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Tag: experience

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At Issue } essential reading

Does a Person Need to Be Physically Present for a Brand Experience to Resonate?

Matt Eastwood
Mar 4, 2014

What defines an experience? According to “the Internet,” an experience is “something that happens to somebody.” I like that definition. It’s vague without prerequisites and it does not delineate the environment or space. With the onslaught of real-time marketing and social media, brands are challenged to connect with their audiences in a very real way that will create lasting impressions, memorable experiences and, hopefully, customer loyalty.

The experience is the product

Joshua Porter
Jan 31, 2014

There is your product and then there is the experience someone has using your product. It’s easy to see the difference from afar, but to the person using your product they are one in the same. This cannot be understated. Every interaction with your product/service/company matters and becomes part of the product experience.

How Digital Transformation Drives Business Value

Valeria Maltoni
Dec 5, 2013

The operational benefits of business intelligence gathered through digital (and social) are often overlooked by organizations. Company silos are one of the main reasons for the disconnect. A connected experience from the web to the store through mobile is another aspect that takes second seat to the more visible presence in social for promotions and awareness.

Why Marketers Need to Master Page Flow

Tracey Wallace
Nov 25, 2013

Your task is simple: Create a site that leads users to an end goal.

Live Events Are King for Getting People to Recommend and Buy Brands

Lucia Moses
Nov 13, 2013

Word-of-mouth marketing may be the hot new trend, but when it comes to getting people to recommend a brand, nothing gets people talking up a brand like live experiences do, a new study shows.

Why Experience Marketing Is The New Future Of Engagement

Krisztina "Z" Holly
Nov 5, 2013

It is a peek into a new future of entertainment, branding, and marketing that companies can’t ignore: live and immersive experiences. And companies are now starting to explore the power of experience marketing to reach into the hearts and minds of their customers.

Here's How Kevin Systrom Plans To Make Instagram Ads Work

Austin Carr
Oct 4, 2013

This week, Instagram announced it would be rolling out Vogue-like photo and video ads on the service. Will they spoil the experience?

Shots of Awe: Experience Design

Jason Silva
Sep 17, 2013

Jason Silva every week as he freestyles his way into the complex systems of society, technology and human existence and discusses the truth and beauty of science in a form of existential jazz.

Why Brand Experiences Matter

Judy Abel
Sep 10, 2013

So whether it’s adventure or astrology, it’s important for marketers to expand the brand experience. The only way to do this is to develop a real understanding of the target audience.

Using Customer Experience To Drive Strong B2B Relationships

Aimee Lucas
May 16, 2013

Discussions about customer experience often focus on consumer-facing (B2C) companies, but what about organizations that sell to businesses (B2B)?

When it Comes To Loyalty, Experience Is Everything

Michael Hemsey
Mar 15, 2013

Summing up loyalty comes down to experiences: positive experiences engendering decades of loyalty and negative ones that take longer to subside.

5 Steps for Omni-Channel Readiness

Dan Darnell
Mar 8, 2013

Omni-channel is the future of retail, but it may not be right for everyone just yet. However, by taking one or more of these steps in 2013, your organization will be closer to achieving an omni-channel reality and demonstrate to your customers that you’re serious about building the ultimate customer experience.

The Journey To Customer Experience Maturity

Bruce Temkin
Feb 22, 2013

Smart companies want to deliver the best customer experience (CX) possible because they understand that good experience is the key driver of customer loyalty.

Your Customers Are Your Brand Experience

Ingrid Froelich
Feb 21, 2013

Customer experience has become the new differentiator. Short product development cycles now mean that many companies release new products that offer little differences in actual product features. To stand out, organizations now need to meet and exceed customer expectations.

Measuring the Distance Between a Brand Promise and a Brand Experience

Phil Johnson
Jan 30, 2013

How often do you come face-to-face with a hotel employee, fast food entrée, or piece of technology and say, “this is not quite living up to the dream?” Most of the time, we sigh and accept the perceptual gap between the brand promise and our experience.

The Secret Sauce Gesture Behind Vine And Snapchat

Mark Wilson
Jan 30, 2013

Vine and Snapchat both use the simplest of interactions--holding your finger anywhere on the screen (which I’ll call “tap-and-hold”)--to power core functions in their interface. And in each case, that single interaction changes everything about the app.

Disney to make standing in line — and cash — passe

Brooks Barnes
Jan 7, 2013

Imagine Walt Disney World with no entry turnstiles. Cash? Passe. Visitors would wear rubber bracelets encoded with credit card information, snapping up corn dogs and Mickey Mouse ears with a tap of the wrist. Smartphone alerts would signal when it is time to ride Space Mountain, without standing in line. Fantasyland? Hardly. It happens starting this spring.

