Journey, a New York and Los Angeles-based company designing creative digital experiences for global firms, announced on Tuesday it had acquired ICRAVE, Futures Intelligence Group, and Skilled Created to expand its operations and empower firms with digital transformations.
Andrew Zimmerman, Journey’s Chief Executive, the former CEO of frog Design and Co-Founder of Accenture Interactive and Mobility, leads Journey with private equity firm Growth Catalyst Partner.
Zimmerman explained in a statement that brands must “embrace the rapid pace and diversity of technological innovation and understand what we call the customer journey’s futurescape.”
According to Journey, named after Zimmerman’s 2020 novel, the Futurescape is the projected future of a client’s customer journey, used as a reference point and goal for their work.
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According to Lionel Ohayon, Chief Creative Officer for Journey, his decision to join the firm “was fueled by my passion for reinvention.”
He explained further, stating,
“From the introduction of iPads into the customer airport experience, to immersive digital and physical experiences in the world’s largest nightclub, and integrating wearables into a leading cancer outpatient facility, we are all about creating next generation physical experiences enabled by emerging technologies”
Brandon Kaplan, Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer at Journey, added Skilled Creative had been “pushing the boundaries” of brands leveraging voice and conversational artificial intelligence (AI) to build “new and innovative customer journeys.”
Cathy Hackl, the proclaimed ‘Godmother of the Metaverse,’ will also serve as Journey’s Chief Metaverse Officer, bringing her skills in Web3 development to Journey’s customer experience goals.
She said in a statement,
“Web3 and the metaverse will change the way consumers engage and interact with brands, creating new customer journeys and new custom touchpoints. Our digital lifestyles are catching up to our physical lives and Journey is here to help organizations break free from two dimensions into a fully 3D environment that encompasses virtual and physical worlds”
Journey currently hosts a large portfolio of clients such as Ralph Lauren, jetBlue, PepsiCo, HBO Max, Warner Music Group, and the Wall Street Journal, among many others.
XR Today Interview with Zimmerman
XR Today interviewed Zimmerman, who explained the ongoing developments with Journey’s triple acquisition and future goals for its clients.
Speaking on what he believed his team would target for its expansion, he told XR Today that, other than “our very healthy organic growth,” his company would likely build its gaming and immersive creative capabilities by acquiring “leading-edge studios.”
Explaining further, Zimmerman said,
“Our ambition regarding clients, is creating compelling experiences which generate stellar business results. Recent examples [of this] are the award-winning design of the Sloan Kettering outpatient experience and the Webby award-winning voice discovery application for HBO Max”
When asked about the Futurescape and Journey’s solutions, he added that clients and their customer journeys would “change at an exponential speed due to emergent technologies like nextgen gaming, VR, and blockchain,” as well as building on lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic “in terms of reimaging physical experiences.”
“Mapping the current customer journey, while necessary, is drawing the current landscape, writing the current chapter. We help clients imagine and then build a future landscape, the next chapter”
When asked about the Metaverse and developments in interoperability, optimal user experiences, and other technologies, the CEO explained that, while there was a lot of attention on the ‘arms race’ of numerous tech platforms and wearables as well as an ‘eyeballs’ race for audiences, Journey believed the Metaverse “ultimately will be about compelling experiences and use cases [where] imagination and creativity meet innovative business models.”
“It will be similar to the creative destruction that occurred in the dotcom era. Lots of hype and frothiness and failures, but the seeds were planted for the giants of the modern economy such as Amazon, Google and Facebook”
Regarding use cases developed for previous clients, Zimmerman explained how Sloan Kettering had “turned a challenging and sometimes depressing experience” for cancer patients into a more thoughtful and empathetic environment to boost satisfaction for patients, their families, and caregivers while improving service efficiency as well” using Journey’s solutions and advice, he said.
Zimmerman also noted Journey had additionally designed and created a voice app for a magazine brand which “captured thousands of emails and phone numbers,” leading to massive, repeat engagement with customers tapping into its “branded immersive meditation experience.”