BREAKING THE MOLD OF CONVENTIONAL DESIGN A NEUROMARKETING GUIDE FOR MULTIFAMILY DEVELOPMENTS
CONTENTS About the Guidebook Naming + Neuroscience Using Psychographics Sensory Branding An Overview Scent Sound Experience-based Marketing and Design The Consumer Journey: Creating Advocates Branding Brain-Friendly Website Design Interior Design Experience-based Interior Design Customer Service Customer Experience Management
This Guidebook is ÂŠ Q7 Associates, 2015 Q7Associates.com | 00 + 1 317 -636-2639
ABOUT THIS GUIDEBOOK This guidebook was composed to help assist the Multifamily and Mixed-Use industry with marketing and design practices that have proven successful within the industry. Using advanced concepts and research in the field of neuroscience has enabled the hospitality industry to always be at the forefront of understanding the value of and return on creating customer experiences. Recently, the multifamily housing industry has seen similarities in the services and designs that have been historically practiced within the hospitality industry. Combining the industry practices with the field of neuroscience has allowed marketing and design agencies to expand their understanding about human behaviors and habits in a current market. When you are selling a creative concept, everything doesn’t have to be a WOW wall idea. Creativity is not always synonymous with effectiveness since an emotional side of a design may be more critical to a product’s success than its practical elements. It is better to understand how your message will be perceived. How will your end-user interact with your message? Telling a story is the best way to get your end-user engaged in your product/message/design. You don’t need to write a lengthy story, but develop the visual and contextual information so that it resonates emotionally with your end-user. A person looking for a drill bit isn’t really looking for a drill bit, they’re looking for a hole. An early example of Experience-based Marketing and Design comes from the Betty Crocker Company who introduced its ready-made-cake with a “just add water” concept to make life easier in the 1950’s. Unfortunately, the product failed when it first hit the supermarket shelves. A study conducted by market researchers found that “The customer felt no sense of accomplishment, no involvement with the product. It made her feel useless, especially if somewhere her aproned mom was still whipping up cakes from scratch” (Donald A. Norman, Emotional Design). The solution to the problem was simple - have the cook add an egg to the mix and “thereby putting pride back into the activity”. This book is intended to bridge the traditional practices of marketing and design with a greater understanding on ways to better connect with your audience in a modern world. 5
NAMING + NEUROSCIENCE Best practices for naming your company, project or product
99% of the best business names don’t use all numbers, have hyphens and don’t follow any trend or fad. The naming experts at Brandings have studied tens of thousands of company names and product names to determine the underlying factors that make them appealing. Here are a few examples of good business names. Consider this: Did you know that...“Students whose names start with A or B earn higher grades than those with C or D names. Baseball players whose names start with K strike out slightly more often than the rest of the player population (a strikeout is marked as a “K”). Is this effect real?” Studies like these suggest we should take into consideration Implicit Egotism when creating names for appropriate markets. Implicit Egotism is a theory in psychology which asserts that most people associate positively with themselves and therefor tend to prefer things connected to themselves. Let’s face it, no one cares more about your company, project or product name than you do... and that can sometimes become a problem. Yes, the name is a first impression of your brand; however, it is often never without contextual support. Your brand name is often associated with additional verbal, written or visual content - the name will appear on a website, a store front, in a news article or press release, on a business card, on the product itself, in advertisements, or, at its most naked, in a conversation. Additionally, if your 7
brand is focused on a luxury brand group that appreciates having an elite status, a name that isn’t easy to pronounce isn’t always a bad thing. Think of your name in its verbal context: Beau Salon could easily be verbally translated as Bow Salon and creates two different perceptions. Do you live in Carmel or Carmèl?
Brand strategists often rely on what is known as the “bouba/kiki effect” (non-arbitrary mapping between speech sounds and the visual shape of objects). The best brand names become a part of consumers’ vocabularies and synonymous with the items they represent, like Kleenex has with tissues. Determining a name for a company is about “being authentic to the personality of the organization,” A foundational aspect of this process concerns sound symbolism, and the visual associations words carry. Most companies error on the side of being too descriptive with their naming. Its better to choose an “evocative” name. “A descriptive naming strategy overlooks the fact that the whole point of marketing is to separate yourself from the pack. It actually works against you, causing you to fade into the background, indistinguishable from the bulk of your competitors. This type of name is arrived at because of the lust for a domain name, consensus building and as a shortcut to trademark approval. At some point in the process marketing left the room, and nobody seemed to notice. And while they may technically be unique, it’s at the level of a snow flake in a snow bank.” Evocative names generate more interest and have personality. Read more by Igor Naming and review examples of Evocative Naming versus Descriptive Naming practices. We pay more attention to Evocative Names because the brain pays more attention to things that are unusual because they stand out. If I told you, “he picked up the nail and hammered it into the wood.” that’s not very exciting, but if I said, “he picked up the nail and hammered it into his head.” that gets your attention. We’re not suggesting you shock your audience, but consider something different. MiMA, a property development in Manhattan is a good example. You can also look at naming as a way of “priming” your audience for what to expect about your brand. Priming is an subconscious process of human memory concerned with perceptual identification of words and objects. Subjects were shown the word “cake” in an experiment for a few dozen milliseconds – this is such a brief time that one does not consciously perceive it. Nevertheless, the participants could recognize and process words such as “sweet” or “pastry” quicker. At the same time, words release certain feelings. Arthur Jacobs, a psychologist from Berlin found in a research project at the Humboldt University, that love, freedom, being happy, fit 8
and brilliant [liebe, freiheit, freuen, topfit und brillant] created very positive feelings in German speaking subjects. Destroy, heartless, dead and war [zerstĂśren, herzlos, tot and krieg] lead to the most unpleasant emotions. These are terms that are rather seldom used in relation to user manuals. But it is important for technical writers to know: Words are not neutral. Each word bearing meaning, that you use, triggers an emotion in the readers or listeners. You can crowdsource names; however, there are advantages and disadvantages to this practice. Itâ€™s probably best you look toward a professional firm to assist with the process. You might find a name you like; however, it may have limitations on how it can be visually defined. Professional naming firms will take the time to look for trademark regulations, competition, slang and other potential roadblocks. You can find a list of crowdsourcing sites here.
