys.

As strategists and designers, we all have the same customers/consumers/shoppers/end users. Yet they’re changing every day. We (as strategists and designers) work with more mediums and are responsible for more channels than ever. We enter conversations with consumers through multiple portals, yet the story must remain consistent.

We’re not just designing stores or products. We’re influencing consumers’ experiences and expressing a brand through the environment, the sounds, the smells, tastes and the people. It’s not easy, and that’s why I’ve surrounded myself with great global talent that can problem solve and create amazing experiences.

What role will technology play in retail’s future?

Technology is moving at a rate beyond our imaginations, and it’s not going to slow down. The approaches, methodologies, and speed are completely transformational. It will forever redefine retail’s landscape.

Our industry is always talking about omnichannel experiences. We look at fragmented communication channels and bring them into one united customer experience. Mobile, digital and social must be taken into consideration as we design for the future. In fact, we should be the ones stewarding social/local/mobile (SoLoMo) integration.

Stores and products will always exist. It all starts with two elements: the product and the consumer. If we design to reflect this notion, then the future looks pretty bright.

What inspires you?

The diversity of our work and the possibilities inspire me.

One day we’re working on high-end luxury apparel; the next day, we’re working with an automotive parts supplier or a healthcare system. The diversity is unbelievable, and it’s 100 percent grounded in the consumer/user/customer/shopper experience. Our stewardship is to ensure experiences are realized. It’s all about the balance between the artisan and commerce sides of our business.

What drives you?  

The possibilities and the people drive me. Watching how design influences business is incredible. It’s also amazing to watch our team interpret information and apply it to strategically through design.

What’s your favorite aspect about working in the marketing services and design industries? 

I feel like a kid. I get to play in the world of brands every day, and I love it. There’s always something more to learn and to experience. I can’t think of a better profession to be in.