Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Happy Christmas - back in 2010

Happy New Year.

Gone skiing.............


Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Hugo Boss gets noticed with Augmented Reality stunt


As Augmented Reality starts to become more mainstream brands need to be thinking how to use it strategically - not merely as a stunt.

I think the way Hugo Boss have used it in their London shop window is disappointing.

Okay, it will get noticed....but is that good enough?

Take a leaf out of Selfridges book. They are the masters of getting their shop windows noticed...but they always do it in a way that is clever, elegant and 'on-brand.'

What Hugo Boss have done on the other hand, in my view, is not subtle or on-brand. It does not deliver the kind of brand experience that will get their consumer talking about it.

That said, full marks to Hugo Boss for for experimenting with this exciting new technology.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Brand usage – the opportunity

“Never, in the history of the consumer, have so many known so little about so much.”

I can’t remember where I heard this Winston Churchill misquote, but it sums-up the reality of the consumers' world today.

Think about it…everyone has a mobile phone, most have a computer and quite a few have some cool new must-have gadget they could not live without……but nearly all haven’t a clue what they are fully capable.

Is that a problem for the consumer?

Well, no.

Is it an opportunity brands?

Errr.. yes.

All brands want to increase usage frequency - as it drives loyalty, advocacy and sales volume.

To encourage consumers to increase usage it is imperative to deliver great brand experiences from the second ‘moment of truth.’

The question is how?

There are three vectors that need to be right in all categories:

First, when a consumer first opens the packaging.

  • Don’t used difficult to open packaging (avoid shrink plastic moulding)
  • Make sure the packaging adds to the pleasure of ownership (think iPod)

Then, the first time they use/consume the brand.

  • Make sure the brand delivers what has been promised.
  • Ensure instructions are jargon free and easy to follow.

Lastly, every time they subsequently use the brand.

  • Have a relevant re-contacting strategy (I get frequent emails from Cannon telling me about some clever feature that will help me get more out of my camera).
  • Build a fabulous customer service department (I had a delightful experience when I called Toshiba's help line to get guidance on how to tune my new TV)
  • Make sure the packaging will last.
  • Promote different usage occasions (my kids eat cereal when they get hungry between meals, not just for breakfast)
If you want to win in at this stage– the usage stage of the path to advocacy is not generally a focus for brand organisations - my strong recommendation is to gather the marketing, sales, customer service, etc, and consider how you can deliver brand experiences during this stage that will delight the consumer.

If you get it right you will gain increased frequency, drive advocacy and ultimately build sales.

Worth the effort don’t you think?

If you can think of any other examples let me know.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Remember how Christmas used to feel


I love this TV ad.

It has a whole load of winning ingredients: A gentle sound track, sweet footage of kids, strong emotional Christmas cues, brilliant production values, all inter-woven with some interesting gift ideas.

The result is a simple, charming and powerful message that will get John Lewis (UK Retailer) noticed during the important December gift season.

For me it definitely delivers a brand experience that makes me want to rush straight down to the store and start my Christmas shopping.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

How to delight customers - two great stories

I recently heard two charming hotel stories that demonstrate how easy it is to make a small gesture that can make a huge difference to the guests brand experience.

Story one

David Benson (a mate at work) occasionally stays at the Charlotte Street Hotel. The last time he stayed he found a card on his pillow welcoming him back.

Story two

John Abraham (he told this story during a recent Satmetrix webinar) took his wife and kids to a hotel that he was staying at/using for a conference. On arrival he found the names of his 2 kids spelt out in small sponges in the bathroom.

I love these stories is because they demonstrate that with a little bit of thought and no extra cost it can be easy to deliver WOW brand experiences.

Why is it that hotels so rarely get it right?

I stay in some pretty swanky hotels while travelling on business. They are generally quite pleasant... sometimes they disappoint... occasionally I hate them so much I write about it. Rarely (never?) do they delight me.

What a missed opportunity.

As I say all the time, if you can WOW consumers they will be much more likely to buy/visit again and maybe even talk about you.

If you are working in a hotel - or any brand organisation for that matter - why not spent some time talking to others in the operation considering what you can do to enhance the brand experience that will build greater consumer loyalty and advocacy.

If you get it right it is worth it.

To quote Jeff Jarvis [see previous post]: “Your customers are you’re ad agency.”