THE POWER OF A STORY Does your name have a story? The founders of the website Significantobjects. com, a site devoted to quantifying the bottom-line power of story at a product level, say, “Stories are such a powerful driver…that their effect on any given [product’s] subjective value can be measured objectively.” The website is home to an experiment that goes like this: the founders buy thrift store, garage sale, and flea market products, always cheap, no more than a couple dollars at most. $1.25 or $125.00? It’s all in the story.... Then, they hire a writer to compose a fictional story about the product, imbuing it with heritage, history, and ostensibly, value. The once-valueless products, accompanied by their new stories, are then sold auction-style on eBay. The difference between the original purchase price and story price is recorded as the objective value of that story. The takeaway results for the first 100 products bought, storied, and then resold on eBay are poignant and telling. On average, the original product price was $1.29. But the average resale price after a story was added grew to a staggering $36.12. All in all, the experiment shows that even at a micro level, story can increase product value by a whopping 2,706 percent (or more, in the case of this snow globe). RECAP » » » » » »
Avoid using all numbers as the name of your business name Choose an Evocative Name over a Descriptive Name Make sure the name passes the Bouba/Kikki Effect Will the name evoke positive emotional responses How can the name and the brand designs create an experience that will prime your audience Does the name have a story that personalizes the experience
USING PSYCHOGRAPHICS Why lifestyles are better than demographics
Psychographics is often associated with IAO variables (Interests, Activities and Opinions) and is used by marketing firms to design a product, campaign or program that appeals to a specific audience by identifying their common personality traits, values, opinions, attitudes, interest and lifestyle. While demographics focuses on historic generations and classification of these groups such as Baby Boomer Generation or Generation X, psychographics identifies groups based on common beliefs, attitudes, values and behaviors. Purchases are often related to brands and products through lifestyle and interests and less connected by a generation classification. Psychographic profiles can be a useful tool for the multifamily housing industry that is focused on creating a strong marketing plan that does not violate Fair Housing laws. Instead of creating a marketing plan that is based off of the needs of individuals, you are able to create experiences based on what a community desires most; thus, making your product more memorable in the minds of your audience. Psychographic segmentation divides the market into groups based on social class, lifestyle and personality characteristics. Psychographic profiles can be used to create marketing and design concepts to attract an audience that shares similar characteristics and lifestyle patterns. 13
For more informatoin and a complete breakdown on Psychographic Segmentations, the examstutor.com provides an in-depth and easy to understand process. Artistry, located in Indianapolis, is one property that shows some concepts that can result from the use of psychographic segmentations: Artistry is a mixed-use, multifamily development by Milhaus. For this project, Q7 Associates used psychographic profiles to fulfill marketing and design concepts that reflected the needs of a communityâ€™s interests. As a result, the property took on an art experience concept featuring a permanent collection of artwork throughout the building by local artists and a rotating gallery space that features monthly exhibits.
Above, management teamâ€™s business cards all have their own signature, creating a position of pride and individuality in the work that is being done to create a positive experience.
At left, the sub-branded â€œred dotâ€? on each apartment unit sign reflects the gallery red dots used to identify a work of art that has found an owner.
SENSORY BRANDING AN OVERVIEW
Sensory branding is a type of marketing that appeals to all the senses in relation to the brand. It uses the senses to relate with customers on an emotional level. Brands can forge emotional associations in the customersâ€™ minds by appealing to their senses. A multi-sensory brand experience generates certain beliefs, feelings, thoughts and opinions to create a brand image in the consumerâ€™s mind. It is used to relate to the customer in a more personal way than mass marketing. It is a technique that does what traditional forms of advertising cannot. It is used in retail design, magazines, showrooms, trade-fair booths, service centers, and corporate headquarters. A multi-sensory experience occurs when the customer is appealed to by two or more senses. The higher number of sensory memories activated, the stronger the bonding between brand and consumer. Multisensory appeal pointedly affects the perception of the quality of the product-and thus the value of the brand. Multisensory brands can carry higher prices than similar brands with fewer sensory features. We absorb information about an event through our senses, translate it into electrical signals (some for sight, others from sound, etc.) disperse those signals to separate parts of the brain, then reconstruct what happened, eventually perceiving the event as a whole. 17
SOUND is fundamental to building the mood and creating the atmosphere of whatever narrative is being told. Sound is hard-wired into our emotional circuits. For example, the muscles in the middle ear of a newborn infant reflexively tighten in preparation for the pitch of a human voice. Hearing is passive; listening is active. The sound of a brand should target both the hearer and the listener. The slower the music, the more people shop. The faster the music, the less they spend. Related studies have shown significantly longer dining times for restaurant tables when slow music was played. This results in more money being spent at the bar. The average bill for diners was 29 percent higher with slow music playing in the background than with fast. Happy music produces happy moods; however, sad music resulted in greater levels of purchase intent, lending credibility to the age-old saying. â€œWhen the going gets tough, the tough goes shopping.â€? The primal brain goes hunting. 18
Every product has a sound. Microwaves ping, corks pop, sodas bubble, cornflakes crunch, water bottles seals strip and they pervade our lives. For example, wine bottles are now coming with screw tops – does wine sealed with a cork taste better than wine sealed with a screw top? No. The screw top reminds you of a soda and fails to assure the quality of the wine. The tactile sensations associated with opening a bottle of corked wine are lost. Combine that with experience and tradition – New Year’s Eve instead of a major pop, partygoers would hear only a sad, subtle, spirit-deflating fizz. The ritual would be gone, the champagne would taste awful, and the event would be a dud – all from a simple cork. There’s no doubt about it, sound is immensely powerful. And yet 83% of all the advertising communication we’re exposed to daily (bearing in mind that we will see two million TV commercials in a single lifetime) focuses, almost exclusively, on the sense of sight. That leaves just 17% for the remaining four senses. Think about how much we rely on sound. It confirms a connection when dialing or texting on cell phones and alerts us to emergencies. When the sound was removed from slot machines in Las Vegas, revenue fell by 24%. Experiments undertaken in restaurants show that when slow music (slower than the rhythm of a heartbeat) is played, we eat slower--and we eat more!
SIGHT has, until recently, been perceived as being the most powerful of our senses; however, research indicates that this may no longer be true. 83% of the information people retain is received visually. Pictures transfer information. There are things we know about how pictures grab attention. We pay lots of attention to color, orientation and size and we pay special attention to objects in motion. Less text, more pictures – pictorial information may be more attractive to consumers because it takes less effort to comprehend.
SMELL is by far the most persuasive of all the senses. Smells have an unusual power to bring back memories because smell signals bypass the thalamus and head straight to their destination, which include that supervisor of emotions known as the amygdale. Smell can also alter our mood – test results have showed a 40% improvement in our mood when we’re exposed to a pleasant fragrance-particularly if the fragrance taps into joyful memory. Research has also shown our sense of smell has changed over the years and we now prefer the smell of artificial leather to real leather.
Two identical pairs of Nike running shoes were placed in two separate, but identical rooms. One room was infused with a mixed floral scent. The other wasn’t. Test subjects inspected the shoes in each room. 84% preferred the shoes displayed in the room with the fragrance and estimated the value of the scented shoes on average to be $10.33 higher than the pair in the unscented room.
