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Leveraging New Frontiers In Customer Experience


Leveraging New Frontiers In Customer Experience

Say what you will about SXSW. Yes, it is over-hyped and terribly mainstream. Yes, it is the place to see lots of (often) impractical ‘shiny new things’ that solve very few actual problems. Yes, it’s a lot brands trying to outdo each other in a carnival of activation. But this hot air balloon ride can teach upstart brands some things when we look at the basic concepts rather than the tactical execution.

Sony deserved the hype and buzz around this year’s Wow Factory. They essentially worked out a way to make augmented reality without having to wear a headset or smart glasses. Using a mix of smart sensors that perform depth detection and motion tracking and high-quality projectors, Sony has created perhaps the closest thing we have to holograms. Users can even interact with virtual objects because the back-end software is so fast, it’s able to recognize and track movements.

While an incredible showcase of technology, it also highlights an alternative approach to augmented reality, one that can be experienced collectively. In an article from The Verge, Nick Stratt wonders, “if Sony does find a way to commercialize this tech, it could pave the way for a unique and novel way to create immersive, collaborate AR experiences that can be deployed using everyday objects and on something as ordinary as a kitchen table.”

The Value For Brands

While on the surface, this might seem like a useless idea for brands, what Sony is doing here is using technology to dazzle people in a way that lets many people share the experience. Retailers may find a way to use projectors to demonstrate use cases and implementations that are attractive and shareworthy. B2B brands like building and construction may be able to adapt this technology to better visualize their designs.

The big news at SXSW revolved around the wild west. HBO created a ‘Westworld’ experience that Business Insider called “like Disney World with gunslingers, women, and booze.” The 90-minute experience had a script that was reportedly 440-pages long, required a cast of around 60 actors, and basically recreated the fictional town of Sweetwater to promote the upcoming premiere of the show’s second season.

99% of brands will be unable to stage an experience this elaborate. But we have seen smaller brands do short-term pop-up experiences or roadshows that allow the brand idea to come to life in new and unexpected ways. Whether it be something like the Cheeto’s pop-up gourmet restaurant featuring celebrity chef Anne Burrell, or the Museum of Ice Cream which offers unique sponsorship opportunities, savvy brands are using experiences to draw customers in and delight them in unexpected ways – and in real life.

As Alex Lefley reports in the Edelman Digital blog, when it comes to what matters for brands in the context of the experiences they are trying to create, the top tips from the SXSW panel are:

  1. Audience insight first – make sure it’s actually what your audience wants to partake in
  2. Business driven outcomes – what is the end result you want from a business point of view?
  3. Emotional bond – how are you resonating beyond the rational?
  4. Multi-sensory experience – use everything in your power to break through to the audience (all of the senses)
  5. Exceptional hospitality – have great staff who are friendly, knowledgeable and reflect your brand
  6. Unique value – what is that little extra thing that takes your brand further than your competitors?

Too many marketers look at SXSW with an attitude that says, “We’ll never be able to do that.” But the most imaginative marketers will instead be saying, “What if we took that general idea, but made it work for our tradeshow?”, or, “What if we could do something like this for our flagship store?” Be inspired and get your team thinking about what’s possible.

The Blake Project Can Help: The Customer Experience Co-Creation Workshop

Build A Human Centric Brand At Marketing’s Most Powerful Event: The Un-Conference: 360 Degrees of Brand Strategy for a Changing World, May 14-16, 2018 in San Diego, California. A fun, competitive-learning experience reserved for 50 marketing oriented leaders and professionals.

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education

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