Disney Raises Bar On Customer Experience With New Fantasy Land

Brandon Gutman
Dec 18, 2012

With New Fantasyland, we seized the opportunity to bring to life some new classic stories — Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid — using innovative technology and entertainment approaches that elevate the guest experience beyond anything we’ve ever delivered.

Customer Experience Should Be Part of Your Business

Harley Manning
Aug 30, 2012

We researched a number of companies that overcame the multi-channel dilemma — systematically — by applying business discipline to the practice of customer experience in an integrated way. Here are three of their most effective strategies.

Hilton Focuses On Global Experiences

Tanya Irwin
Jul 18, 2012

Hilton is evolving its current campaign to feature experiences that guests have at properties worldwide. Still using the two-year-old tagline “Stay Hilton. Go Everywhere,” the new interpretations include a series of print, online and out-of-home advertisements. Developed in collaboration with Cramer-Krasselt, the three creative executions are "Go Chill," "Go Refresh" and "Go Foodie."

User Experience And The Poison On The Tip Of The Arrow

Uzi Shmilovici
Apr 16, 2012

Amazing design is not enough. It is like fashion. Everybody is excited about it at the beginning, but then people are getting used to it and eventually it wears out. After it does, the user is left with the essence of the user experience.

Dunkin’ Donuts Interactive Bus Ad Sprays The Aroma Of Coffee

Jeremy D. Williams
Apr 11, 2012

A South Korean Dunkin’ Donuts campaign is reinventing the traditional radio advertisement using unique technology and the smell of coffee. The campaign, named, Flavor Radio releases coffee aroma via sound recognition technology.

Best Practices: From First To Worst - Continental In A Post United World, Lessons In Next Gen Custom

Ray Wang
Mar 2, 2012

Despite the numerous attempts by CEO Jeff Smisek to gloss over the issue with increasingly slicked up, feel good, on board welcome ads, Continental’s customer satisfaction numbers have reached the abyss of United’s. While United Holdings may tout their most admired status in the airline industry by Fortune, the award is measured by corporate executives, airline executives, boards of directors and industry analysts

The Three Layers Of Brand Perception

Nigel Hollis
Mar 2, 2012

I have been exploring the importance of brand meaning. My basic premise is that the brands which people find to be different in a good way are the ones they will be willing to pay a price premium for. But as I have explored this topic, I have come to realize that there are some very distinct layers of meaning (how a brand is perceived) and brand marketers need to work differently to motivate people within each level.

Experience Is The Next Frontier In Marketing

Jacob Braude
Mar 1, 2012

"Experience" is the marketing buzzword of our time. It seems like every week someone is extolling the vast untapped potential of experience to move your customers: Starcom recently created a Chief Experience Officer position; SMG Global CEO Laura Desmond has called experience the "future of advertising," and Starbucks is revitalizating through a focus on moments of "human connection."

How to Be a Top 50 Innovator

Holly Green
Feb 29, 2012

FastCompany recently released its list of the world’s 50 most innovative companies. Many of the names on the list come as no surprise, especially the top three (Apple, Facebook, and Google). But what caught my attention was the diversity of companies and industries represented.

Culture Vs. Strategy Is A False Choice

Bob Frisch
Feb 21, 2012

A strong culture is important, and for all the reasons Parr mentions: employee engagement, alignment, motivation, focus, and brand burnishing. But is it the most important element of company success, as the more ferocious of the culture warriors assert?

Why Some Think P&G's Innovation Is Slipping

Jack Neff
Feb 20, 2012

Tucked in an area north of Cincinnati is an office-warehouse building that looks like a movie set. It contains fully functional mockups of two homes (one upper-middle class, one lower-income) complete with kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms. It has two mock grocery stores and a virtual-reality lab where you can fly over store shelves. This is the Beckett Ridge Innovation Center, or BRIC, in P&G parlance. And P&G, whose innovation record has come under growing scrutiny, hopes it can deliver.

Letter From The Editor: The Lessons Of Innovation

Robert Safian
Feb 14, 2012

What do you get when you cross Walmart with Mother Teresa? Who would be the Square Deal candidate in 2012? And how in the world do you compare--and rank--such dynamic, eclectic businesses as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google?

Brand Experience, Values Increasingly Drive Loyalty

Karlene Lukovitz
Feb 6, 2012

More than ever, the core drivers of brand loyalty are emotional rather than rational. That’s the takeaway from the 2012 Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI), which marks the survey’s 16th year. While emotional engagement factors have become more critical each year, the influence of two core, overarching components rose markedly in 2012: the brand’s “values” and the consumer’s brand “experience.”

