Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Packaging is a brand experience that is often overlooked

Good packaging is vital.  It is frequently measured to be one of the most influential touchpoints.

Good packaging should make it easier for the consumer as they go through the process of selecting a brand in store – sometimes referred to as ‘the first ‘moment of truth.’

It should communicates clearly -the proposition and values.

It should help differentiation and stand-out on shelf.

That’s why brands organisations spend a lot of time and resource on trying to get it right.

Why is it then that they often get it wrong and use plastic moulding packaging that makes it impossible to open?

Brands should consider ‘the second moment of truth’ - the moment when consumers get home and try and open it- and reflect on what kind of brand experience their packaging is delivering. 

Beauty Care, DIY and Electrical should take particular care as they often get it wrong.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Zappos win by focusing on WOWing consumers

I have come across several blogs that talk enthusiastically about the recent SXSW conference and particularly the contribution made by the key note speaker Tony Hsieh – the CEO of Zappos.

During the conference Hsieh talked about Zappos and their 10 core values.

At the top of his list: to deliver WOW through service.

There is an excellent posting on Harvard Business Publishing explaining some of the reasons why Zappos is so successful. Part of the success is that they have got the economics and operations right - offering of a vast selection of goods, free delivery and returns.

However, what makes a real difference is their focus on WOW through service. They have mastered the art of telephone service. Their employees are smart and entertaining. They have no scripts, no call time limits and no robotic behaviour.

Zappos understands that it is not just about promising products that deliver – although this is key – but also about delighting consumers; by finding ways to surprise, to be magical and connect with them on an emotional level.

I love this.

It’s exactly what all brand organisations should be focusing on. Too many spend all their effort on the Promise to consumers via advertising. Most get the Delivery right but few Delight consumers.

Brand success comes through delivering great brand experiences that delight and drive advocacy. Zappos really get that - their turn-over has grown from $70m to almost $1billion in 5 years.

Most brand organisations could learn from them.

Concorde La Fayette don’t seem to get the importance of a great brand experience

I spend quite a lot of time in hotels. Last week I had the misfortune of staying in Concorde La Fayette in Paris. They seemed to be more interested in short term revenues than delivering brand experiences that could help sustain business growth.

After checking-in (on a corporate deal) everything they did focused solely on trying to extract more money from me:

- Internet connection = €15 for 24 hours (most hotels offer this for free)
- Film package = €30 (usually c. €10)
- Fitness centre = €25 (separate building)
- Breakfast = €28 (poor food and environment)

It reminds me of the Ryanair model (they charge for all extra and are even planning to charge flyers for using the toilets!).

I do not think this is not how a hotel should operate.

The best hotels focus on delivering great brand experiences designed to drive repeat business and advocacy.

The worst, like this one, fail to understand the importance of delighting consumers. Not only that, they probably don’t know that due to the internet they run the risk of wide spread negative word-of-mouth.

I have posted my negative comments on
TripAdvisor (mine are not the only negative comments). I do not expect to generate the kind of consumer backlash created by Jeff Jarvis with Dell but this posting is my way of letting off some steam.

Needless to say I will not be staying there again.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Porsche successfully delivers a great brand experience on TV

I came across this TV ad for Porsche.

I love it.

It delivers a brand experience that very elegantly captures what Porsche is all about

.…a car most people dream about owning.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

British Airways is a great airline but I wish they could add some magic to the brand experience

British Airways (BA) are our national carrier so an easy target for negative media stories. They are not alone. Even Virgin get it wrong [see previous post]

I am a regular business traveller and I think that, to be honest, they deliver pretty good brand experiences. 

So, how does BA perform on the Brand Experience Promise, Deliver and Deliver framework?

They promise and generally deliver a pleasant, safe and reliable service. I’m writing this blog from the JFK in New York. I fly home on the red-eye tonight and (God willing) will arrive home safely and on time.

Do they deliver brand experiences that delight?

I am loyal to British Airways and am pleased to be traveling with them. I’m in the executive lounge so have access to good food, drink and a nice shower. I am on-line thanks to their wireless network which is free. The air stewards should be polite and I hope to enjoy a recent film then catch a little sleep. 

