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Spotify asked us to bring their brand

to the Heartland.



Spotify is a brand built on discovery and many of their core listeners live in urban centers. Yet this leaves a huge section of the market untapped. The Heartland.
How do we help Spotify move into an area that values "the familiar" over discovery?



Leverage the Heartland's relevance for the  past to help us move forward.


This was a real client project for my Brand Experience class. I was responsible for the concept, UX research,  information architecture. and UX design.


There is a set picture of who the Heartland is but the Heartland is more diverse then stereotypes would believe.

The Design Solution

Heartland users are passive music listeners. Music is more in the background than at the center of their lives. We knew we needed to create a campaign that celebrated the rich heritage of music but addressed real user obstacles.  The core of our campaign solves four of the most prevalent user challenges. 

We called our campaign- Spotify, Where Music is going. 



Communications Campaign

Meet people where they are, in their cars. 

Appeal to the familiar in messaging.



Spotify lets you build on what came before you.


Create a new Onboarding Experience 

Flawless Journey 

Our group focused on building an intuitive and efficient experience that would appeal to both Heartland users and Spotify's core users. The idea behind the design was to create a homepage that was fuss free and allowed users to choose which features they wanted to learn about.


Since Spotify is an already established platform we wanted to keep the onboarding process lightweight. We added simple green notification bubbles to introduce users to important features. By streamlining the onboarding we knew it would increase traffic for different product features within the ecosystem.



I interviewed several Heartlander's and came to the hypotheses that Spotify needed to add an integration feature. 


For people who thrive on familiar adding a feature to ensure they could preserve music from other platforms was a high priority.

Seamless Integration


Making Spotify Personal

Spotify Hometown Hero Radio Station

We needed to create a way for users to feel a personal connection with Spotify. Based on research, we found that Heartlanders still enjoy listening to the radio. Our team decided to build out Spotify's current radio feature as a platform to highlight local radio hosts. 


Hometown Heros works simply. Cities in the Heartland vote for local DJs or radio personalities they wanted to hear on Spotify. The host with the most votes would get their own hour-long segment on Spotify radio.

Kelli Lemon Station

Creating the Hometown Hero Station solved one real barrier facing users when they listened to Spotify; they felt bored.


One user I interviewed said, "Spotify's music is repetitive and boring.  I don't really like the music selection."


Creating the Kelli Lemon station was our solution to that. Lemon who is a local Richmond personality embodies Richmond everything. We recruited her specifically because she represented someone Heartlander's could enjoy listening too.

Take a listen to Kelli's Station!


The Gift of Spotify

Giving the Gift of Music

Several users we spoke with noted that they didn't want to pay for the premium Spotify service although they paid for other services such as YouTube Red and Pandora. Additionally, we knew that people in the Heartland faced several financial barriers that kept them off the platform.


We created an additional touchpoint to get more users on Spotify by allowing friends already on the platform the ability to gift Spotify to friends.


See the interactions here.

How It Works

Send a Spotify e-gift card to a friend or family member.

Personalize your e-gift card with a Spotify design.

Send your friend a year's subscription of Spotify. 

Create a personalized

playlist to get them started.

Add on your friends favorite artist merch.

Add an extra sweet touch with a personal note.


Working with a real client such as Spotify was a great experience for myself and my team members. When Spotify came to the table with all the research about who the picture of a Heartlander was it was important to my group to truly understand whom the Heardlanders were based on our own research.


We knew Heartlander's weren't monolithic and we needed to always keep in mind the importance of considering different contexts and user environments in the Heartland. Each user is different but it's important to design as inclusively as possible and priortize the most important user needs.



Meet the Team

Colin McCool- Creative Brand Manager

Alyson Gaiser- Strategist

Evan Chiplock-Copywriting

Ted Gregson- Art Director

Jenn Chau- Experience Designer





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