Enticing Customer Engagement

Okay, you’ve read, heard and shared enough about the “crisis”, so stop for a moment and switch your mindset. Let’s talk about you, your future customers and your business.

Today is the first day of the rest of your business life to paraphrase. The past is unchangeable and what will be may never be the same as it was. So let’s move forward. Time to elevate your offering and stage enticing customer engagements. Yes, I am talking about staging an experience for your customers to add value to your offering or as one person I know would say, ‘Wrap your offering with an experience.”

Easy enough said, but harder to do, less you understand what is the ‘secret’ sauce of staging the right experience for customers and not just delivering a great customer experience. And yes, there is a huge difference between these two. To begin staging an experience you’ll need to shift your thinking in two key areas; the audience and the offering.

The audience, a.k.a. your future customers, first need to be identified better. You’ll need to think about attracting or enticing your new audience by knowing them better and what would attract them to your offering. In the Experience Economy, this is done by shifting from tracking population numbers and census data to attracting people, real people. (see diagram below)

the progression of economic value diagram with a comparison to the types of customer identification.

As you can see in the diagram above of the Progression of Economic Value by Joe Pine and Jim Gilmore, economic models use varying levels of data to identify and locate possible customers. In Commodities, the identification is simple, its a geographic methodology. As the progression continues, the level of detail refines and narrows to better match what it is a given provider offers. This type of identification works fairly well up through Services. Much of what we see in today’s economy.

When you decide to elevate your business to an experience, the rules change. It is no longer about tracking population sets and segmentation of population. No more stereotyping customers into constraint ideas that customers with similar data act and purchase the same. No more playing with acquiring a percentage of a percent of the population. The methodology needs to be flip from data mining to focusing on human behavior patterns.

A methodology that moves from information of population groups to knowledge of people. This methodology of seeing people through the lens of human behavior is called Persona Profiling. A mapping of human behaviors that then can be the framework for designing and staging experiences that are wanted and desired. A method of creating enticing engagements that relate to a type of personality and the desires and needs they have that are similar.

Experiences are personal and happen inside each person not to or for a person. We must understand people more deeply in order to stage unique experiences that add greater value to a business and to the customer. We need to map these behaviors that we want to entice and engage. True persona profiling looks only at the human factors. As I stated before, it is no longer about tracking population numbers and pushing out marketing messages, it is about understanding our customers better and staging something that is engaging and personal by pulling them into an experience that offers greater value and is unique.

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Persona Profiling is about attracting a type of person. By using personae versus informational population data, we can design experiences and product offerings that speak to a particular individual or a mix of individuals. This creates a stronger connection and engagement. The messaging becomes more focused and the language used that is more familiar to a given persona about the experience. In fact, the need for advertising and external messaging decreases. Starbuck’s originally was created the coffee drinker’s experience and used little to no external marketing except word-of-mouth between true coffee drinkers. The environment and the customer coffee creation experience was the marketing. It eventually drew the outliers in and grew. Who knew a $5 dollar cup of coffee would be so appealing?

With the shift to Experiences, a shift must be made across the board of the business. The staff must now have roles to play, understand the language their audience uses and focus on customizing the offering to the individual. The product, whatever that maybe, must be tailored to the persona in such a way to make it memorable for them.

All of this personalization, customization and human behavior focusing is what the experience economy is all about. It’s about knowing the ‘Who’ of your customer base versus the ‘What’. Once we know who we are staging for, then the value increases and the offering shifts slightly with each persona. And for those personae that aren’t being enticed to experience, don’t worry, it’s not for them anyway and they would not see the greater value in your offering, today. Deepen the relationship with a type of person rather than trying to gain the attention of a percentage of a segment.

To learn more about the Experience Economy, check out the latest edition of “The Experience Economy”.

I leave you wit this quote by Earl Wilson, Journalist.

“Ever notice that the whisper of temptation can be heard farther than the loudest call to duty.”

I hope I have be helpful and at least inspired you enough to want to know more about looking forward and not backwards.

Is Your Business Movie Trailer-worthy?

Had an interesting conversation with a musician about creating a video sampler of his work. The conversation eventually turned into an impromptu video training session. I sourced a few images from my photo library to create the video below in the form of a movie trailer. I use iMovie to create a quick and simple, and fell its an effective clip for my example.

Business promotional movie trailer.

So, this sparks the question… Is your business movie trailer worthy?

