A BLOG ABOUT EXPERIENCE BRANDS – Brand Experience

People make the brand. In this case literally!

A while back, I was walking by the Lego Store at Rockefeller Center and I saw this amazing installation of little, humble, Lego men. They were assembled in their various colors and from a distance, they made up Lego’s Logo! How fascinating is that!

It reminds me how people bring value to a brand, and the brand in return, defines employees and what they find valuable in a company. Without people, brands in themselves… really mean nothing!

#facinating #installation #Brand Experience

(Editorial) power to the people

When it comes to the front page of the paper, the Editor calls the shots. But are they striking the right balance between ‘important’ vs ‘popular’ vs ‘interesting’? Do they even know what their readers want? What would happen if they chose the front page stories?

News-sharing site Newswhip have put this to the test, creating People Powered front pages of major news titles, based on (you guessed it) the most shared stories at each paper:

image

Faith in humanity has been maintained, as it hasn’t turned illustrious titles into a lowest common denominator den of salacious celebrity gossip, but the tone has changed on each one (some more than others). They’re a bit more human, a bit more local paper-like, and a bit broader. 

image

It’s a nice experiment that suggests an interesting, disruptive way forward. Because who’s to say that there couldn’t be a more collaborative way of setting the news agenda: more dialogue, less didactic…and better than the ‘send us your pictures of the snow’-school of engagement we currently have.

Brands have been talking about ‘conversations’ with customers for a few years now. Maybe it’s time for news outlets to do the same?

#culture #news #newspapers #newswhip #Brand Experience #experiencebrands #insights

P O WHAT?

When my home Wi-Fi recently stopped working for no apparent reason I contacted the provider to find out why. After jumping through a series of phone menu hoops I got through to a real live person who told me it was a network fault and all I could do was wait until it was fixed.

Call me demanding but if I’m paying for a service, I expect to receive that service as agreed so I asked for an email address to which I could complain.

‘Of course,’ came the reply, ‘the address is PO Box 123, Milton Keynes…’

‘Ha, you’re funny… the email address please?’

‘There isn’t one.’

So this company, which has already wasted so much of my time and which provides technology services, thinks I should: type a letter, print it out, find an envelope, walk to the post office, buy stamps, walk to the post box, and then sit around twiddling my thumbs for a fortnight waiting for a reply.

In 2014. Really?

If I’m looking for this address I’m obviously unhappy about something. If I’m already annoyed, why make the situation worse and more complicated?

A customer getting in touch for any reason, good or bad, is a chance to impress them; turn them into an advocate; make them tell their friends what an amazing experience they had; re-woo them.  

And it really ought to go without saying that the last outcome should be an even angrier (potentially ex) customer.

#customer experience #customer complaints #brand experience

Take Comfort In Rituals

As I walked by the Starbucks store outside my place on the way to the Subway station, I somehow noticed this sign posted on the door. “Take Comfort In Rituals” Starbucks clearly understands the value of their store’s position just outside the subway stop. They know hundreds of people will be passing through that subway each day to work and back.

Starbucks, ritualizes the experience of walking into their stores daily as a way to ease the first time customer into a routine of purchasing a drink each time he or she walks by the store, just like how the subway is a routine daily ritual for thousands across countless cities. Smart way of building brand loyalty!

#rituals #Brand Experience

I am absolutely fascinated by and in love with Amazon’s “anticipatory shipping” patent. Essentially, it will allow Amazon to start moving items to shipping centers that are closer to customers based on their digital body language before they ever click “buy.” In doing so, the retailer will cut days between order and delivery, challenging brick and mortar stores even more.

Evidently, the algorithm would be based on a combination between previous orders, browsing activity, wish lists and more. While the patent has been sensationalized by the media as “shipping you products before you buy them,” it is really just the next level of customer experience and inventory management.

So the brand experience question for brick and mortar retailers becomes: How will you create value above and beyond the immediacy with which you dispense products?

I am absolutely fascinated by and in love with Amazon’s “anticipatory shipping” patent. Essentially, it will allow Amazon to start moving items to shipping centers that are closer to customers based on their digital body language before they ever click “buy.” In doing so, the retailer will cut days between order and delivery, challenging brick and mortar stores even more.

Evidently, the algorithm would be based on a combination between previous orders, browsing activity, wish lists and more. While the patent has been sensationalized by the media as “shipping you products before you buy them,” it is really just the next level of customer experience and inventory management.

So the brand experience question for brick and mortar retailers becomes: How will you create value above and beyond the immediacy with which you dispense products?

#brand experience #amazon #brick and mortar #showrooming

Well there’s a thing: experience experts Apple have been caught napping.

Forrester Research’s 2014 customer experience study is in its third year of tracking 17 major consumer electronics firms operating in North America. For the first time, 7,500 respondents - asked to rate brands on how easy, enjoyable and effective their brand experience was - have put Samsung, Sony and Microsoft higher than Apple.

image

They’ve all still got a way to go before they reach Amazon’s staggering 91/100 rating…but it’s a sign that the Brand Experience wars are hotting up, as companies realise the importance of (and competitive advantage in) taking control of their experience touchpoints.