TASTE TASTE and smell are closely interlinked and known as the chemical senses since both are able to sample the environment. TOUCH How a brand feels has a lot to do with what sort of quality we attribute to the product. In a survey, 46% of consumers stated that the feel of their phone was more important than the way it looked. Example: A device as simple as a remote control can tell us a great deal about the quality of a brand. The heavier the remote- the better the quality according to the consumer that makes a decision based off of feel rather than looks. SENSORY BRAND CRITERIA: » Fewer than 10 percent of the world’s top brands demonstrate a sensory branding platform, although within the next five years, this figure will jump to 35 percent. » Is the brand taking advantage of all available sensory touch points? » Is there a strong, consistent synergy across each of the touchpoint? » To what degree does the brand reflect an innovative sensory mind-set that sets it apart from its competitors? » To what extent does the consumer associate these sensory signals with this particular brand – and how authentic do they perceive these signals to be? » How distinct and integrated are these signals for the consumer? 21
SENSORY BRANDING SCENT SENSORY PROCESSING According to the Buying Brain, our senses are taking in about 11 million bits of information every second. Most of that comes through our eyes, but all the other senses are contributing as well hearing, touch, smell, taste, and spatial sensations. Our conscious brains–that part of thinking in which we are aware of thinking–can only process, at best, 40 bits of information per second. Scent is the only one of the 5 senses that taps directly into the part of the brain responsible for emotion and memory; however, our sense of smell is hardwired to our emotions - 75% of our emotions are generated by what we smell. In fact, you are 100 times more likely to remember something that you smell than something that you see, hear or touch. THE SCENT INDUSTRY The global scent-marketing industry is on the rise, grossing an estimated $200 million in revenue last year and growing around 10 percent annually, said Jennifer Dublino, vice president of development at ScentWorld Events, the industry’s trade group in Scarsdale, N.Y. Scent marketing is divided into two main categories: ambient scenting, which fills a space with a pleasant smell (ranging from $100 to $1,000 per month); and scent branding, which develops a signature scent specific to a brand, like an olfactory logo (ranging in price from $3,000 to $25,000). 23
INFLUENCE OF SCENT IN MARKETING Consider the following research by The Scent-It Palette: 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase if they can smell the product. People remember 35% of what they smell, compared to just 5% of what they see, 2% of what they hear, and 1% of what they touch. 83 % of info people retain is received by smell. Approx. 80 - 90% of taste is the result of smell. 75% of Emotions are triggered by smell. Emotion and memory are key drivers of purchase behavior. Integrating scent into print advertising increases consumer attention, inspires awareness, and stimulates purchase activity to a higher degree than un-scented advertising media. Multifamily Housing should consider using scents that evoke characteristics that are clean, gender neutral and uplifting. Taking note from the hospitality industry - the following information provided by ScentMarketingToday.com: For example, the Mandarin Oriental uses a mandarin blossom tea scent to evoke not only its décor, but also its name. St. Regis wants guests feel like they are arriving at a lovely home, furnished by Mrs. Astor. Their signature scent includes roses and sweet peas, Mrs. Astor’s favorite flowers, mixed with a touch of Mr. Astor’s tobacco. Le Méridien hotels wanted to unify its properties to be of a consistent quality and feel, appealing to creative people like artists, architects, designers, and chefs. Now, upon entering the hotel doors, guests experience a whiff of old books, leather, and wood sweetened with vanilla. Hyatt hotels scent each of their properties, and take this strategy one step further. For their upscale Park Hyatt brand, each individual location has its own unique scent to emotionally bind guests to the property and distinguish it from others, even within the Park Hyatt family. Scent branding can be integrated strategically in ways that purposefully communicate your brand and connect with your audience. The process of scent branding can also be left to its own devices and potentially resulting in a bad brand experience. Think of the traffic that moves through your properties and what types of smells are associated with the brand. A bad smell can result in a bad sell. 24
SENSORY BRANDING SOUND SOUND HAS THE POTENTIAL TO MAKE AND SAVE YOU MONEY. Consider the fact that classical music has been found to deter vandalism, loitering, and even violent crime in Canadian parks, 7-Eleven parking lots, and subways. Figures released in 2006 showed that when classical music was piped over loudspeakers in the London Underground, robberies dropped by 33 percent, assaults on staff by 25 percent, and vandalism of trains and stations by 37 percent. (Buyology page 158) Playing appropriate music in common areas or parking garage spaces could potentially result in lower crime or vandalism for multifamily housing spaces. Other studies have shown how sound can influence sales. Research suggests that a nice meaty Cabernet goes best with Beethoven. A test was once conducted on a programâ€™s host - giving him three different glasses of wine and playing with each one a certain kind of music - the Beach Boys, a flamenco, and Metallica. The wines actually seemed to reflect the musical choice ... which was interesting, because, in fact, the three glasses each contained the same wine, a Pinot Noir ... which ended up tasting different at least in part because of the soundtrack. WHAT BEAT WORKS BEST? Rhythm follows the natural beats of the body, with fast rhythms suitable for tapping or marching, slower rhythms for walking, or swaying. Dance, too is universal. Slow tempos and minor keys 27
are sad. Fast, melodic music that is danceable, with harmonious sounds and relatively constant ranges of pitch and loudness, is happy. Fear is expressed with rapid tempos, dissonance, and abrupt changes in loudness and pitch. The whole brain is involved-perception, action, cognition, and emotion. Some aspects of music are common to all people; some vary greatly from culture to culture. We do know that the affective states produced through music are universal, similar across all cultures. Here are some sounds that have been proven to affect us in certain ways and can be used by you in your business as desired: » TEMPO: In restaurants, slow music encourages patrons to linger – spurring them to splurge on that dessert or extra drink. Faster, more contemporary music attracts younger crowds. » COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: When a wine store played French Music, most customers bought French wine, while German music spurred sales of German wine, according to a University of Leicester study. Researchers theorize that different regional music makes shoppers think of that country, and therefore primes them to buy its wine. » LYRICS: Good news for waiters everywhere: A recent French study revealed that playing songs with “prosocial” lyrics – those about empathy and helping others – can increase tips. » OCEAN WAVES: Did you know that the sound of waves has exactly the same rhythm as a sleeping human body would produce breathing? That explains our tendency to relax when we hear sound of waves in the background. Our body goes into the sleeping mode. Not a bad design element to complement your spa or a massage parlor. » CHIRPING BIRDS: Sounds produced by birds bring feelings of reassurance. This came to us from our history of evolution when we would listen to animals’ behavior around us to make sure we are safe. When the birds were chirping happily, we knew there were no predators. What a great idea as a background for your working space.