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Apple and Disney deliver some in-store magic

In a recent post I talked about Disney’s plans to revamp their stores with help from Steve Jobs from Apple. I have also posted before about how Apple are the masters of retail (among other things).

I guess regular readers will not be surprised given that this blog is all about celebrating brand organisations that get the importance of designing & delivering winning brand experiences that delight consumers.

Anyway, I came across a post at Retail Customer Experience that highlighted 5 lessons from the Disney/Apple story:

  1. Product knowledge isn't everything. It is also about new and exciting retail experiences...be on the lookout for great ideas outside your own product category.
  2. Even great companies get stuck. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, advice or coaching from a wide range of professional and personal backgrounds.
  3. Experiences are tough to copy: Experiences are not only difficult to replicate, but also they allow you to command a premium for that very same product or service.
  4. Retail should be fun: We need to bring the joy back to shopping.
  5. Innovate in downturns:

These are great tips that all retailers should consider if they are looking for ways to get customers to buy again and may be even advocate to their mates.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Branded experiences are the new advertising

The recently published Razorfish Digital Brand Experience report 2009 says a number of things that really work for me:

"Branded experiences (or actions) are the new

advertising."

"In today’s increasingly digital world, the experience is the message."

"Digital is not simply an 'awareness'

play; it’s a customer-creation play"

As I keep saying...Brand Experience is what brand organisations should be focusing on.

Sure, part of brand marketing is about raising awareness (of the brand promise). But, more importantly, a

ll parts of the organisation - marketing, sales, customer service, etc - should be concentrating on how to deliver brand experiences that deliver (the promise) and delight consumers - so that they buy again and ideally become advocates.

As Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, has been known to say (also in the report):

“Your brand

is formed primarily, not by what your company says about itself,

but what the company does.” Experience, as we will see, not only

matters—it drives results to the bottom line.

The report is a must read for anyone involved in trying to build winning brands.

A Ferrari brand experience like no other

If you are into cars you'll like the sound of this.

The worlds first Ferrari theme park, inspired by the classic double curve side profile of the Ferrari GT chassis, is being built in Abu Dhabi.

It promises a multi-sensory celebration of a design icon offering a thrilling brand experience like no other.

The main attraction will be "one of the most intense ‘freefall’ experiences in the world" (one of the world’s fastest roller coasters capable of speeds in excess of 200kph).

It sounds like it will deliver a Ferrari brand experience to many who, like me, sadly can't afford to own one!

It should be cool.

Winning brands invest in delighting consumers

As ever, a very smart question from Seth:

"As you get bigger and older, are you busy ensuring that a bad thing won't happen that might upset your day, or are you aggressively investing in having a remarkable thing happen that will delight or move a customer?"

Does your brand organisation invest in delighting consumers?

It should.

When consumers are delighted they often buy again and are more likely to become advocates.

It is worth the investment and effort as building advocacy has a very positive impact on business success.



Monday, 2 November 2009

Flash mob hits the beach in Australia

I think this is a cracking film.

It is great entertainment that will get the brand (Flip MooHD digital video cameras) noticed.

It delivers a message that is completely relevant to what brand is all about.

I would love to have been at Bondi beach to watch it being made (rather than at Leicester Square watching the making of the T-Mobile event).


Saturday, 31 October 2009

BT are changing their approach to customer relationship building

If you work in a brand organisation and are involved in building customer relationships go to www.research-live.com and watch this video [click for link to site].

In the video Nicola Millard, from BT, talks with passion about the future, social media and customer relationship building.

BT used to have one of the worst reputations for customer care. They want to change.

Nicola has been bought in to shake-up some of their old established ways of doing things.

She explains in the video how they are working out how technology and internal networks can help them deliver brand experiences that will delight consumers.

The video is refreshing and fascinating.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Nike have invented another clever way to get themselves noticed

I love this idea.

It’s a superb Cause Related brand experience that will get Nike noticed.

Imagine being a participant or spectator of the Tour de France and seeing messages of hope in the fight against cancer written on the road.

Nike – with various partners – have created a giant robotic writing tool that chalks messages feed by Twitter and text. It can also send pictures of the messages back to their writers.

This smart use of technology will deliver relevant, unique and powerful brand experiences that people will remember and talk about.

Powerful stuff.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Disney improve in-store brand experience

Disney are masters of creating brand experiences that delight consumers.