3 Design Essentials For Early Adopters

Seth Priebatsch
Jan 31, 2012

Good design is like pornography: You know it when you see it. Incredibly subtle Supreme Court justice jokes aside, design really can make or break a company--especially for an “early adopter” technology that hasn’t quite caught on yet. Convincing people to do anything that’s out of their comfort zone (in our case, getting them to pay with their phones using LevelUp) is tough. But one of the benefits of being somewhat early to a market is getting to define what an entirely new experience means for a person. In this instance, design, function, and brand can become one

Why service design is the next big thing in cultural innovation

Rohan Gunatillake
Dec 8, 2011

The lead producer of festivalslab Rohan Gunatillake gives four reasons why new thinking and tools can produce better experiences

Design Without Designers

Don Norman
Oct 7, 2010

I will always remember my first introduction to the power of good product design. I was newly arrived at Apple, still learning the ways of business, when I was visited by a member of Apple's Industrial Design team. He showed me a foam mockup of a proposed product. "Wow," I said, "I want one! What is it?" That experience brought home the power of design: I was excited and enthusiastic even before I knew what it was.

10 Mobile Interfaces That Rewire Daily Life

Oct 1, 2010

The only brands that stay relevant in our change world will be ones savvy about mobile technology.

A Better Choosing Experience

Sheena Iyengar and Kanika Agrawal
Sep 29, 2010

When consumers are overwhelmed with options, marketers should give them what they really want: ways of shopping that lower the cognitive demands of choosing.

A Tech World That Centers on the User

Nick Bilton
Sep 13, 2010

If you pull out your smartphone and click the button that says “locate me” on your mapping application, you will see a small dot appear in the middle of your screen. That’s you. If you start walking down the street in any direction, the whole screen will move right along with you, no matter where you go. This is a dramatic change from the print-on-paper world, where maps and locations are based around places and landmarks, not on you or your location. In the print world people don’t go to the store and say, “Oh, excuse me, can I buy a map of me?” Instead, they ask for a map of New York, or Amsterdam, or the subway system. You and I aren’t anywhere to be seen on these maps. The maps are locations that we fit into.

What Experience Would You Like with That?

Theodore Kinni
Sep 3, 2010

How a new view of consumers changed the way we think about products, companies, and economies.

The Story Behind Luxury Products, Experiences

Sep 3, 2010

Recently, there have been a number of newspaper and magazine articles about high-net-worth individuals seeking exclusive, exotic and thrill-seeking vacations. Luxury marketers should pay close attention to such reports because they imply two related and important facts about luxury in general: 1) Extraordinary experiences yield incredible stories (memories); 2) Having incredible stories is the enduring luxury. Obviously, you don't have to put yourself at risk in some faraway land to experience luxury. The question for luxury marketers is, what engenders "extraordinary experiences?"

Museums: The Past As Prologue

Aug 23, 2010

Chicago's Museum of Science+Industry (“MSI") is running a contest to pick somebody who'll literally live inside the place for a month later this year, in hopes that the winner will help promote it to the outside world. Visiting a museum is relatively cheap, easy, and offers at least the hint of a redeeming purpose, so it’s no surprise that the MSI isn’t hurting, nor are museums generally: over half of them nationwide reported attendance increases last year, and I’d bet MSI's 2 million-plus annual visitors make it one of America's most popular. But it's never too early to think about new visitors, nor too bold to consider improving on really good numbers. Bill Gates' adage that when companies realize they're in trouble it's already too late to do anything about it probably applies to museums, too.

Eyewear, With a Bit of Disney and a Touch of Apple

Jul 21, 2010

A wind tunnel. A concierge. A store that’s shaped like an eyeball. It doesn’t exactly sound like an eyeglasses retailer, but then, it’s not supposed to. Trying to pull itself out of the recession, Luxottica, the $6.6 billion eyewear company with retail outlets like Sunglass Hut and LensCrafters, is experimenting with a concept store that draws a little bit from Apple, and a lot from Disneyland. The idea is to make buying eyewear more of an event — and in the process, entice new customers from discount chains and online shopping.

A Transumer Manifesto

Simon Smith
Jul 1, 2010

From cars to designer clothes to children’s toys, there’s a growing trend towards “transumerism” and “collaborative consumption,” which emphasize sharing, renting and experiencing over owning. Is it just a fad? Or is this a significant trend that will reshape our approach to goods and commerce? I’ve pondered what I call “cloud living” before. Now let’s dig deeper.