Keep in mind...background music is fine, as long as it stays in the background. Whenever it intrudes upon our thoughts, it ceases to be an enhancement and becomes an impediment, distracting, and irritating. Music must be used with delicacy. It can harm as much as help. Multifamily housing can incorporate sound to benefit the project in various ways. Consider appropriate music choices that may overcome frustrations from ongoing construction noise, keeping calm music in the leasing and common spaces and playing an upbeat tempo for the staff offices.
EXPERIENCED-BASED MARKETING AND DESIGN The Consumer Journey: Creating Advocates
CONSUMER JOURNEY The Consumer Journey framework consists of seven stages that have been designed to help us understand the end-user’s journey as it relates to marketing and design initiatives. This framework exercise provides insight to end-user experiences and assists in developing creative concepts to be used in the Branding Framework. Each step of the framework should generate a specific message with the goal to move the audience from one step to the next. Most businesses miss opportunities for connection by placing their entire message in the first step. The brain does not want to process this type of information, it needs to be seduced into wanting to learn more about services and products. The end goal is to create advocates from your target audience. THE 7 CONSUMER JOURNEY STAGES » Awareness » Information » Inquiry » Consideration » Purchase » Enjoyment » Advocacy 31
STEP NO. 1: AWARENESS This stage is where the consumer becomes aware of a product, its brand, and its category. Such awareness can be created either in the deep subconscious mind, or in the conscious, accessible, rational state of mind of the consumer. Creating Awareness in the subconscious mind of the customer can be achieved in many ways. Advertising, incidental exposure in articles and entertainment programs, and interactive marketing experiences are just some of the obvious ways to create Awareness. The purpose of Awareness is to: Introduce Establish familiarity Make audience more receptive Ways to achieve Awareness would include: Word of mouth - what is your elevator speech? Logo design - what is it communicating? Signage - is it interesting and informative? Pre-opening Ads - does it move your audience to the next level of interest? Social Media - is it relevant and engaging?
STEP NO. 2: INFORMATION This is the point where sheer information about the brand, product, or service is “pushed” to the consumer. This information is not being requested by the consumer, but is being made available and accessible by the product or brand provider. Effective presentation of information is not about overloading the consumer with facts and figures but basically providing the context and the associations inherent in the product landscape that makes them want to know more. The purpose of providing this level and type of information is to create in the consumer’s mind a desire or need to know more. The purpose of Information is not so much to create purchase intent, but basically to amplify on the Awareness already gained; and nudge the consumer gently into wanting to know more. The purpose of Information is to: Continue to intrigue Generate interest
INFORMATION Ways to achieve Information would include: News articles Press Releases Direct Mailing Targeted Outreach Social Media Partnerships Open House Invitations and Events
STEP NO. 3: INQUIRY Inquiry is two-way processing, primarily by the consumer. This is the natural next stage after Information, in which the consumer begins instigating a discovery process to know more. This is the phase of the journey where the motivational need-to-know is transformed into a quest for facts and reason. It is very possible that the consumer has already made up his or her mind to acquire 33
the product or service, and is engaged in a rational process of marshalling facts and figures to justify a decision that has already been made. Inquiry is a consumer-initiated process, but it also provides an opportunity for the marketer to present facts and rationale that slakes this thirst for information that is initiated by the consumer. The goal of Inquiry is to: Educate Flush out unknowns Address questions and facts Ways to achieve Inquiry would include: Word of mouth - what is your vision, mission and elevator speech? Web and SEO - floor plans, model units Social Media - timely responses Customer Service - body language, priming and reflecting information
STEP NO. 4: CONSIDERATION This is the step just prior to purchasing. This is where the consumer, after having Inquired, is now actively considering purchasing the product, and in doing so actively compares and considers the product or service to its possible alternatives. To the extent you can facilitate and make the process of consideration easy and “titled” toward your product, you are able to create a sense of goodwill and a sense of obligation deep in the subconscious mind of the consumer. It is hard to say no to somebody who took the effort to make it easier for you to compare and contrast products. This sense of obligation and goodwill in the deep subconscious mind of the consumer translates into loyalty and willingness to be flexible with price. The goal of Consideration is to: Persuade Convince Show Value Ways to achieve Consideration would include: Brochures Site Visits Customer Service Sales and Leasing Offices - environment Lobby and Amenities - features Online and Offline Reviews
STEP NO. 5: PURCHASE This is where the first interaction with the brand or product actually happens. It is important to note that however wonderful the product is, the act of parting with money during a purchase is an implicitly painful process within the consumer’s mind. In fact, brain-imaging studies have shown that brain activity during physical pain is similar to brain activity while spending money. To the extent that that pain can be minimized, it makes it easier for the consumer to appreciate the value of the product, and thereby justify the purchase. At this stage the pleasure of enjoying the product is “calculated” implicitly by the consumer, and must achieve a value that overcomes the implicit pain of the transaction if the purchase is to occur. Accordingly, an effective purchasing experience must overcome the transaction pain, for example, by communicating how close the consumer is to enjoying the product and deriving value from it.
