“I know you're trying to find out where I hang my cape. You won't.” Superman, Man of Steel
It used to be the buyer's journey resembled something like Dorothy's trip to Oz: Follow the yellow brick road. These days that trek (or path-to-purchase) looks more like something out of Joseph Campbell's hero’s journey, which powers the storylines of Star Wars, Superman andThe Matrix. It's incredibly fragmented, and buyers have superpowers like the Web and smartphones. There are challenges to overcome along the way like social commerce, mobile commerce and even ambient commerce. And it's almost impossible to know what each customer's quest will look like when we aren’t even sure how they’re going to buy from us.
Of course, retailers are diving headfirst into data each day to better understand how their customer shops now and how they might shop in the future. What are they looking at? Here are a few trends that will help define the customer journey in 2014.
Are we getting closer to a 3D revolution in the
advertising industry? You might think we’re a way off, but actually it may not
be that long before 3D brand advertising goes mainstream.
We’re in an era now where the creative and technical
skills sets required to make captivating and compelling 3D content are becoming
more accessible, and therefore more viable for brands. Certainly at Multiply
we’re seeing an increase in the number of clients interested in learning more
about delivering 3D content.
amazing Greek restaurant near where I live, it’s on a bustling street that is
also lined with other restaurants and cafes offering food from every country
imaginable.These restaurants and
cafes have windows covered with their latest specials and tantalising images of
their meals. Waiters often stand on the street competing to get punters and
always seem to be feeding someone.
Then there’s the Greek restaurant.
It’s always empty; it is rare to see even one occupied table when I walk by on
my way home from work.
There are no sandwich boards outside or even a menu on the window, it simply
has a sign bearing the name of the restaurant.
Driven by curiosity and admittedly a little bit of pity, I went there with some
friends a few weeks ago for dinner. I can honestly say it was one of the
tastiest and best value for money three-course meals I have ever had. I spoke
with our elderly waiter who told me it was a family business and pointed to his
wife out the back who was the head chef.
Immediately, my marketing mind went into overdrive, this place was really good,
really cheap, but clearly lacking in any kind of communications to get punters
off the street and sitting at tables. Pinning the menu to the outside window,
having a stash of menu pamphlets and doing a mass leaflet drop, getting a
sandwich board with their dishes of the day and registering with online
restaurant review websites were just some of the very basic ideas I had.
The Greek Restaurant was not flailing because it was a bad place; it had most
of the important ingredients, but one thing was missing and leaving it with a
distinct disadvantage to its competitors -- no marketing.
small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising."- Mark
This Christmas has seen a whole host of
brands trying something a bit different to interact with their consumers, in
the hope of building longer term relationships with them. Much has already been
discussed about this years (eagerly awaited) John Lewis festive offering. This
was of course amplified by the success of their 2011 Xmas campaign which won a
whole host of awards.
been there, trying something on in store, asking friends what they think and taking
photos to show off our latest purchase. Now Adidas has taken this experience
one step further as the latest big brand that has
adapted its stores to tap into the opportunities offered by the ‘smartphone
Following Burberry’s till-less flagship
store and the Sainsbury’s app that allows customers to shop using QR codes,
Adidas’ store in the German city of Nuremberg is experimenting with an
interactive storefront that allows customers to drag and drop items onto a
virtual mannequin as well as make purchases directly from their smartphones.
strategies were initially only focused on incentivising customer behaviour.
Then brands woke up to the need to, and value of, collecting data to build
insights. However, this is now coming full circle.
pure-play online brands already know a lot about their customers, even where
they don’t have a loyalty programme in place. Online transactions automatically
capture personal details that can be cross matched to other data sources to
build customer profiles. The loyalty challenge here is building and
maintaining customer engagement. Similarly, for multi-channel brands, the
challenge is to understand how customers interact with them both online and
offline and how loyalty can act as a bridge between both.
example, having realised the importance of nurturing its ‘omni-channel’
customers, John Lewis installed Wi-Fi in its stores to facilitate price
comparison and product research in-store. Having introduced a policy that
allocates all online sales in a set geographic radius from its stores against
the performance targets for the local store, John Lewis not only provided an
enhanced offering to customers but avoided conflict between its channels – a
smart use of its data.
also incorporated free Wi-Fi in-store to integrate loyalty online and offline,
as part of the launch of My HMV platform. Consumers entering the store will
automatically receive a welcome message from My HMV, inviting them to join the
programme. The aim is to make the brand experience more personalised, enabling
shoppers to gain instant access content via the online platform, such as music
streaming and reviews, whilst in-store.