Do I think they will do anything that will delight me in such a way that I go wow..that was a great brand experience? I suspect probably not. 

Should British Airways be trying to find ways to delight me? Absolutely. 

It’s tough, but if they could do something a bit magical I would probably move from being more than a loyal traveller by becoming a fan, and possibly even an advocate. 

If BA could delight more customers with great brand experiences they would turn more customers into advocates. This should help them achieve higher levels of business success that marketing alone could never deliver.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Wispa have responded to lobbying by fans

Thanks to Nick Burcher for bringing this word-of-mouth and social marketing Wispa campaign to my attention....

In response to lobbying by fans Cadbury have successfully bought back Wispa and have launched this new phase of their social marketing campaign.

Cadbury have a good track record of doing on-line stuff like this [see previous post], however, I'm not sure 'For the Love of Wispa' has the same evident appeal of 'Eyebrows.' It will be interesting to see how this activity plays out and whether fans become active advocates that pass it on

The ad industry is littered with plenty of 'buzz' marketing failures so I will track with interest the scale and sustainablity of this campaign.

Read Nick's post for the full story and to get his perspective of the key take-outs. 

Saturday, 14 March 2009

O2 success demonstrates why brands should focus on delivering brand experiences that delight customers

There is an excellent case study (IPA Effectiveness award) about how O2 changed the game in the UK mobile category by shifting their business focus from acquisition to retention.

At the time all nine UK brands concentrated their marketing budgets and efforts on trying to sign-up more and more customers - through heavy weight media advertising deals, deals, deals...

This was creating customer dissatisfaction, high levels of churn and an erosion of customer loyalty.

O2 decided it was time for change.

They started to put the customer at the centre of everything they did by delivering brand experiences that would delight customers. This included:

  •  Offering deals to existing customers only
  • Rewarding existing customers
  • Hiring extra staff to ensure their customer service improved
  • Changing their communications to highlight their new commitment to existing customers.

At the time this was a bold step but the results were impressive. New customers increased, churn declined and satisfaction ratings improved. The other key metric - average revenue per customer - also held steady.

Today O2 goes from strength to strength as they continue to find ways to delight customers with better and better brand experiences. I think their recent sponsorship of the O2 dome, and the Blueroom and priority tickets for shows is brilliant.

Other categories could learn from this.

I recommend getting key stakeholders in the brand organisation together to collaborate and find ways to genuinely deliver brand experiences that delight customers. If you get it right – like O2 – customers will become fans, and hopefully advocates.

It is a straightforward formula. More brands should try it. 

Friday, 13 March 2009

Apple vs HP. Apple don’t always win

I have posted before about Apple’s brilliant in-store experience and how they get that customer service is key. Apple focus a lot of effort on ensuring they deliver great brand experiences, particularly in-store.

However, it seems Apple does not always get it right.

I read an article by Innovation Playground that described how the customer service brand experience delivered by HP was significantly better than one handled by Apple.

This indicates to me that HP understands the benefit of looking after current users and investing in doing stuff that can turn them into fans, and potentially advocates. 

Thursday, 12 March 2009

I am a customer that has become the ad agency for Nikoi Island

To be true to one of the main themes of this blog I have to tell you about Nikoi Island.

My wife discovered it on-line (via Tripadvisor.com) and thought it looked idyllic.

It was. We were there 3 days and they were magical.

So, why am I writing about it?

As you may spot in the picture, while there I finished Jeff Jarvis’s book ‘What Would Google Do?’ [See my previous posting]

One rule in the book is: “Your customers are your ad agency.”

I agree. 

I am advocate (I’ve become Nikoi’s ad agency).

Why? That’s easy. They promised (it looked great on the website); they delivered (the transfer, facilities, food, etc, where excellent); and they delighted (the staff and service was perfect)

Read this blog... go there...what else can I say? (Oh yes, read the book.)

Friday, 6 March 2009

I'm on the beach...