At their parks they deliver magical experiences that kids remember and talk about.

Apple are also masters of brand experience

Their shops are a delight for consumers.

The fact that Disney are working with Apple (Steve Jobs is on the Disney board) to revamp all their stores is a really smart move.

Stores improvements include:

  • Theatres where kids can watch clips.
  • Interactive displays.
  • Role-play costumes.
  • Speak to characters via satellite
  • Touch screens where parents can book a Disney Cruise.

Their goal is simple: “It’s about making this an experience rather than just picking up a toy,

A spokesman for Disney said:. “You have to build a brand experience that’s enriching enough in its own right, but also amplifies that experience after they leave the store.”

I am confident they will get it right.

Other branded retailers should watch with interest.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Evian babies rock

I love this. It's been out for a while.

It definitely delivers a brand experience that makes you smile.

Delivering a great brand experience in-store will drive revenues.

ICC Decision Services just posted about a recent JD Power pharmacy study that highlights that satisfied customers are:

  1. 3+ times more loyal
  2. 7 times more likely to recommend their pharmacy to others (the power of social media increases this number exponentially).
  3. Spend loads more (av. $30 more per visit than those who are less satisfied)

I talk about this a lot.

I know, it’s kind of obvious, but given the potential upside why don’t more stores get it right?

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Brands must focus on delighting consumers to build advocacy

In my view advocacy should be the primary goal for all brands. I talk about it a lot.

Why?

Simply because when an influencer (e.g. friend, family, expert, etc) advocates a brand (e.g. speaks up and shares their beliefs, experiences and passions for it), they are:

a) currently likely to be a loyal consumer (key for retention/sales)

b) conveying a brand experience to potential consumers that is more effective than advertising (key for recruitment/sales). [See my Nikoi Island story.]

One actionable measure of advocacy is the Net Promoter Score (NPS).

This is a number (based on one question) that reveals the relative level of advocacy a brand has versus its competitors. [read this easy to follow explanation.] It is proven that brands with a higher NPS levels outperform competitors, in terms of sales, and those with lower NPS underperform. [If you need robust evidence of NPS effect on business growth check-out London Business School research.]

So, the equation is simple: Increases advocacy = increased sales.

Okay... so I’ve argued that advocacy is important and powerful.... so what...

I will post soon about different levels of advocacy.

Discovering ways brands deliver brand experiences that delight consumers is a passion of mine. Sharing these observation and learnings is kind of the main reasons I write this blog.

If you have any great stories please let me know.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Brand experience at the first moment of truth that grabs attention


I am not a designer but enjoyed this collection of top 40 beverage package designs posted by the dieline.

It is vital to get great looking packaging that delivers a brand experience at the 'first moment of truth' (the first time a consumer has to part with their money for your brand).

Here are my (rather obvious) guidelines:
  • Make it beautiful
  • Make it appealing
  • Make it stand-outs vs competitors
  • Make it informative
  • Make it consistent with what your brand is all about
  • Make sure you don't change it too often
Oh yes, one last thing... make it easy to use.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Tesco badge improved my buying brand experience

I shop in Tesco’s occasionally.

I am not a fan but it is convenient, and their range and prices are okay.

I recently noticed that their staff are wearing badges showing their names, roles and the year they ‘joined the team.’

I liked it.

It made me smile.

It’s a subtle thing but I think it makes my relationship with the staff a little bit more human. I think that makes me a little more likely to become a fan..the last step on path to advocacy.

Branded retailers should spend more time looking at how to make the buying brand experience a little more human, rather than install more of those dam self-service machines.

This sort of idea it isn’t complicated but can make a difference.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

A fabulous brand experience from Microsoft

We all know what usually happens when we call a customer service number:

- Multi-layer automated messages

- Long wait times

- Dull musak

I found a great story about what Microsoft used to do 10 years ago to deliver consumers a fabulous customer service call handling brand experience.

What Microsoft did was have a live DJ playing up-beat music and giving callers an update after each song: “...those waiting for [insert relevant department] there are now 8 of you waiting with the longest person in queue waiting for 5 minutes.”

Okay, operationally this must have been expensive but this is story about a brand experience delivered ten years ago. The return on investment, given this type of long-term advocacy, must make it worth considering more carefully how brand organisations can work-out better call handling systems.

If anyone has a more recent example of a great brand experience I’d love to hear about it.