The goal of Purchase is to: Assist in the process Make end-user comfortable Ways to achieve a successful Purchase would include: Customer Service (setting and amenities) Incentives (application fees/discounts) Environment (interior space/comfort and privacy) Features (sensory experiences)
STEP NO. 6: ENJOYMENT This is where the consumer actively “consumes” and -- you hope -- enjoys your product. The consumer transitions and begins the initial “consumption” experience. At this point, the consumer comes face-to-face for the first time with many aspects of the product and its design that may not have been apparent before. Sometimes the product can be enjoyed instantly, sometimes the product must be combined with other products to be enjoyed, and sometimes the product must be assembled, built or prepared to be enjoyed. In some occasions, there may be a set of rituals and/or a set of steps that must be taken in order to fully enjoy the product. So enjoyment to the product requires the product provider to facilitate all aspects of these processes of usage, consumption, and enjoyment. Ease of product enjoyment creates consumer loyalty to the product
and to the underlying brand. Effective advertising needs to stimulate not only the purchase of the product, but also provide clues as to how it can be enjoyed once the product is acquired. Strategically targeted and imaginatively executed advertising can facilitate a desire for immediate consumption and immediate enjoyment in the mind of the consumer. The goal of Enjoyment is to: Create Retention and Repeat consumers Ways to achieve Enjoyment include: Customer Service Gift Amenities - move-in Gift Amenities - resigning Social Media - engaging and inclusiveness Maintenance - response and satisfaction
STEP NO. 7: ADVOCACY This is the most â€œengagedâ€? step. How can you get the consumer to talk about and actively advocate the product to friends, family, and peers? How can the consumer be brought to social networks, blogs, and other community groups to create extraordinary advocacy? Advocacy can trigger additional advocacy exponentially, and the viral power of such advocacy can create a tidal wave of consumer purchase intent. There are components of design, interactive experience design, and advertising that create viral goodwill and a foundation for advocacy. Unleashing the raw power of social networks and associated advocacy in our connected society is critical to modern day marketing. The goal of Advocacy is to: Effectively communicate the brand message and experience through users of the products and services. Ways to achieve Advocacy include: Word of mouth Social Media - communication and connection Referral fees and incentives
EXPERIENCED-BASED MARKETING AND DESIGN Branding
Humans have a hard-wired need to have relationships not only with other humans, but also with the functional and fun items and tools we use in our daily lives. The challenge is to present a brand as something consumers can have and want to have a long-term relationship with. We love novelty, but have a strong need for constancy and commitment. The brain has well-developed neural programs for connecting with the meaningful items in our lives. The brands in our lives serve a vital human purpose: they give identity, meaning, and connectivity to our experiences and possessions. Humans have a basic need to organize our lives into the recognizable and familiar. Neurobranding investigates the colors, the people, the packages, the products, the technology, the look and feel, the music and sounds, the website, the rumors, the business model, and the stories to create a cohesive identity. The answer to advertisement overload is to produce a simplistic style of marketing for logos and ads that create an iconic shortcut to brand extensions. Research required for branding includes: studying layout, color theory, cultural trends, design tools, professional practices, and current design elements. Simple logos are often the most easily recognized and memorable. Frequently misused â€œbells and whistlesâ€? of 3D effects, beveled edges, skewed type, gradients and other often-unnecessary graphic treatments, may create distractions from the readability and success of a corporate identity. The most powerful aspects of advertisements arenâ€™t logos, as they are the environmental design aspects of an ad. People respond more favorably to consistent design than a logo. A memorable logo is scalable, simple, unique and tells a story. 39
Brand Strategy: A plan for the systematic development of a brand to enable it to meet its agreed objectives. The strategy should be rooted in the brandâ€™s vision and driven by the principles of differentiation and sustained consumer appeal. The brand strategy should influence the total operation of a business to ensure consistent brand behaviors and brand experiences. Brand Positioning: The distinctive position that a brand adopts in its competitive environment to ensure that individuals in its target market can tell the brand apart from others. Positioning involves the careful manipulation of every element of the marketing mix. LOGO DESIGN Form is the physical manifestation of the brand. The most tangible sensory and physical connection the consumer has with the brand. Form attributes are deeply, but implicitly, recognized by consumers in their deep subconscious as being connected with the brand. We are biologically programmed to seek out and classify form. Yet, we may not be consciously aware that we are doing this. Many items we find that the formal elements consumers connect, recognize, and embrace in the brand are not easily described verbally, but can play a vital role in how the product is received.
Function is defined in two categories: Explicit Functionality: These are the functions of the product that can be easily, and well, articulated by the consumer and implemented by the product designer. For an automobile, for example, explicit functions include transportation and storage. But in each case, neuromarketing reveals a hierarchy in the consumerâ€™s mind â€“ some implicit functions clearly have greater personal resonance than others do. You need to be sure which functions these are. Implicit Functionality: These are the functions that the consumer finds valuable and indispensable, but may not be able to articulate verbally, or may be reluctant to articulate. For instance, for a family with children, the most important function of a DVD player in a car may be to provide babysitting on long distance trips, but parents may not be comfortable acknowledging this, as they may feel it reflects negatively on their parenting skills. But, it might still be an indispensable function, one that might make the difference between purchasing one car over another. 40
Color is as essential to the brand as it’s the most visible and obvious first point of communication. Colors create clear associations in our minds, and these same associations can’t help but benefit brands. Primary colors clearly have dominated in the world of brands; however, there’s no evidence to support the fact that red, blue and yellow are somehow more effective. The color of a brand logo improves brand recognition by 80%. And 84% of people believe that color amounted to the major consideration when they choose a brand. Different colors affect people differently, for example, red ‘is the highest stimulation hue. It increases pulse and heart rate, raises blood pressure and stimulates appetite. Shape and Scale: Technology has given us many more channels- which are opening up more and more varieties of advertising opportunities. Icons need to be graphically sophisticated enough so that they can be equally understood on a billboard, computer screen, or cell-phone display. Font design also needs to remain simple for scalability and readability in multiple formats. The significant presence of sans-serif characteristics typeface improves memory recall by approximately 9%. Helvetica: One of the most popular typefaces in the world. Has been featured by MOMA and has received a number of awards. It is neutral – designed specifically not to give an impression or have any inherent meaning. Remains legible when in motion and is well-suited to signage and other designs where legibility is key. 41
BRAND TONE Brand Voice: These are simply “the words, phrases, and characteristics that set a brand apart and take a back seat to the more important visual aspects of the brand.” Elevator Speech: Writing down adjectives (or other words) that describe your brand (You can even make a word cloud from your website, brainstorming sessions, etc. via something like Wordle) Brainstorm with other people within the company using Appreciative Inquiry process; or, asking other audiences how they view your brand. Brand voice in social media communicates personality. Brand voice can be fairly easy to identify from the get go. (If not, you know your brand is in trouble!) Who will your intended audience “hear” when they are viewing your Facebook posts? Who will your intended audience “hear” when they are reading through your Twitter stream? Who will your intended audience “hear” when scanning through your Blog? Vocabulary is simply the choice of words, and you might want to stipulate what type of words can and can’t be used within your tone of voice. However, we’re now moving into a complex, highly subjective realm where the definitions of terms can be slippery. Let’s say, for example, that your law firm is only going to use ‘formal’ language, or that your cellar bar is going to use ‘funky’ wording. Are you sure that everyone will understand what those words actually mean? Is your idea of ‘funky’ the same as theirs? Copywriters are often told to make their writing more simple or accessible, but there’s always a price to pay. Long words may sound stuffy, but they are very precise. For example, there are no genuine one-syllable synonyms for words such as ‘altruistic’ or ‘intuitive’. If you want to get rid of them, you’ll have to rephrase at length or lose some meaning. Conversely, if you use the most precise language you possibly can, some sense of friendliness or ‘looseness’ will be lost. It’s a trade-off either way. In terms of grammar, you might want to consider whether to use contractions (‘we’re’, ‘it’s’ and so on), avoid long sentences or allow some rules to be broken (such as sentences beginning with ‘and’). Here, it’s just a question of how far you want to go, and what is useful to the people doing the actual writing. (There’s no point talking about gerunds or dependent clauses if people don’t know what they are.) You might also want your writing to be original or arresting. While that seems a laudable aim 42
at first sight, it won’t necessarily guarantee that your communications succeed. Originality isn’t necessarily effective. Readers over 50, for example, may be accustomed to finding certain content in a certain format or style; deviating from that norm probably won’t bring you any benefit. Instead, your aim should be to express yourself as well as possible within the communication conventions of your sector, like a film director working within a genre. VARIATION IN TONE OF VOICE Written tone of voice is rarely the same in every situation. Just as people might speak differently to their colleagues than they do to their children, so brands need to have different verbal registers. Some of the dimensions of variation are: Mood. Although the underlying ‘character’ of the brand might change, it can still have different moods. For example, a series of letters designed to guide the customer of a double-glazing firm from initial introduction through to purchasing might make the transition from a bright, breezy tone through to a more serious, studious and detail-oriented feel as the relationship develops. Medium. Different media require different ways of speaking. The most obvious example at the moment is social media, which is generally agreed to require a different tone from other online channels or offline marketing. For more on this, see my guide to online tone of voice for business. Audience. Your brand might need to talk to different people. For example, a website selling children’s shoes might include content aimed at the children themselves, and other content aimed at their parents. If the users and purchasers of a product aren’t the same person, you might have to consider how you’ll talk to each group. Digital and social media have their place in a balanced marketing diet, but each one requires a slightly different writing style. Here’s our take on the tone of voice you should adopt online. The overarching theme of all these points is to remember what you want to achieve, coupled with what is appropriate and possible within each channel, and shape your tone of voice accordingly.