How Businesses Learn The Value And Impact Of New Media: Uh-Oh Vs. Aha Moments

May 25, 2010

This year, Social Media marketing will gain significant support in resources and investment across businesses of all shapes and sizes. So what’s new? Now, a line is being drawn between edglings and underlings. Where we choose to stand affects the presence of our brand and value in new markets and our ability to capture attention where and how it is focused – both online and in the real world.

The Death of the Open Web

Virginia Heffernan
May 24, 2010

People who find the Web distasteful — ugly, uncivilized — have nonetheless been forced to live there: it’s the place to go for jobs, resources, services, social life, the future. But now, with the purchase of an iPhone or an iPad, there’s a way out, an orderly suburb that lets you sample the Web’s opportunities without having to mix with the riffraff. This suburb is defined by apps from the glittering App Store: neat, cute homes far from the Web city center, out in pristine Applecrest Estates. In the migration of dissenters from the “open” Web to pricey and secluded apps, we’re witnessing urban decentralization, suburbanization and the online equivalent of white flight.

Experiencing Social Media vs Monitoring it

May 10, 2010

Understanding your customers is general is obviously incredibly important, but you should also understand how your customers are using social media. This is something that often is overlooked when we advise companies on how to get started with social media. We teach them of the value of monitoring social media, of tracking company and industry mentions. Of knowing what's being said and where it is being said. But that's only half the battle. The 'why' gives meaning to the numbers. What social tools are your customers using? Why are they using them? What information are they looking for, and how do they want it to be delivered to them?

Create "Choosing" (Not "Shopping") Experiences

John Sviokla
May 6, 2010

There are many ways a merchant can create a choosing — not just a shopping — experience. For example we know from extensive research in the online realm (and from common sense) that ratings and popularity drive increases in sales. Yet nowhere in the stores could customers find reviews or any information about which items were most popular.

The Commoditized Customer

May 4, 2010

Maybe it's not our products that are getting commoditized. Maybe it's the customer. Consider this great quote about customer commoditization in May's HBR: When has a product category been commoditized? Most managers and business scholars will tell you it’s when competing products are indistinguishable in terms of tangible features and capabilities. But our research shows that commoditization is as much a psychological state as a physical one. A commoditized market is one in which buyers display rampant skepticism, routinized behaviors, minimal expectations, and a strong preference for swift and effortless transactions regardless of product differentiation. It's an important insight because, as marketers, our impulse is to try and product innovate and communicate our way out of the commodity trap. But, if customers have become convinced that the available choices are all OK and that any differences between products don't really matter, our efforts may be in vain. We may just end up adding to the noise that the customer is trying to avoid and not shifting opinion in any meaningful way.

Marketing And Happiness

Apr 20, 2010

Happiness is a hot topic these days. Scholars have recently noted some non-intuitive dynamics as to what makes people happy, and, of course, Americans are always in the pursuit of happiness. Marketers rarely, if ever, talk about happiness directly, but in designing digital offerings that promise an "experience," or when focused on building customer relationships, the covert subtext of most advertising should be the creation of the feeling of happiness.

Innovative Innovation

Denise Lee Yohn
Mar 10, 2010

A few weeks ago, Forbes ran an article entitled, “Innovation Beyond Apple.” The piece de-briefed a discussion among executives from a range of consumer goods companies including HSN, Mattel, and Chrysalis, an incubator company for emerging brands. It challenged readers to think about innovation differently, and many of the points resonated with me.

It's Time To Rebuild Brand Loyalty

Avi Dan
Feb 23, 2010

Brand loyalty is crucial for brand health. Ad agency founder Jim Mullen once said: "Of all the things that your company owns, brands are far and away the most important and the toughest. Founders die. Factories burn down. Machinery wears out. Inventories get depleted. Technology becomes obsolete. Brand loyalty is the only sound foundation on which business leaders can build enduring, profitable growth."

How Brands Can Win On The Web

Feb 17, 2010

Online buying is on the rise. U.S. shoppers spent $39 billion on the Web in the fourth quarter (ending Dec. 31) last year, up 3% from the year before, according to research company comScore. That number is expected to surge as more companies offer their wares online, and services such as eBay's PayPal and Google's Checkout, which just got a new vice president of commerce, streamline the buying process. The growth poses new opportunities and challenges for brands. How do brands win on the Web? How does online marketing differ from offline? How does a brand create loyalty when shoppers can easily switch to other brands they see on the Internet?

One Word: Networks

Feb 9, 2010

Read Bud Caddell's latest addition to The Library of Agency-of-the-Future-Prognostications: Who says the future needs an advertising agency? Between the post and the 50-some comments it's one of the most clear, comprehensive, and thoughtful summations of the industry's evolution that I've come across. After I read it, one word was echoing in my brain: Networks. The difference between what everyone has been doing, and what everyone needs to do is networks. We no longer create messages and experiences for groups of individuals; rather we create integrated experiences across all media environments that are specifically designed to serve and empower networks of connected people.