Every film provides a short synopsis of the movie experience to promote and entice audiences to pay admission and take in the film. It’s a proven method to engage with customers before the actual film. There more than a commercial, these trailers are reflections of the film, creating an expectation.

Video is becoming the biggest trend in social media communication and business promotions. From 7 second snippets to 1 minute trailers, having a video can share more information about your offering than pages of body copy. Think like a film producer.

So, like a great film, I believe every experience needs it’s own trailer. What would you include to entice viewers to get to learn more about your offering? What genre of film would best reflect the experience you stage for your customers? Would it be an action film, mystery, romance or adventure?

If you don’t know or cannot determine how to tease your experience, maybe the experience lacks that special impact and may need to be re-evaluated or re-engineered to make it movie trailer-worthy.

Time: The New Currency

Since the late 1950s, the history of branch banking in America has been all about being in the midst of the population. No bank could survive without being accessible in a timely fashion. Convenience became one of the prime factors for locating a branch. The focus was to reduce the time it takes to get from point A to the branch. If it was by car, banks planned around the flow of traffic. If it was a pedestrian environment, banks planned the location along the path. This was all about convenience of doing business with the bank and to ensure that the customer did not have to go out of the way. If a bank was in the path, it made sense for a customer to bank there—it was about how to better save time.

Enter technology. Now, being in the path of customers meant being readily accessible in their hands. Most transactions are performed—not in person—but online and through mobile devices. Technology quickly became the ultimate time saver. This opened the question, ‘”Where do you locate now and what should the branch become?”

The best way to address this question is to change the framework of the question. Before it was about doing something for the customer they could not do on their own, now banking needs to refocus away from saving customers time to creating places where time is well spent. The only way to do this is by going beyond services that are tailored towards doing for the customer to creating things to do with the customer. Stage an engagement that is memorable and sharable that the customer does within the branch.

Here’s the idea. Take some ‘thing’ that is usually used at a bank and create some activity around that thing. This is called “Ing the Thing”, a principle in the Experience Economy. Take a normal action of a thing and create an engaging activity around it that people come to do or watch others do. Now, exaggerate the idea to make it a spectacle.

Look at the classic piggy bank. The piggy bank is a great ‘thing’ to ‘ing’. First, make it really oversized. Now, stage an activity around the oversized piggy bank that generates interest. Maybe it squeals when people put coins in it. It becomes a photo-worthy opportunity for your visitors and becomes a great fund-raiser. “The Piggy Bank That Is Saving….” Use whatever best applies. Saving—the action word—now takes on a new meaning and purpose.

 

Cracking the Safe.

Any object or thing can be a source of an experience if you take the action related to it and leverage it as the activity. Now the branch becomes a stage for an experience and a place to engage customers and make memories. Then you change from time well saved into time well spent.

 

Need help ‘Inging the Thing’ send me an email and let’s see what we can do together.

 

Keep the Book “Look” a Secret

One of my mentors, James Gilmore, just completed and sent for printing his latest book called “Look” on observation skills. I think this will be a great tool for designers and planners. Can’t wait to get my first copy.

Look Gilmore sm

So keep it a secret. It becomes available on Amazon in August 2016. Here’s where to get it. 

Age of the Personal Brand

I have contemplated an idea that is growing larger. The idea of having a personal brand. And as with any brand, comes the brand mark or logo.  So my idea is this; are we truly returning to pictographic or iconographic society?

Evidence would argue that we are. More and more information in our everyday life is being identified by graphic representation and not the written word. Case in point; look to your desktop or mobile device. Very few icons include the use of text. In some cases, applications on mobile devices and desktops are using more icons and graphics to convey processes and functions. One of the obvious reasons is universal use.

Look to another rise in our society, social media brings us the increasing use of emoticons. Graphic icons to replace a set of emotional terms or statements. Technology has brought us back to a digital hieroglyphic age. Everything is becoming represented by icons. If so, then can we create icons for ourselves?

I say it already is happening. From the use of initials to clever Social Media avatar icons, we are in the age of personal branding and with personal branding comes personal logos. To give you an example here are my initials; K.M.D. I have used these all through my art life and as part of my signature. So what happens when I evolve from text to icons? what does my personal brand logo become?

KMD Brand Logo 500

A stylized expression of my initials transformed into a personal brand logo. A logo that can be used in social media as well as to identify ownership of things that belong to me.

But why do we need such icons for ourselves? In an age of graphics and speed, a personal logo does for a person what  a logo mark does for companies, creates a unique symbol that is connected to an individual who may share a name with many others. It is a way to stand out and be recognized.