BRAND MISSION AND VISION Each property brand is unique to its audience and each project should have a supporting vision and mission statement that supports the overarching mission of the development. 43
Vision and Mission Mission statements should explain why your organization exists. If it has been more than five years, now is probably a good time to review and, if necessary, adjust or even rewrite your mission statement. At the very least, mission statements should describe purpose and address these key questions: What does the organization do? Who does it serve? How does it serve the needs? What values guide the work? A vision statement is sometimes called a picture of your company in the future, reminding you of what you are trying to build â€“ not how you are going to get there. Your vision statement is your inspiration, the framework for all your strategic planning. The vision statement answers the question: Where do we want to go? Unlike the mission statement, a vision statement is for you and the other members of your company, not for your customers or clients.
BRAND LANGUAGE Brand language is used in marketing to help consumers connect specific words or ideas to specific companies or products. When developing a brand language word choice and tone are the two fundamental components. Word choice is the vocabulary that is used in the marketing or advertising, while tone refers to the attitude of the advertisement. Tone is not limited to language, it can also be incorporated through visual elements as well as delivery. Brand language is a part of verbal brand identity, includes naming of both corporation and the products they sell as well as taglines, voice, and tone. Another benefit of developing a brand language is the ability for a corporation or product to be recognizable across international borders, while other advertising codes can be misinterpreted, words can be translated to ensure brand unity. 44
Since the 1950’s Disney has consistently built their brand on a foundation that’s substantially larger than their logo. A substantial chunk of the Disney brand relies on songs and voice-overs that always include Disney-branded words. Associating words with brand comes at no extra cost. Disney has managed to “own” six of them: “Welcome to our kingdom of dreams-the place where creativity and fantasy go hand and hand spreading smiles and magic at every generation.” A Brand Sense study showed that more than 80% of respondents directly associated these generic words with Disney. The key words are repeated over and over again in Disney’s advertising copy, song lyrics, story lines, and on the Disney Channel. Metaphor is a larger-than-life concept that can be applied to an object-like a brand or productwith a paradoxical effect; even though it is not literally true, it somehow captures an essential quality of the object. For example, calling a truck “Ram-tough” is not a literal statementhow tough is a ram, anyway? But it represents an aspiration or ambition: it says this truck is dependable, strong, and stubbornly single-minded. Metaphors often reveal larger than life expectations that come to be consciously or subconsciously associated with a brand and its meaning to a consumer. Measurements reveal that the best communication strategies contain at their core a single Metaphor that is consistently present and represented. The Metaphor is useless unless it is tangibly and consistently reinforced through elements of the product, packaging, and communication design. Storytelling: Stories are easier to remember because stories are how we remember. Narrative imaging – story is the fundamental instrument of thought. Story is just as integral to the human experience as design. Humans are not ideally set up to understand logic; they are ideally set up to understand stories. When facts become so widely available and instantly accessible, each one becomes less valuable. What begins to matter more is the ability to place these facts in context and to deliver them with emotional impact. That is the essence of the aptitude of Story – context enriched by emotion. Marketers have been telling brand stories for years through advertising, in-person brand experiences, and so on, but the art of writing those brand stories as effective pieces of online content is a challenge that few are trained to do. That’s because the best brand storytellers understand the critical elements of fiction writing, which are skills that few marketers have been formally trained to do.