What is Design Thinking, Really?

Venessa Miemis
Jan 15, 2010

If you’re a businessperson or someone interested in understanding how to facilitate innovation, you’ve probably heard of “design thinking” by now. Coined by IDEO’s David Kelley, the term refers to a set of principles, from mindset to process, that can be applied to solve complex problems.


Paul Worthington
Jan 14, 2010

Creating a definition of the word brand seems to be both the easiest and perhaps the hardest thing to do. The challenge is not that the existing definitions aren’t correct (or more accurately weren’t correct). The challenge is that the environment in which brands live is inherently Darwinian. As the environment changes brands must adapt. Once brands have adapted enough then what you get are effectively new species - entities unlike what have gone before and that must now be defined in completely new ways. This has been a constant process over time, but I think we could now define ourselves as being in the third age of brand.

5 Marketing Principles Brands Should Embrace in 2010

Frank Striefler
Jan 13, 2010

Most of the marketing rules we lived by just five years ago are practically obsolete. The industry has faced more changes in the last five years than in the previous 50. Let's face it, there's no point in improving broken legacy models. Since necessity is the mother of invention, let's not waste this recession and instead use it to rethink how we go about branding in this new decade.

Sell Experiences, Not Products

Nov 16, 2009

What are the biggest mistakes sales people make selling to Boomers? To begin, they sell products and not experiences. Products should be positioned as gateways to experiences. Although all of us have basic values and motivators that drive us, we manifest them differently as we move through the spring, summer, fall and winter of life. Our need for identity, relationships, centering, gaining knowledge and growth, rejuvenation and recreation is always with us, but as we grow older, we focus more on having meaningful experiences, rather than gaining material goods.

In Search of the New Cool

Oct 27, 2009

“Most people know this feeling instinctively. When anything—a brand, a rock band, a style of clothing—becomes popular with a huge mass market, the cool people increasingly find it uncool, and look for something new.” –Kevin Maney. In his new book, “Trade-Off: Why Some Things Catch On, and Others Don’t,” author Kevin Maney makes the argument: “We constantly, in our everyday lives, make trade-offs between fidelity and convenience.” Recapping the book in a recent article for Fortune and CNN Money.com, Maney discusses: “How Starbucks lost its ‘fidelity’”.


Trend Briefing October 2009
Oct 14, 2009

In our June 2009 Trend Briefing, we covered FOREVERISM. But even then, we pointed out that the need for everything that is (right) now/current/real-time, is being satisfied in numerous novel ways, with (wait for it) the online world showing the way forward. Dubbed 'NOWISM', this mega trend has, and will continue to have, a big impact on everything from your corporate culture to customer relationships to product innovation to tactical campaigns. And yet you probably only have a few minutes to spare on it so we’ve done our best to keep this Trend Briefing digestible.

Disney’s Retail Plan Is a Theme Park in Its Stores

Oct 13, 2009

The Walt Disney Company, with the help of Steven P. Jobs and his retailing team at Apple, intends to drastically overhaul its approach to the shopping mall. At a time when many retailers are still cutting back or approaching strategic shifts with extreme caution, Disney is going the other way, getting more aggressive and putting into motion an expensive and ambitious floor-to-ceiling reboot of its 340 stores in the United States and Europe — as well as opening new ones, including a potential flagship in Times Square. Disney Stores, which the media giant is considering rebranding Imagination Park, will become more akin to cozy entertainment hubs.

The New Viral Marketing Engine

Oct 13, 2009

What do Ninja Turtles, Facebook, Hush Puppies and Pokémon all have in common? The answer reveals the secrets to creating a viral marketing machine. Back when I worked on the Hawaiian Punch business for P&G, we spent a fair amount of time analyzing how "fads" became popular with kids. We tried to understand what ignited meteoric "viral" success. We learned some ingredients of viral campaigns -- ease of acquisition, transition and novelty -- but we never really cracked the code of how to predictably recreate a viral marketing engine. For the last few years, there has been a host of books presenting research on how to create a viral marketing engine. These texts add insight into the dynamics of viral marketing, but they fail to define how to execute viral marketing well. How, for instance, do you realistically and reliably identify influencers or content creators or mavens?

