Creating a new way of customer engagement for Microsoft


Keywords: Brand experience,
communication strategy, retail space design,
service design, innovation

The quick read
Located in Berlin, The Digital Eatery is Microsoft’s first branded space solely focused on end users. The idea is as simple as it is intriguing: to provide a comfortable, café-like venue where people can get more familiar with Microsoft. Rlevance was commissioned to challenge the existing concept and take it further. Based on research among relevant internal and external stakeholders as well as industry experts, Rlevance fine-tuned the strategic direction and the concept of the branded space: The new Digital Eatery is the place where people can experience first-hand how digital technologies improve their lives. Designing the space as a service offering ensures visitor involvement. This way, Microsoft engages end users in a meaningful way with the brand and becomes more relevant for people.



Research phase
The Digital Eatery was up and running for almost a year when Rlevance was commissioned to fine-tune the concept. Microsoft contacted us with some concrete goals. They wanted to strengthen ties between customers and the brand, to improve engagement among various target groups, and to enhance the brand experience. With these goals in mind, we set about reinvigorating the concept of the space.

We started out with a learning journey to understand the needs and goals of the diverse internal and external stakeholders. We conducted a workshop and series of interviews with Microsoft's management and marketing employees to define challenges, as well as corporate and brand goals, both concerning end consumers in general and in relation to The Digital Eatery specifically. We evaluated the current visitor behavior, experience, and needs through interviews and observations, and assessed future needs and expectations. To get a broader, more future-oriented perspective on digital needs of people, we interviewed external digital experts from business and science. Finally, we researched global innovative retail and customer engagement spaces and concepts to learn from best practices. As a side result, we established a typology of brand spaces that keep helping to inspire other retail concepts developed by Rlevance. 



Strategy phase
In the next, the strategy phase, we held a series of co-creative workshops with an interdisciplinary team of Microsoft employees. In these workshops, based on the insights from the learning journey, we evaluated the status of the current concept, worked out core goals The Digital Eatery needed to fulfill for Microsoft as a brand on regional and global level, and defined and prioritized target groups of The Digital Eatery. The work of this phase resulted in a strategy paper for The Digital Eatery and in a first rough draft of the new concept that would balance needs of the diverse stakeholder groups.



Concept and idea phase
In the final phase, we teamed up with designers and creatives to conceive an overarching creative framework for the space, as well as concrete offerings and activities that would take place in and around The Digital Eatery. All ideas were designed with two main ideas in mind: to create value for the predefined visitor groups by addressing their situational needs and, at the same time, fulfill Microsoft's goals, which were to support the brand by engaging end users and communicating the core message of the brand. Ideas ranged from aspects of the operational concept to activities and events, and from permanent attractions to temporary exhibitions. Common to all of them was a service design approach: instead of just displaying products, we focused on providing useful services around them, thus showcasing the helpfulness of the digital world. In a final workshop with Microsoft, we established an implementation plan to bring the concept of The New Digital Eatery to life. 

Ultimately, The Digital Eatery became an activity space where Microsoft’s innovations and their benefit to peoples’ lives can experienced in a service-oriented manner.


Rlevance created a strategic and creative framework, alongside with ideas to implement it, that helped us to engage visitors deeper with Microsoft’s unique ideas. Both approach and result were beyond our expectations and invigorated the initial concept of The Digital Eatery to a great extend.

Henrik Tesch
Director Corporate Affairs

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