Jeremiah Knight, group account director of digital at Lexus' AOR, Team One, is heading up major changes in Lexus' online position, including a redesign of the lexus.com. At the core of the changes are customer service, scalability, simplicity and engagement, he explains. Knight tells Marketing Daily that the kind of work he's doing for the luxury auto brand would not be possible if digital were siloed at the agency -- so all interactions with marketers were secondhand.
"The result of that is an artificial understanding of a client's problems," he says. "At Team One, where I've had an opportunity to grow my own team for Lexus, we have been able to do amazing fundamentals work." He says having a direct line to marketers helps put a lid on the tendency among digital planners and developers to do technology because it's new, and maybe aesthetically cool. "It's less technology for the sake of technology and more of a focus on real consumer-centric utility, which I admit is a word that kind of has a negative connotation; but if you look at what people most often want, it's utility. The most beautiful executions have great utility."
That philosophy, he says, is central to Team One's "perpetual-data kaizen" philosophy [kaizen is a Japanese term for constant improvement in product and production]. The goal, through a rolling upgrade of Lexus.com, is to make it easier for consumers to digest information, and to make the template viable on all screens. "The older template was very text-heavy and tab-focused, and was not therefore designed for ingestion on smartphones or mobile, and it wasn't 'future proof' in terms of new devices," he says. "We were interested in responsive design." That means one template one server instantly scalable to any screen versus the redundant labor-intensive practice of doing multiple templates for multiple devices, he explains. "If you go to a small-aspect ratio like a smartphone, responsive design means the experience changes. You publish once and make it scalable."
Knight says another focus at lexus.com is easy-to-share content. "Our responsibility at the page level is enabling that behavior partly by [focusing on] bite-sized social content, including videos and photos." The idea is that if someone wants to show a friend a photo of, say, a Lexus ES, they don't have to send the entire page or URL, but can extract just the photo. "That content should be unlockable and shareable."