Bringing a brand to life in the online experience

Making the direct-to-consumer online experience live up to the Edrington brand.

The need

How do you translate the luxury feel of a physical product into a digital channel?

Our client, a leading luxury Scottish whisky brand, wanted to grow their direct-to-consumer online channel, but that didn’t necessarily mean growing sales. Whisky – especially high-end, aged whisky – is limited by its very nature.

They asked us to help them explore engagement opportunities in the digital space, designing their strategy for the future.

How we responded

Our client was a product and marketing-led organisation. To make the next leap forward, we could see that they needed to pivot to becoming an experience and service-led organisation, demonstrating their values in an authentic way.

And to make this a sustainable change, they needed to build their own capability along the way. Their design teams needed to get close to their customers, immersed in their behaviours and needs in the digital space.

Our first challenge was internal alignment; making sure the client teams were pulling in the same direction. Through a creative facilitated workshop, Nile worked with the client to document what was known, what was assumed, and exactly what they wanted to get out of our research and design.

With the team aligned, we instituted a 360-degree approach to our foundational insight. Using remote and in-person one-to-one interviews alongside a diary study, our ethnography built up a picture of target customers in their day-to-day lives, defining ‘luxury’ and establishing what it meant to them in a digital context.

None of this was done in isolation: we brought the client design team along with us, helping them build a deeper empathy and understanding of their consumers. What’s more, we deliberately cultivated a literacy in Service Design tools and methods within the design team, giving them the tools and techniques to run such research themselves in the future.

After evaluating the current experience, stress-testing changes and building a set of hypotheses and desirable digital experiences, we built a strategic design framework of principles, tools and communication materials: the scaffold within which our client would build and evaluate all of their new digital services in the future.

The results

The Customer Experience Framework developed by Nile is now used across the business. It serves as a strategic planning tool: shaping the annual priorities, team offsites, internal comms and onboarding.

Even more importantly, the design team – armed with clear customer insight and an actionable strategic design direction – have now got buy-in and strategic alignment within the business.

Internal assumptions about who their online customers are have been forever changed, shifting the focus within the business and opening up a space to talk about, prioritise,  and execute new opportunities.

“The project outcomes were great; the clarity, stakeholder alignment and prioritisation the Nile team brought will have value for months to come. The team is incredibly talented and experienced, and bring real gravitas whilst still making the process of working together really easy and enjoyable.”


– Daniel Sedgwick, Head of Consumer Experience, Edrington

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