My prediction is that we are about to see the boom of the personal logo trend. In our world of billions of online citizens, personal logos create that need to be unique or at least be seen as being unique. Soon small garage and bedroom businesses will appear who specialize in creating personal logos and human brands. Who knows, maybe brand consultants will help with couples wishing to join brands or couples needing to create new personal brands due to separation or loss. We have become an industry of we/me.

Is it right? Should we move further back into pictographic and iconographic languages? Maybe not, yet when has that ever stopped a generation or society from following a trend because of popularity or technologic need?

So, you be you and I’ll be me and my mark will be my proof of existence.

Alcoholism Rises to 500%

Drink UpThis may soon be the headline we read in the not too far future.

When mapping out cause and effect of any new development or change, it maybe helpful to visually map out how that new development or change will affect other conditions.

In the example of the title headline, imagine as more and more autonomous self-driving cars or accessible to the public some responses may not be as positive as expected. With self-driving cars, occupants are no longer responsible for their condition behind the wheel. Not being responsible for driving allows people the opportunity to indulge in excess.

Yes bartender, I’ll have another, I’m not driving.

In this example, more autonomous cars could bring about a dramatic increase in public drinking and alcoholism. After all, we’re human.

Autonomous cars and drinking maybe a dramatic example that may never unfold, but then again, it does have the possibility. Look at how companies approach developmental change within an organization. What maybe a small change from the top will ripple down may have unseen consequences if not mapped out. What about dramatic change such as rebranding, environmental design, digital adaptation or even evolving staff culture?

For companies attempting to evolve and stay profitable, not seeing how change will unfold could be as dangerous as not changing at all. This is why visual thinking and graphic facilitation are such a powerful tools in Organizational Change or new product development.

See the possible outcomes and pitfalls before you implement change.

Why Change is Hard

In the Jar

There is an old quote I heard many years ago that goes something like this;

“You can’t read the label from inside the jar.”

Each time I’m asked about strategic ideation or innovation labs and why I believe them to be such a powerful tools for clients, businesses and organizations I always remember the quote. Trying to find a solution or discover new opportunities when you are so close to the situation or the problem is usually highly improbable. You see, it’s very hard to challenge yourself with questions or perceptions that drive new discoveries. The reason is simply, we naturally avoid asking ourselves questions we don’t know the answers to.

In many cases, to discover fresh ideas, solve problems or uncover new opportunities, it requires someone outside your jar to challenge with questions, ideas or observations that may be beyond your normal sight lines or focus. Strategic ideation or innovation labs conducted by outside resources can assist with this type of challenging thinking, a type of thinking process that becomes a provocateur to historic patterns and beliefs.

So, if you trying to “think outside the box”, change the paradigm or have a desire to change course direction, then my suggestion to you is to seek out an outside specialist to help you to see what is written the other side of the label. When you can do that, then you can begin to discover the opportunities and solutions unseen before.

As Winnie the Pooh always says “Think Think Think” and see how.

KMD

Flow of the Experience

Many speak on the topic of experiences. This creates many interpretations of how experiences are defined. What I have come to notice is how very few speak about broader picture of experiences. The flow as you may say.

Experiences are viewed generally as an event or a moment in time. In many cases this is a true statement, however, there is a larger view of an experience that most overlook. The view of the experiential flow.

Every event or experience in one’s life rarely just happens spontaneously and then is gone. No, a well staged experience requires careful planning and structure. It is this structure that helps properly stage an experience and ensure it produces the desired effect and lasting memory.

What does this structure look like? It is a combination of time and spacial elements aligned in a unique sequence.

E Flow sm

The dominate time factors are Before, During and After an event or experience. The deeper aspects are action zones such as Enticing, Entering, Existing, Engaging, Exiting and Extending. Finally, there are the spacial aspects such as the Outer world which exist in the Before and After time factors, the Environment which has the experience and finally, the Point-Of-Experience where the target experience is staged.

All of these elements of time and space comprise the staging of an experience, not merely just the Point-Of-Experience or the Experience. To stage a successful experience, an experience must be orchestrated well before the experiential moment to create desire to enter and then afterwards to ensure the memory created is strong enough to create more wish to return.

The experiential flow should never be seen as a single instance. The Extending actions should always lead back to the Enticing to ensure repeat visits.

So, the next time you hear someone speak about an experience, be aware if they speak of the entirety or the instance, because a well staged experience is so much more the experiential moment most focus on.

If you want to hear more, please contact me via email.