Facebook Marketing: Consumers As Friends

Oct 12, 2009

As Facebook passes 300 million active users, it is quickly becoming the favorite engagement-marketing and communications platform of brands. While the robust social platform brings with it abundant opportunity, it also brings new challenges. Brand marketers and their creative agencies are more than ever operating in new territories, forced to rethink their tactical marketing approach and understanding of what metrics matter in this space. On Facebook, consumers and brands are friends. The notion of consumers as friends is inviting to brands, yet most marketers are still somewhat unclear what this really means and how they should approach this friendship. As such, the remainder of this article aims to unlock some of the secrets to a successful friendship between a brand and a consumer on Facebook.

The Reports of Newspapers’ Death Are (Perhaps) Greatly Exaggerated

Cathy Brooks
Sep 30, 2009

I admit it. I’m old fashioned. That may seem a silly statement coming from someone as deeply steeped in the digital realm as I, but when it comes to certain things this Silicon Valley geek likes to roll old school. I believe in charcoal barbecues. I believe in hand-writing thank you notes. I believe that white shoes have no business being worn after Labor Day. Most of all though, and to the great amusement of many I know, I believe in daily newspapers.

It’s Not About The Coffee

Sep 30, 2009

Starbucks is launching instant coffee. What?! Yes, that’s right. They’ve been testing VIA instant coffee in Chicago, Seattle and London and are now rolling it out in Starbucks stores and other venues across the U.S. and Canada. When it showed up in our Starbucks stores in Chicago this summer, I couldn’t believe it. It is one more example of how they’ve lost their way. Starbucks’ brand is anything but instant.

Can Hulu Crack The Code On Social TV?

Sep 28, 2009

Last night Hulu continued their partnership with Facebook to allow people to watch the premiere of highly anticipated Fall TV shows such as Heroes and The Office with their Facebook friends through a "social TV" app. With this latest effort, they are trying to popularize a concept that has been talked about among the techno-elite for some time ... the idea that people could watch programming in a live stream online with friends and have a real time conversation about it as it was happening. In preparation for this blog post, I was all set to register for the event on Facebook and login at 8pm to watch the premiere of The Simpsons with any of my Facebook contacts who happen to be also watching it live. Unfortunately, that plan failed. My personal failure, however, offers a glimpse for marketers into what the true potential of social TV might be - and why there is so much skepticism and debate about whether it constitutes a real revolution in the world of entertainment, or is just another solution for a nonexistent problem by an industry increasingly desperate to find new revenue models.

Rising Dough: Why Panera Bread Is on a Roll

Sep 22, 2009

Mention Panera Bread and fans are as likely to praise the free Wi-Fi as they are to gush about the Asiago cheese bagels. And that, execs at the $2.6 billion restaurant chain say, is the point. While its competitors scale back on upscale ingredients, trim portion sizes, and create value menus, Panera is selling fresh food and warm bread at full price, and encouraging customers to linger. That recipe is succeeding.

Systems Thinking: A Product Is More Than the Product

Don Norman
Sep 3, 2009

In reality a product is all about the experience. It is about discovery, purchase, anticipation, opening the package, the very first usage. It is also about continued usage, learning, the need for assistance, updating, maintenance, supplies, and eventual renewal in the form of disposal or exchange. Most companies treat every stage as a different process, done by a different division of the company: R&D, manufacturing, packaging, sales, and then as a necessary afterthought, service. As a result there is seldom any coherence. Instead, there are contradictions. If you think of the product as a service, then the separate parts make no sense - the point of a product is to offer great experiences to its owner, which means that it offers a service. And that experience, that service, comprises the totality of its parts: The whole is indeed made up of all of the parts. The real value of a product consists of far more than the product’s components.

What Promises Can Your Consumer Experience Make?

Aug 21, 2009

"I promise." It's a simple statement. One uttered by children trying to convince their parents that they will be good, by husband and wife on their wedding day (and every week on trash day). A promise builds a strong emotional connection between two people. They are simple words, but when spoken from the heart (and delivered on), they form the foundation for meaningful relationships--and consumer experiences.

How Customers Saying "No" Can Become a Consumer Experience "Yes"

Steve McCallion
Aug 20, 2009

Repeat after me: "Your customer doesn't have the answers!" I thought we put this to rest fifteen years ago, but apparently there are a number of companies still trying to create innovative consumer experiences by asking people what they want. Consumers want what their neighbors have. They have no idea what's next--they consume!

Building Consumer Experience Value Using the Power of Metaphors

Aug 19, 2009

We were wrapping up a meeting with a client who was developing a new neighborhood. Through a combination of field research, trend studies and historical analysis we defined a story and collection of artifacts and experiences that would make this place meaningful to potential residents as well as the neighboring community. After the meeting our client said, "I finally understand what you guys do. You orchestrate the obvious."