1. SPEAK TRUTHFULLY.
1. SPEAK TRUTHFULLY. Honesty and transparency are important in brand storytelling. Yes, you’re crafting “stories,” but they need to be rooted in the reality of your brand, products, and industry. In other words, even brand stories must adhere to the three primary steps of brand-building: consistency, persistence, and restraint. If your brand stories are inconsistent, they’ll confuse consumers who will turn away from the brand in search of another that meets their expectations for it in every interaction. Be creative but don’t stray too far from your brand promise. Confusion is the number one brand killer. 2. INFUSE PERSONALITIES INTO STORIES. Brand stories are not marketing materials. They are not ads, and they are not sales pitches. Brand stories should be told with the brand persona and the writer’s personality at center stage. Boring stories won’t attract and retain readers, but stories brimming with personality can. 3. CREATE CHARACTERS YOUR AUDIENCE WILL ROOT FOR. Brand storytelling requires that you create characters your audience will like and cheer for. That doesn’t mean you’re required to create fictional characters or brand mascots to tell your stories. While characters like Allstate‘s Mayhem can be very effective in presenting brand messages and 46
stories in a variety of ways, you don’t need to create a fictional mascot to tell brand stories. For example, create buyer personas and tell stories from their perspectives. Tell stories from your employees’ points of view or from a third-person point of view. The important thing is to create characters that enable your audience to become emotionally connected to them to such an extent that the audience wants to follow their character arcs (discussed in #4 below). 4. INCLUDE A BEGINNING, MIDDLE, AND END. Fiction stories follow a structure that includes a beginning, a middle, and an end. Your brand stories should follow a similar structure. In the beginning, you need to open strong and establish your story setting and the characters. The middle should set up your main character’s problem and present conflicts that get in his or her (or its) way before he or she (or it) can find resolution in the end. This is your character’s story arc, and you need to take your reader along for the ride. If they enjoy the ride, they’ll stick around, tell other people about it, and come back again and again. 5. DON’T GIVE IT ALL AWAY. Make sure your brand stories are page turners by focusing on the use of perpetual marketing in your efforts where one piece feeds off of the next. Leave your audience wanting more, and they’ll come back again and again. Consider using “Watch This Space” hooks on your website or Facebook Page, or try releasing teasers via Facebook, email, or Pinterest. Perpetual marketing tactics offer the perfect opportunity to include offline and mobile marketing in your brand storytelling initiative, too. As with all brand building efforts, your goal is to surround your consumers with brand experiences (including stories), so they can self-select how they want to interact with your brand. Give them multiple ways to enjoy your brand story, and you’ll find yourself moving closer to achieving your brand marketing goals. BRAND CHARACTER When a brand faces ubiquity that means it is vital more than ever to inject some personality into the platform. Between logos, taglines and color palettes, companies invest a lot in their brands, yet many ignore the quality of character. That charisma is precisely what transforms a brand into an icon. How can you build character, or brand personality? It involves more than just visual appeal, it requires thinking about human characteristics. Will your brand be a Puffs, which is known for soft47
as-a-cloud texture and beyond-soothing moisture that really comforts congested consumers, or will it be a Kleenex that simply lets them blow their noses? Some questions brands need to ask themselves in order to identify and formulate their personalities include: What do you want your audience to see or feel when they connect with your brand? If your brand were a car/magazine/public personality/music genre, what would it be? What colors, textures and visual components do you connect strongly with when you think of your brand? What is your brand’s sweet spot? What are some of the words that come to mind when people think/ see your brand? And for fun, does your brand pass this personality test? PERSONALITY TEST: 1. Do you have a powerful and unique reason why your potential clients should invest with you instead of one of your top three competitors? 2. Can you articulate your brand clearly and concisely without hesitation when asked? 3. Can your employees and/or friends correctly describe to you what your branding strategy is? 4. Does the message your brand expresses inspire loyalty and trust among your current customers? 5. Does the message your brand expresses attract and comfort new clients? If you answered yes to these 5 questions, your brand has passed the personality test! Curb Appeal conveys, without words, a number of things about your brand’s priorities, social connections, and financial status. The attention given to the appearance of the grounds and the exterior of the building transmits unmistakable messages. Does the attention to the physical appearance keep it consistent with the brand message? Service: How would your customers characterize your service? Unique? Expectations vary depending on what a brand communicates to its audience and consumers’ individual perception of that message. Behavior ensures that an organization is committed to delivering the desired brand experience to all audiences, internal and external. But community only happens when the brand’s behavior is 48
that which its audience wants to embrace and emulate themselves. Why do people love Zappos? Because they think that’s how an online retailer should embrace them, give them free returns and shipping, cater to their need to feel catered to. It’s how they would do it. Why do people love Southwest Airlines? Because they think flying should be quick, easy, fair and without pretense. If you ask the question, “Why do people love our brand?” and you answer with something that is about your brand, you’re not fostering community. The answer will lie in your behavior. Until it does, the only community you’ll ever have is servers full of wireframes and profiles — hollow containers of what could be. People will flock to you when you behave in a way that makes them want to. Get that, and you have your community. Rituals and Traditions: If a brand wants to transform its traditional consumer base into a community of believers, it needs to have rituals that embody principles of consistency, reward, and shared experience. The most important element – a brand has to ensure that whatever ritual it comes up with is a shared one. Rituals by themselves carry little weight. Sure, it’s nice gazing at a beautiful sunset, but the vista only really comes alive if you can share it with another person. When James Bond ordered his martini “shaken not stirred” the phrase took martini to a new level. It’s lingered in cocktail parlance for forty years, along the way becoming a ritual of sorts. Most rituals are generated by consumers. To date, few brands have the value in supporting consumergenerated rituals despite the enormous bonding they can create. Guinness drinkers are devoted to their black beer, but more than that, there’s a ritualistic way of drinking it. Devoted Guinness drinkers know that pouring the perfect glass of Guinness is an art form; it takes time and patience. Benefits are the personally meaningful rewards we expect to acquire by using brand. They are usually articulated as statements and affirmations about what the brand can do for us, but they may be expressed implicitly as well. Measurements reveal that stronger subconscious associations with particular benefits tend to be correlated with the personal identity and values of the consumer. The following categories stand out in associating a brand with a consumer’s personal identity: Promoting physical beauty Representing intellectual accomplishment Improving sexual attractiveness Being fashionable and trendy Being “in the know,” technically and intellectually advanced Achieving career and financial success Having pride in family and its accomplishments Being exclusive and elite 49
Providing access to power and resources Reflecting genetic and racial pride Supporting uniqueness of personality Values strengthen the connection of feelings to brands. They reinforce and connect the brand to goals and objectives outside the self. In exploring the particular values associated with a brand, it is important to note some values endure over time, and others that become more or less prominent at different time. The following categories of values are relevant: Personal Spiritual Moral Communal Social Political Economic Philosophical Historical Traditional Cultural National Environmental Legal Lifecycle-related Navigation is one of the most essential tools that leverage the building and maintaining consistency. Consistency is the only way to cut through the clutter of white noise that engulfs our lives. Mystery: Unknown factors in a brand have shown to be just as inspiring as the known. The more mystique and je ne sais quoi a brand can cultivate, the stronger foundation it has for becoming a sought-after and admired product. BRAND EXPERIENCE Brand experience is a brandâ€™s action perceived by a person. Every interaction between an individual and a tangible or intangible brand artifact can be seen as a brand experience. Such interaction might be the opening of a bottle of lemonade, the visit of a website or branch as well as a glimpse on a billboard in the public space. Those places of interaction are called touchpoints. 50
Hence a brand experience can include one or more of a recipient’s five senses and cause any kind of response. In addition to a direct interaction an indirect one – such as friends, experts or celebrities sharing their perception of a product or service – can be considered as a brand experience as well. A person’s perception of brand, her or his brand image, is often determined by a number of brand experiences over a period of time including one or more touchpoints Brand experience is conceptualized as sensations, feelings, cognitions, and behavioral responses evoked by brand-related stimuli. Such stimuli appear as part of a brand’s design and identity, packaging, communications, and environments. 1. IDENTIFY CUSTOMER TOUCHPOINTS. Each individual step in your business process contains a number of touchpoints when the customer comes in contact with your brand. Your ultimate goal is to have each touchpoint reinforce and fulfill your marketplace promise. Walk through your commercial processes. How do you generate customer demand? How are products sold? How do your customers use your products? How do you provide after-sales support? This comprehensive trace of your marketing, selling, and servicing processes allows you to create a simple touchpoint map that defines your customers’ experiences with your brand. 2. DETERMINE THE MOST INFLUENTIAL TOUCHPOINTS. All touchpoints are not created equal. Some will naturally play a larger role in determining your company’s overall customer experience. For example, if your product is ice cream, taste is typically more important than package design. Both are touchpoints, but each has a different effect on our customers’ experiences as a whole. To determine the touchpoints driving your customers’ overall experience, your organization can use a wide array of techniques ranging from quantitative research to institutional knowledge. The methods you use will depend on the complexity of your products, commercial processes, and your existing knowledge base.
