This is a story about the birth of a dialogue-promoting campaign for the new Enigma museum in Copenhagen.
Nowadays people are more and more disconnected. It has become weird to talk to people we don’t know. Especially Danes are very bad at interaction. Danish people would rather miss their stop on the bus than say “Excuse me" to someone who they need to get around. This is a story about the birth of a dialogue-promoting campaign for the new Enigma museum in Copenhagen.
I was a part of a small team of 5 communication and experience designers.
Enigma’s mission is to become a brave communication museum that illustrates the contrast between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’. The Enigma Museum is a “brave new museum” in Copenhagen which has the vision to engage visitors in a different type of museum experience. It used to be a basic telecommunication museum but has undergone major changes focused on the contrast between the old and the new and on interpersonal interaction. It is currently financed by TDC (a telecommunication company) and Post Danmark (Danish post).
The museum approached us with the request of a solution for engagement and outreach. The goal was to challenge ordinary museums and create something completely new through communication and experience design. The solution would connect people with Enigma and at the same time would be used as a promotion tool for the newly opened museum.
The target group we focused on was represented by the locals and people who frequently find themselves in the Østerbro area, Fælledparken and their surroundings, and potentially many others. The age group was wide, going from 15 to 75, families with children, people interested in culture and dialogue.
Having our short deadline in mind, we walked through the urban area around the new museum and started our initial brainstorming session with little to none field research. We discussed a decent amount of ideas and possible solutions. With the initial outline in our minds we had a better understanding of what is possible going into the research phase.
One of the brainstorming sessions with my team colleagues Andreea and Federica.
After researching and conducting interviews with a variety of target groups we found out that a lot of Danish people are very judgemental when seeing a person for the first time. We considered removing the identity factor from the dialogue. With this proposal in mind, we created a scenario for our fieldwork. We simply put a phone in the hands of strangers - and then made it ring. People on the street were supposed to take the phone call without knowing who is calling or why. After testing this idea we analyzed the reactions of our respondents and decided to move forward with this concept. The results, surprisingly enough, clearly showed a decisively engaging factor being present.
The problem area we decided to work with was the fact that society is becoming less interested in engaging in conversation with strangers and have meaningful interactions outside of their social circles.
In order to create a communication bridge between strangers and between communication zones created by Enigma, we brought together 2 elements that suggest and represent Enigma: a vintage (rotary) telephone (to make a reference to a communication device that is outdated, therefore to bring back a communication channel that is worthy to see in a museum) placed on a Greek column (as a reference to Enigma’s architectural columns). The idea is to anchor connotations of the phones on pillars in the Enigma Museum in order to create awareness and coherence. Such telephones will be located in public spaces, related to the most important landmarks in Østerbro . The outside telephones will be connected with the inside telephones that will be placed in a Conversation Space specially designed to inspire and encourage the visitors to make a phone call and talk to a stranger. This space will contain a few telephones and will have several inspirational quotes and hash tags such as "#AreYouBraveToEngage".
The campaign strategy creates experience-design, which includes interaction, intimacy, and authenticity while being involving, interesting, and relevant. The message style is emotional and thus leads to greater involvement, where the goal is co-creating communication between actual visitors and potential visitors outside. Moreover, the campaign strategy and concept is rather temporary, flexible, and dynamic, as it might change in relation to the timing, events etc. In this way, Enigma can keep itself relevant and renew itself to create a factor of sensation. However, the phones as objects are a crucial part of the marketing for Enigma in the beginning, as they stand out, connect the visitors with the people outside Enigma and facilitate communication and dialogue between strangers.