What it means to be a brand experience engineer

Drew, Junior Strategist,

‘Engineering’ comes from the Latin word ‘ingenium’, meaning an innate disposition or ability. This evolved in Modern English to ‘ingenuity’, which is the aptness to problem solving, cleverness in design and skill in devising.

At Rufus Leonard, we are brand experience engineers – creative but efficient problem solvers, delivering work which makes a real impact on people. Why is this important? Because in an increasingly complex world delivering consistent, connected and meaningful brand experiences is a challenge. And we believe you need an engineering mind-set, with the imagination to define a vision and attention to detail to make it happen. 

As engineers, we are curious to know how things work, passionate to make things better and aspire to create totally new things that no one has ever seen before. All with the goal in mind to improve lifes and impact people. This makes Rufus a vibrant and dynamic place to be, with creative people from all backgrounds, coming together to create something special. Being a brand experience engineer means something different to people across the agency and these are some of their stories. 


Emily Pearce, Copywriter

Q1: What does being a brand experience engineer mean to you?

Considering the bigger picture. To me, it means thinking about the wider context in which a user, audience or consumer will see or interact with the thing you produce. That way you can create something that feels more joined-up and connected.  

Q2: How do you balance visionary thinking and detailed doing during your day-to-day?

As a copywriter, visionary thinking is about being empathic, constantly putting yourself in the shoes of your client and their consumer, in order to write for them. Whereas the detailed doing is having a real understanding of the nuances in writing. Changing something slightly in copy can often make a huge difference – just like swapping out a comma. For a full stop.

  


Rebecca Vickery, Account Director

Q1: What does being a brand experience engineer mean to you?

For me, the core of being a brand experience engineer is not only having a deep understanding of human behaviour and motivations but having a real passion for it. As with any relationship in life, the connection between a brand and customer should be based on trust, common interests and emotionally charged. As brand experience engineers, it’s our superpower at Rufus to create experiences that will ultimately result in stronger relationships between brands and customers, through developing memorable experiences which set brands apart, in the minds and hearts of their customers— the type of experiences that you can’t wait to share with others – and leave you wanting more.

Q2: How do you balance visionary thinking and detailed doing during your day-to-day?

My rule of thumb is spending about 50% of my time in the moment and in the details, and 50% looking forward. Looking forward is all about being curious and inquisitive. Whether that’s immersing myself in new industry trends and attending events to meet people with differing perspectives – or actively seeking insight on problems my clients or their customers are facing. In reality, the percentages shift but the key is finding a way to balance both in tandem. They aren’t mutually exclusive either. Detailed doing often uncovers a wealth of insights that can be a source of visionary thinking whilst blue sky thinking often requires detailed doing, to demonstrate real business value.

Nina Wei, Senior Designer 

Q1: What does being a brand experience engineer mean to you?

To me, brand experience engineers describes a process and a way of thinking. We get under the hood of a brand or business. It’s about our ability to see beneath the surface, to pull apart all the different aspects of a brand, going beyond purely the visual identity, in order to find, and hone in on, the most valuable aspects that make a brand unique. We then use those to create a genuine brand story. From there, not only do we have a stronger understanding of who they are and what they stand for, but also how they can deliver value to their customers. To me, that’s the most important thing—once that’s distilled down, the brand experience and creative output flows out naturally.  

Q2: How do you balance visionary thinking and detailed doing during your day-to-day?

First, you need to get the fundamentals right, no matter what you’re doing, in design it’s grids, type, colour, brand consistency, functionality, accessibility etc. Then you need to make sure the story is there, that you don’t lose sight of the vision of what you’re doing, and additionally you want to be able to delight people with something extra. I do think balance is the key word there, one shouldn’t be without the other. You need to make sure you’re thinking about both at all times, detail>vision, detail>vision – if it helps, picture a ping pong match in your head!

 

 

Lars Bjornbakk, Junior Strategist

Q1: What does being a brand experience engineer mean to you?

It’s about balancing visionary thinking with practicality; where you see the future potential of a situation, and the ability to draw a roadmap for how to get there. The most important skill for brand experience engineers, in my opinion, is to be able to hold two thoughts in your head at the same time – thinking strategically and tactically in unison.

Q2: How do you balance visionary thinking and detailed doing during your day-to-day?

Having a deep understanding of both the challenge and your team is the way I do this. Draw on others’ expertise where your own is lacking and have a clear view on where you’re trying to get to, so everyone is working towards a unified goal.

Diary with goals written

Steph Brown, UX Architect

Q1: What does being a brand experience engineer mean to you?

To design with empathy to create an experience where both the client and their customers get what they want. 

Q2: How do you balance visionary thinking and detailed doing during your day-to-day?

It comes back to understanding the client and what they can really want. I like to think my role is to push, nudge and guide clients towards their vision and the small details along the way, add up to their big vision.

 

 

David Blundell, Senior Front End Developer

Q1: What does being a brand experience engineer mean to you?

It's about crafting a great user experience which helps the client achieve their goals. For UI developers, this might be something as slight as the timing of animation, but if you get that wrong then it really impacts the user. It also means not only doing your part of a project well, but understanding how it fits into the bigger picture, and beyond. When we're creating a component, we need to know what the context will be now – but also what might happen in the next months or years.   

Q2: How do you balance visionary thinking and detailed doing during your day-to-day?

When we develop the UI, it really helps to know as much about the project as possible, from different angles. It's easy to focus on your own tasks, but context is everything and understanding why things have been designed a certain way, or what the client really needs helps you whenever you encounter grey areas, e.g. unexpected requirements. Doing the day-to-day stuff is the baseline, but great work comes from coordination between all the different disciplines.

  

From these responses, it’s clear that individuals’ perception of being a brand experience engineer is different from person-to-person but there are also common aspects which are relevant to us all. These include:

  1. The idea of balance—between blue sky thinking and skilled work, creating an overall product which is future-proofed but also fits in with current best practice.

     

  2. Discipline specific skills, to an incredibly high level, are always important in delivering on our brand experience engineer promise. Equally important however, is collaboration and relationships, between teams and with clients, to make sure everyone is moving towards the same vision.

     

  3. We always aim to create transcendent work which is completely unique and makes our clients totally stand out, and has a real impact on people—strengthening ties between the brand and its’ customers.
Drew Castle

Drew

From RAW intern to junior strategist, Drew is putting his curious and detailed mind to work with the likes of Lloyds Register, Royal Mail and London Business School.