Transformation Interrupted

Jonathan Salem Baskin
Aug 19, 2009

According to market research firm Hartman Group, consumer loyalty is shifting -- from products and brands, to the experiences offered by retailers -- in a radical transformation that started before the recession. I think the change is much bigger than that. Hartman is onto something because it specializes in enthnographic market research (among other tools), which is an attempt to understand consumers in the context of their lives, both in terms of their knowledge and beliefs, and through their behaviors. I believe the firm is saying that capturing consumers' attention with creative and/or compelling marketing communications no longer carries the water in our busy, confused, noisy lives; experiences are what stick, bring differences into sharp focus, and compel purchases.

How to Create Experiences to Bring a Brand's Story to Life

Aug 18, 2009

Sohrab Vossoughi believes in love -- the love marketers must create when trying to connect with consumers. Mr. Vossoughi, the founder and principal of Ziba Design, in Portland, Ore., said his job is to help clients create experiences for their customers, because the "experience is what brings them back for more." He launched Ziba, a product-development firm, in 1984 and directs projects for marketers including McDonald's, FedEx, Hyundai, Whirlpool, Xerox, Black & Decker, Samsung, Microsoft, Nike, Pioneer, Sanyo and Coleman. "We design experiences in multiple platforms -- object, communications, environment interaction/interface and the combination of all of those," he said.

Does Your Company Support Consumer Experience Innovation?

Steve McCallion
Aug 18, 2009

A few years ago, we were asked by a regional coffee roaster to redefine the coffee experience for fine dining. We knew that Americans drank coffee after dinner for functional purposes (to wake/sober up), but we wanted to understand how we could create a more emotional experience. We grabbed our notepads, went into the field, drank a lot of coffee, studied coffee rituals from different cultures and ultimately crafted a compelling coffee experience that could have resurrected the after dinner coffee ritual in America. The client loved it, but never brought it to market. Why?

The Waning Days of 'Mere' Music Licensing

Aug 13, 2009

From the early strains of "Revolution" by Nike, marketing has increasingly co-opted the soundtracks of popular culture to create emotional resonance. And, boy, has the dance between marketers and music changed. No longer are brands and agencies willing to "crutch-up" their advertising with simply a popular song. In fact, the practice of slapping a song in at the last minute is moving into the Ice Age. What continues to thaw and thrive is the shared-values model, that fertile area where what the brands want us to experience and what the bands want us to experience is the same place.

The Value of Real-Time Customer Care

Allen Adamson
Aug 12, 2009

One of the best parts of vacationing in a small town is visiting the local video store, where the proprietor--a scruffy guy who loves everything related to movies--will recommend films that he thinks you'll love. There's no scientific algorithm to his suggestions, no data analysis or statistical assessment. The owner makes his recommendations based on bits and pieces of casual conversation with customers. I was thinking about that video store as I read about the contest hosted by Netflix, which offered a $1 million prize to anyone who could significantly improve its recommendation system and ended in July. While digital technology has made our lives more convenient in many ways, especially in the way it helps people make buying decisions, smart companies realize that there are some things even the most sophisticated digital applications can't do. Above all, they can't replace the personal touch that often helps consumers distinguish one brand from another.

What Next for the CMO?

Paul Worthington
Aug 10, 2009

In the U.S., the average tenure for a CMO is roughly 23 months. In the U.K., it is even shorter. Al Ries states over at AdAge that of all the firms in the Fortune 1000, only 7% of the most highly paid executives have marketing in their job title, and only 15% of those same firms even have a senior level marketing position, such as CMO.

Learning from Games: A Language for Designing Emotion

Aug 4, 2009

Emotion is one of the most powerful elements of an experience, and also the most difficult to design. Yet games regularly inspire intense emotions, drawing players into the experience they offer, and making these experiences enjoyable and memorable.

Why the Starbucks "15th Ave" Store Is Doomed to Fail

Jul 29, 2009

Late last week, Starbucks opened a new coffeehouse. Considering they have around 15,000 outlets, this might not seem like news. But there's a wrinkle: the new coffeehouse is called 15th Ave. Coffee & Tea, and is an attempt by SBUX to create a distinct, bespoke, of-the-neighborhood coffeehouse.

Starbucks Goes Back to Its Roots With Cafe Concept

Jul 20, 2009

Starbucks is going back to its premium-coffeehouse roots -- by building premium coffeehouses. The chain, in the latest attempt to negotiate its turnaround, is focusing on stores with smaller-batch coffee, community involvement and entertainment.