3. DETERMINE HOW TO EXPRESS EACH REASON-TO-BELIEVE AT EACH KEY TOUCHPOINT. For example, how can you reinforce sporty performance (a reason-to-believe) in product design, at the dealership, and in marketing campaigns (the influential touchpoints)? Identify which activities don’t align with your envisioned customer experience. Determine how to address them so that these components can be brought into alignment. 51
EXPERIENCED-BASED INTERIOR DESIGN INTERIOR SPACE Consider all aspects of your property, the interior space design has the most impact on your brand and how your audience reacts to and perceives your brand message. Experience-based interior design principals take into consideration the human experience with a space. The following information will give you insight to some of the issues addressed when creating an experience-based interior space:
CEILING HEIGHT When people are in a low-ceilinged room, they are much quicker at solving anagrams involving confinement, such as “bound,” “restrained,” or “restricted,” In contrast, people in high ceilinged rooms excel at puzzles at which the answer touches on the theme of freedom, such as “liberate,” or “unlimited,”
COLOR It’s obvious to those in the marketing field that color choice is important for branding purposes, but it can also be a deciding factor in how effective a space will be in terms of fostering creative thought. Color selection is often seen as a subjective choice, but it turns out that colors and certain shapes actually elicit universal reactions from people. 53
Studies show that there are cultural associations with color that can send cues about how one should feel. The color blue, for example, is associated with water, which signals feelings of calmness. Red and black can suggest feelings of dominance and power, while yellows and oranges are more often associated with happiness and excitement. Color, therefore, isn’t just important for logos or branding. What color the office walls are, or what furniture accents the space, can all have subtle influences on employee moods. There are socioeconomic aspects that affect your choice of favorite hues and that determine which hues you feel more at home or comfortable with. The higher your economic status, the more you will favor darker, less saturated complex hues. People in the lower economic brackets tend to prefer and respond favorably to simple, bright, pure hues. This can be seen in everything from department stores to hotels. For instance, Target, a discount department store, uses bright red, while Tiffany’s an ultra high-end retailer, is known for their use of muted turquoise palette.
SHAPES Shapes with curved elements and smooth features usually project soft, feminine and emotional images. On the other hand, shapes with the straight line elements, sharp corners and flat surfaces project hard, masculine and rational images. Have you ever thought that modern design, complete with its over-abundance of white and 90-degree angles, looked interesting to the eye but felt so sterile you’d rather be operated on than have an intimate conversation? There’s a scientific reason for that. A study led by Oshin Vartanian of the University of Toronto, found that participants judged curvilinear spaces as more beautiful than rectilinear ones, and that their decisions were largely driven by feelings of pleasantness. Think about creating a balanced space. Consider a round table over a square or rectangle for signing leasing agreements.
TEMPERATURE Employees who work in warm offices make 44 percent fewer errors and increase their output 150%, a Cornell study found. Around 77 degrees is appropriate.
CUSTOMER SERVICE Customer Experience Managment
Customer Experience Management [CEM] is the process of strategically managing a customer’s entire experience with a product or company. It is a process-oriented satisfaction idea (not an outcome-oriented one). CEM connects with the customer at every touchpoint and calls for the integration of different elements of the customer’s experience. CEM provides value to customers by delivering information, service, and interactions that result in compelling experiences. It also takes an integrative approach to the organization, looking internally as well as externally. Return on Investment [ROI] of a CEM project usually exceeds those of other initiatives. Finally, CEM is not an amorphous business philosophy. It is a practical management tool that can show you in detail how you can provide experiential value to customers and, in turn, derive financial value for your firm. CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE FRAMEWORK ANALYZING THE EXPERIENTIAL WORLD OF THE CUSTOMER This framework provides original insight into the customer’s world. For consumer markets, it is necessary to analyze the sociocultural context in which consumers operate including their experiential needs, wants, as well as their lifestyles. The kind of experiences customers want will reflect whether the purchaser will actually be the user of the product, how often the customer uses a product, and how loyal he or she is to a given brand. 57
BUILDING THE EXPERIENTIAL PLATFORM This is the key connection point between strategy and implementation. It is not a cut-and-dried positioning statement or a two-dimensional perceptual map with generic verbal labels. Instead, the experiential platform includes a dynamic, multisensory, multidimensional depiction of the desired experience (referred to as experiential positioning). It also specifies the value that the customer can expect from the product. DESIGNING THE BRAND EXPERIENCE The brand experience includes, first, experiential features and product aesthetics that can serve as a jumping-off point for the customer’s brand experience. It includes an appealing “look and feel” in logos and signage, packaging, and retail spaces. Finally, appropriate experiential messages and imagery in advertising and collaterals, as well as online, complete the brand experience. STRUCTURING THE CUSTOMER INTERFACE This step includes all sorts of dynamic exchanges and contact points with the customer – faceto-face, automated service machines, counter service or online. It is important to structure the content and style of this dynamic interaction to give the customer the desired information and service in the right interactive manner. The interface design must incorporate intangible elements (i.e., voice, attitude, and behavioral style) and address experiential consistency over time and coherence among various touch points. ENGAGING IN CONTINUOUS INNOVATION Innovations include anything that improves end customers’ personal lives and business customers work life, and can range from major inventions to small innovations in the product’s form. Marketing innovations might consist of creative launch events and campaigns. Innovations demonstrate to customers that the company is a dynamic enterprise that can create new and relevant experiences on an ongoing basis. Innovations can attract new customers; most of the time, however, they build customer equity by helping a company sell more products to existing customers. Opportunities to apply the CEM framework exist whenever you face a customer-focused issue (i.e., changing customer perceptions because they are out of line with the reality of your offer, increasing customer loyalty and satisfaction, or getting customers to try new products). But the framework is even more adaptable and useful than that. Often companies encounter problems that initially do not look like customer experience issues, but on closer examination they may turn out to be just that. In these cases, a CEM project can add tremendous value. 58
The CEM framework goes far beyond prior marketing and management approaches that call themselves customer-oriented and is unique in how it focuses on the customers. CEM framework integrates the customersâ€™ experience across various touchpoints to link tangible outcome measures and manage both the external customer and internal (employee) customer experience. The framework addresses internal and external business issues including segmentation and targeting, positioning, branding, service and innovation.
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