Because its not like Apple have done anything wrong (they’ve actually gone up from 80 to 81)…its just that the others have got better. And that’s a big win for the customer.

#Brand Experience #experiencebrands #samsung #sony #microsoft #apple #research

The 2014 International CES broke records left and right: more attendees, more (evolutionary, not revolutionary) innovations, and yes, more hype – just ask the estimated 2.3 billion people worldwide who were touched by the stories of CES. Over the past several years, I’ve been predicting a major evolution in what the International CES stands for and who would attend it. This year, I saw that evolution play out.

Making order out of the good, the gadgets, and of course, the “gosh my feet heart,” I was there through it all. The result? My newest Jack Morton white paper, which documents all brands, marketers and attendees need to know about CES 2014.

The 2014 International CES broke records left and right: more attendees, more (evolutionary, not revolutionary) innovations, and yes, more hype – just ask the estimated 2.3 billion people worldwide who were touched by the stories of CES. Over the past several years, I’ve been predicting a major evolution in what the International CES stands for and who would attend it. This year, I saw that evolution play out.

Making order out of the good, the gadgets, and of course, the “gosh my feet heart,” I was there through it all. The result? My newest Jack Morton white paper, which documents all brands, marketers and attendees need to know about CES 2014.

So are you, like us, already thinking about CES 2015? Here are a few of the top trends we identified to discuss with our clients:

  1. Personal Data Revolution: A robust discussion around the collection and management of personal data was in full swing at CES 2014. Startling news stories leading up to CES – ranging from the NSA’s aggressive surveillance to data breaches at Target, Snapchat and Skype – created a lively conversation about the potential and risks of leveraging personal consumer data.
  2. Innovate Through Partnerships: With the increased pace of innovation and the growing integration of technology into all aspects of life, some brands are finding that the only way to maintain relevance is to partner up.
  3. Technology & Analog Tension: Technology has infiltrated a significant portion of consumers’ lives and with “The Internet of Things” that trend is only set to continue. But any time the pendulum is swinging in one direction, there’s a natural undercurrent pulling it back to the other. At CES 2014, a healthy tension between a technology-laden life and a return to analog living was apparent.
  4. Modernizing Brand Presences At CES: So if everything really has changed as of CES 2014, the natural question is “How should modern brands show up at CES?”

I’ll look forward to seeing what progress the industry makes in 2014 (and of course, the inevitable products that totally fail too). In the meantime, I’ll be planning for January 6-9, 2015!

#ces #ces 2014 #brand #marketing #brand experience

There Are No Earlids.

As Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer pointed out, “There are no earlids.” Since that’s the case, and hearing is such an integral part of the human experience, why is it that sound is so often an afterthought?

Sound causes a powerful cognitive and emotional response in humans – it is integral to our survival, after all. A chord can bring us to tears, the 8-bit music of a Gameboy can make us ache for our childhood (yes, I am a young man). We are constantly bombarded by noise, especially in built up environments, and our brains are fantastically adept at filtering through them and choosing which ones deserve a response.

The power of this interaction in the retail space is staggering - a 1998 study by Adrian North, David Hargreaves and Jennifer McKendrick showed that in a bottle shop (liquor store or off-licence for you non-Aussie folk), playing either French or German music drastically affected the sales of French and German wines. This lesson, however, translates across all mediums of communication. 

Nike does a fantastic job of leveraging this interaction. For example, their 2013 installation ‘The Art + Science of Feeling’ was an interactive experience that used the brains reactions to different sensory stimulation to trigger auditory responses. Understanding that real time auditory feedback would stimulate a highly intimate response, the activation was very effective at showing how the new Hyperfeel shoe allows our bodies to connect to the environment.

This is the exception though, not the rule. Sadly sound (and I don’t mean narration or library music) is often overlooked as a vehicle to communicate with our audiences.  So in our world of designing experiences where the brand is a verb, the way people sonically connect is definitely worth a thought.

Up next – smells!

#sound #experience #emotions #hyperfeel #auditory #branding #brand experience

A Glimpse Into The Future Of NPR, From Its First-Ever Creative Director

This article with Liz Danzico is such a great read as she talks about how her role is basically defining NPR as brand experience. Exciting when a brand I love and respect put such an emphasis on what we live and breath as an agency.

#npr #Brand Experience #experience

Hearts & Minds (& the rest)

Butterflies in the stomach, cold feet, a shiver down the spine - emotions are visceral things. Part of the power of Brand Experience is the physical effect on emotions, and vice versa.

Now new research has mapped the embodied feelings associated with emotions, showing how powerful and universal they are:

image

Across groups of Western European and East Asian respondents (picked for their distinct cultural and linguistic environments), the similarities in responses far outweighed the differences.

So we’ll continue our mission to win over hearts and minds…but we won’t stop there.

#Brand Experience #research #emotions #embodied cognition #insights