The Age Of Responsible Consumerism

Jul 20, 2009

Welcome to the dawn of Responsible Consumerism -- arguably the most profound shift in American values since the 1960s. We saw this seismic shift coming a generation away. Members of both the G.I. and Silent generations, those now ages 64 and older, led the way by reducing their own consumption of goods and services as they grew older. Their desires shifted as they reached age 50 and then 60: fewer material goods, more enriching experiences. Fast on their heels comes the largest, wealthiest and most important demographic group America has even seen. Boomers, raised in front of television sets, a target for marketers from age five upward, are now reaching 60 at the rate of one every eight seconds.

Branding Meets Customer Service

Jun 12, 2009

"Next in line!" shouts the counter person in the fast food restaurant. If you're the customer, the impersonal language of the server says that you are nothing more than the next 'cheeseburger-do-you-want-fries-with-that?" order. But go down the block to another fast food establishment and you'll find employees who have been trained to ask, "May I help the next guest, please?" For thousands of companies that depend on the instant impressions created during these Moments of Truth between employee and customer, the words that employees use are more than just language. How your employees speak with your customers is, quite literally, your brand brought to life.

Can Advertising Change Consumer Behavior?

Jun 5, 2009

That's THE question to ask: Will our advertising effect consumer actions, and not simply awareness, perceptions and attitudes? But, there's a follow on question to ask: Once advertising has moved someone to experience our brand, will said experience cause them to change their habits? To become a "customer?"

Hold Up The Bing Bandwagon

Jun 4, 2009

I seem to be in the minority. Everybody (including fellow Search Insider Aaron Goldman) seems to be jumping on the Bing bandwagon. It's generated some good initial reviews, and Aaron goes as far as to say, "Bing is far and away the most serious challenge to Google that anyone's ever posed."

The Importance of Silence

May 28, 2009

A conversation about why we need silence with Stephen Chinlund.

Customer Service Is the New Marketing

May 28, 2009

We wrote last month about the Zappos story, about how they have used customer service to extend and enhance the customer experience and how this has had a positive impact on sales, satisfaction and growth. This example highlights the power of customer service - of listening to and then rewarding customers.

You Can’t Win On Price

Apr 15, 2009

Every day consumers log onto the Internet from their computer to search out the best prices on the products and services they want. Ask anyone selling software, TVs, even cars and they’ll tell you a story about a consumer coming in holding the printout from a website. The Internet has created a price transparency dynamic that has fundamentally altered price driven industries like computers, hotels and airlines. And it’s going to get worse.

Retail's Ecosystem

Mar 25, 2009

The store, as a medium, represents a complex environment - an ecosystem, if you will, laced with competition, cooperation and evolution. And like many ecosystems, the store is evolving rapidly.

Starbucks Faces Existential Crisis In Downturn

Mar 23, 2009

Most years, Howard Schultz, chairman and chief executive of Starbucks, uses the annual shareholders meeting to introduce a major new product or a cool new piece of coffee-making equipment. Something buzzworthy. At this year's meeting, held in Seattle on Wednesday, there was nothing in the way of buzz, and Schultz introduced nothing new, except for a focus on "value" and a fresh effort to squash the "myth" that "there is a $4 cup of coffee at Starbucks."

I Didn't Know The Rules

Mar 23, 2009

I think the intimate relationship players have with videogames makes engagement with a brand seem like a bad blind date, but in both cases you've got to know the rules.

Why Advertising Is Failing On The Internet

Eric Clemons
Mar 22, 2009

The Internet shatters all forms of advertising. “The problem is not the medium, the problem is the message, and the fact that it is not trusted, not wanted, and not needed.”

TV Ads and Viewers: Together at Last?

Mar 12, 2009

A study has shown that viewers enjoy TV shows more with ad breaks, but it's no cause for celebration.

MIT Students Turn Internet Into a Sixth Human Sense

Mar 1, 2009

Students at the MIT Media Lab have developed a wearable computing system that turns any surface into an interactive display screen. The wearer can summon virtual gadgets and internet data at will, then dispel them like smoke when they're done.

Are You Important To Me

Jan 26, 2009

I ate dinner the other night at an Applebees. You might know that this chain of restaurants calls itself your neighborhood grill and bar. I used to scoff at that sentiment until the other night. But my experience there got me thinking: about service, about interactions, about what this all means to me, and about questions of scale.

Consumer Electronics: Innovate or Die

Sohrab Vossoughi
Jan 2, 2009

Here are four ways the industry can fix what's broken and revamp its business strategies.

Red Bull Plans Manhattan Snowboard Competition

Dec 19, 2008

Red Bull is creating a massive snowboarding arena in lower Manhattan this winter as a branded venue for Red Bull Snowscrapers, a competition that pits snowboarding icons against each other for a piece of the $100,000 purse.


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