Added Value Edits: Brand experience innovation

08 Jun 2016|Added Value

This month, we look at innovation in the realm of brand experience. How brands show up in the physical and virtual world, in line with their brand purpose but constantly responding to fast culture in real time, is crucial to brands’ success in today’s world. Which companies have made strides in this space and what are the lessons we can draw from these? This month’s Edits moves the conversation forward.

Brand Experience Innovation
Brands bring their purpose to life by creating experiences for their consumers. Do it well and these can be a powerful platform for growth, contribute to culture and generate desire.There is no doubt that the brand team is responsible for creating innovative brand experiences. But in a world of ever-increasing competition for the consumer’s dollar, brands have to constantly innovate just to stand out.They have to constantly re-imagine how their purpose can come to life. Are today’s marketing teams well-equipped to create brand experience innovation? Click here to read what Added Value’s Brand Innovation expert, Sally Smallman, has to say.

The 5 “Must Dos” For Successful Brand Experience Innovation
Brand experience is how brands make a meaningful contribution to culture. Being innovative with brand experience allows brands to differentiate and deliver their purpose in a refreshing way that engages consumers.
Without brand experience innovation, new products or services can have limited impact, especially in mature markets where competitors can replicate quickly and people are already spoilt for choice. Click here to discover the 5 “must dos” our team came up with, which businesses should follow for successful brand experience innovation.

Samsung’s exploratory flagship with no product on sale
February 2016 saw the inauguration of the Samsung 837 Center in the Meatpacking District of New York City. The 3-floor facility gives people a chance to dive into the Samsung universe – although no products are sold in store. The flagship was designed as a “digital playground”: among other installations, visitors can experience 4D virtual reality or enter the “Social Galaxy”, a tunnel lined with screens that display their own Instagram posts. Artistic and community-related special events will also be hosted inside the venue. Click here to explore Samsung’s flagship.

Echo: Amazon’s play to own the living room
Remember when Amazon used to be just an online retailer where consumers could buy pretty much anything? Not content with this modest role, Amazon’s expansion into hardware has given the company a new dimension: Echo provides a physical foothold in people’s homes with a voice-activated personal assistant and smart-home hub. The daily interactions that Echo owners can have with the device are one example of the new directions being explored by the Amazon brand. Click here to discover how Echo resonates with the customer base.

Experiencing luxury brands through art
In recent years, luxury brands have had to find innovative ways to distance themselves from premium insurgents. A key lever has been their involvement in art: initially, they curated exhibitions in the most prestigious museums across the world. The Alexander McQueen retrospective hit record attendance levels both at the MET (New York, 2011) and at the Victoria and Albert Museum (London, 2015). Some have gone a step further and opened their own museums, showcasing works from contemporary artists – the Gucci Museo in Florence, or the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. Read here how the passion for arts runs deeply in the veins of luxury maisons.

More than a cycling apparel manufacturer, Rapha is a lifestyle brand
Rapha is a niche, high-end cycling gear brand. They entered the market with a disruptive objective: to become a lifestyle brand, rather than a functional sporting goods retailer. Today, Rapha stores – called Cycle Clubs – include a café where visitors can enjoy fine coffee and food. In addition to cycling clothing, the range of products comprises books, skin care, coffee sets and even an espresso tamper. For a $200 annual fee, members gain access to a like-minded community of cyclists, and join one of Rapha’s annual cycling tours in California and Italy. Perfect for a wealthy Gen X cohort of males hunting for a low-impact sporting hobby. Take a look at the benefits of joining Rapha’s community here.

Arby’s is mastering real-time marketing
Most of Arby’s posts on social media are witty references to external events, such as the season premiere of a TV show. The editorial line is consistent – geeky and light-hearted – and photos typically feature Arby’s products in a clever context. The social media teams are on the look-out for opportunistic engagement – remember the “Hey @Pharrell, can we have our hat back?” tweet during the Grammy’s, noting the resemblance between Pharrell’s hat and Arby’s logo? A smart example of how to maintain a brand-enhancing conversation with your consumer target. Click here to discover how social listening is the starting point of Arby’s successful approach on Twitter.

Burberry’s flagship: a brick-and-mortar website
In 2012, Burberry opened their flagship store in London, with the key aim of continuing the modernization of the brand while appealing to their new Millennial target. According to Angela Ahrendts, then CEO of the company: “Walking through the doors is just like walking into our website”. Select products are equipped with RFID tags that trigger content on some of the 100 screens around the store – including the fitting rooms. The company is constantly enriching the experience by regularly adding both temporary and permanent features.
Read here how Burberry redefined what a world class customer experience should be, digitally and physically.

Nike’s ecosystem expands beyond product
With Nike+, the company has developed an ecosystem of services that widens its relationship with consumers beyond shoes and apparel. Via the Nike+ Running and Training apps, the Oregon-based sporting goods manufacturer turns into a coaching companion that can be carried around in your pocket. The brand aims to help users keep track of their performances, and strives to provide the extra motivation and inspiration they need to achieve their goals. Nike+ training clubs exist alongside the apps, allowing the local community of users to work out together under supervision from a Nike+ coach. Take a look at Nike+ community here.

Immerse yourself in YSL’s Black Opium Nuit Blanche
Yves Saint Laurent’s Black Opium franchise targets Millennials. To launch the Nuit Blanche edition of the fragrance, the company developed an experience based around second-screen technology. When you launch the website yslblackopium.com from a computer, users are prompted to connect their smartphone to another website. The computer screen then starts showing the commercial film: viewers follows Edie Campbell’s night endeavors, while their smartphones act as if they were hers – they even vibrate when she gets a text. Immerse yourself in this second screen experience and read more about it here.

Get in touch if you’d like to hear how Added Value can help you innovating your brand experience.

Written by Jonathan Hall, Global Chief Innovation Officer, Added Value
Follow Jonathan on Twitter @HallCJonathan

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