customers have a 360 degree view of your company, not the other way
round. They expect to have a consistent, value-added and interactive
multi-channel customer experience across both directly controlled and indirect
channels to a brand. Customers increasingly expect brands to not only have a
presence on their social networks, but to use them to engage and feed their
needs for interactivity and instant gratification.
recognised this through the launch of the @MyStarbucksIdea initiative in the US
– inviting customers to submit ideas on how to improve the business via Twitter
and crediting the successful pitches on their blog. With over 70,000 ideas
submitted in the first year, the successful strategy ensured customers felt
empowered and part of the brand experience, building their confidence in the
the way for My Starbucks Rewards loyalty programme, enabling customers to
redeem points and benefits for each transaction made with a Starbucks Card.
Through developing this further to offer payment via mobile through the
Starbucks App, the brand has ensured the customer remains engaged with the
brand experience across numerous channels, and importantly, customer data is
captured to allow the brand to make more personalised offers in the future.
This is going to be a bit of a rant, so in the immortal words of the IT Crowd, you better put seatbelts on your ears (or should that be your eyes? Never mind). In all the whirlwind excitement about the explosion of video content, a worrying truth has emerged. At the risk of sounding like a bit of a content snob, 'more' does not necessarily translate into 'better', and just because everyone talks about brands as the new content producers, it doesn't necessarily mean that they're all going to be any good at it.
The statistics for video consumption are dizzying. According to ComScore, by the end of 2011 the human race was watching 2 billion pieces of video a month. YouTube clocked up more than 1 trillion views across the whole of last year -which should be cause for celebration, except for the fact that a significant proportion of those 1 trillion views will be for total dross.
I'm not talking about the endless supply of cat videos, amateur pop promos, box opening videos, make-up tutorials, advert parodies or illegal film posts here. But aside from the low-quality pap produced by dillusional or fame-hungry members of the great filming public, brands also have to share some of the responsibility for clogging up the servers of the World with recurring examples of rubbish film making. 'More' often means 'more rubbish' and anyone with a camera phone thinks it's okay to call themselves a content producer, when they're not.
Isaiah Mustafa, the Old Spice man who inspired a generation of brand marketers
A man with a camera phone is just a man, and there's no such thing as a 'citizen cameraman'. Just because you have the ability to upload clips that you've tarted up on Windows Movie Maker for the rest of the world to see, doesn't turn you into Ridley Scott. By the same token, just because you're a brand marketer with a clever idea for a video, it doesn't mean you're going to reproduce the success of the Old Spice guy. Isaiah Mustafa, the man your man could smell like, has a lot to answer for.
So what am I complaining about? Poorly conceived work like this rubbish from Skoda, featuring none the World's most famous pop star that nobody remembers, Anastacia.
The joke connections that could be made between a Skoda and Anastacia are too obvious to be made here, but there partnership feels forced for the sake of the gag. How far did Skoda have to get down their list before they got to Anastacia? (Gap, for instance, was always better at this style of celeb-cameo TV ad).
Alternatively, take this example from Samsung. Now the motion controlled smart TV is an astonishing piece of kit – and it doesn't need to be introduced to the world by a modern day Carry On film, complete with comic sound effects and over-the-top soundtrack. Things take further nosedive when the clip features none other than the Old Spice man himself, complete with trademark white towel.
Advertising just got self-referential, but was it really necessary to rely on another brand's jokes?
But it isn't all bad. Fortunately, a video pops up every now and again that restores your faith in the video medium. Luxury brands have always been pretty good with video – although its arguable that this is only because they have the money to throw at big name directors and top drawer talent. This recent work from Prada is a typical example. It's polished, professional and to all intents and purposes, a short feature film.
But the truth is that the real innovation in brand video production takes place in the smaller brand space, where risk is more acceptable and the creative journey is shorter and more direct. ONLY, is a fashion brand in Denmark which managed to unite the idea of video, online shopping and user experience into an astonishing piece of work.
My gripe about sub-standard video content still stands, which is why it's important to jump and shout about the good bits. As an industry, advertising owes it to itself to raise its video game. It doesn't take much, just more creativity, more innovation and a greater propensity to be adventurous. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
Right Brain, Left Brain sums up the dichotomy of a media business that’s constantly battling with the challenge of delivering a profit and discovering new ways to communicate to consumers. The Cream editorial team combined with a dream team of industry pioneers from around the world share their expert opinions.