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  • Posted by: Liesje Hodgson and Forest Young on Tuesday, September 9 2014 10:15 AM | Comments (0)

    As the media and behavior landscape evolves to include connected physical, digital, and social experiences, brands and businesses must understand how to meaningfully adapt to create value. This means a willingness to get out of the way when the brand isn't relevant, and a readiness to take center stage in moments that matter.

    To consistently exceed expectations, an organization must understand when and how to best support the customer in key interactions, regardless of industry or instance.

    This requires more than a shared language of how the brand looks, feels, and behaves. It requires tools, methods, operations and frameworks for making technology, partnership, and product decisions that places customers, and their needs, at the center. We work with teams to ensure that the products and services which customers touch are meaningful components of a broader brand experience. Watch the videos below for a sense of how we view the role of brand in delivering customer experiences.

    We partner with our clients to drive a unified vision for customer experience across teams and business units—and help them prioritize the interactions that can impact their relationship with customers and broader stakeholders. By defining what a relevant brand experience design is, we help organizations to make technology, partnership, and product decisions with an understanding of how they will shape the customer's relationship with the brand over time.

    Liesje Hodgson is a Senior Consultant of Innovation at Interbrand’s New York office. You can follow her on Twitter at @liesjeh.

    Forest Young is a Creative Director in Interbrand’s New York office. You can follow him on Twitter @ten_ten.

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  • Posted by: Josh Feldmeth on Sunday, July 13 2014 10:27 PM | Comments (0)

    The life insurance business—insurance, annuities, retirement—is one of the most dynamic business sectors globally. A recent PwC CEO study reported that more CEOs of life insurance companies were pursuing new business models than companies in any other sector.   

    The study notes that an “effective use of technology is going to be a crucial factor to spur greater innovation and differentiation as business models evolve. Applying digital technology in the life insurance markets, for example, is leading towards more flexible assisted and self-directed models for buying policies.”    

    These companies are all trying to make the same shift: from a supply orientation to a demand or customer-based business model. The fastest growing businesses today are building value chains that start with the customer, innovate around unmet needs and deliver products and services through connected experiences and ecosystems that allow for a high level of engagement, personalization, and advocacy.   

    But this kind of growth requires change and this is a challenge for the life insurance/retirement industry where the prevailing belief is that the product is sold not bought.   

    Here are three key strategies for making the shift and achieving customer-led growth:   

    1.   Bring the customer into the conversation. This is an opportunity for life insurance companies to display their skills in supply-side economics—underwriting, product design, pricing, and distribution—while offering a level of transparency where the customer can engage and voice his or her unmet needs.  

    2.   Make the economic case for experience. Delivering connected customer experiences requires functional integration and capital expenditure (capex). We witnessed it in a recent case for a global services business; we calculated an incremental $300,000,000 lift in revenue simply from optimizing the customer experience. And that was for one segment in the US alone. 

    3.   Lastly, increase the market rhythm. By opening the gates to allow management to listen to the customer, you’re accelerating the rhythm of the marketplace. This, in turn, changes the speed at which customers make decisions about your product. Life insurance and annuities generally have a very slow rhythm, but, with this new flow, it changes the natural frequencies and sells opportunities.

    By simply bringing the customer into the business, making a case for the business valuation to free capex and encourage functional integration, and building experiences that will relate and increase the market rhythm, the life insurance business model can be shifted into a personal and life-long experience.

    For more information about achieving customer-led growth, please contact Josh Feldmeth, CEO, Interbrand New York at jfeldmeth@interbrand.com. Connect with him on Twitter: @JoshFeldmeth

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  • Posted by: Vicki Lai on Thursday, December 5 2013 06:04 PM | Comments (0)
    Brunch in Singapore

    In Singapore, we love our food. It has been said that eating is the national pastime. It comes as no surprise then that brunch is fast becoming a favourite weekend activity for many. Imagine – savouring a laid back day before the hectic week ahead begins, indulging in delicious food and an invigorating fresh cup of brew while soaking in the tasteful décor of a lovely café.

    With interest from consumers burgeoning and suppliers see a growing opportunity, new brunch venues are popping up across Singapore. Subsequently, consumers are spoilt for choice with a multitude of cafés being added to their to-visit lists, waiting to be conquered. Today, social media platforms have become trophy rooms with beautifully shot pictures of delectable food and designed dining spaces. So, where shall we go next?

    We now have a phenomenon of “first timer consumers” - consumers who have high expectations of their brunch experiences. As diners share their personal experiences through social media or blogs, with some making lists such as “20 Cafés to Visit in Singapore” or ambitious offers of extensive directories such as “52 best brunch places in Singapore,” cafés are attracting brunch connoisseurs, but need to bridge the gap between the initial checking off a place to try it and long-term brand loyalty.

    Mind you, these brunch places usually earn the head-nodding approval of their first time patrons. Individually, the cafés have carefully thought out menus, well put-together tables, walls and chairs, and they do have impressive websites and social media pages.

    Collectively, the question remains – how differentiated are they?

    Leading brands achieve relevance and differentiation; these principles similarly apply to café brands. Beyond taste and aesthetics, owners should aim to win over their first time patrons with a compelling offer. Some initial ideas for starters:

    • Providing outstanding service usually leaves a deep impression on customers.

    • Explaining the origin of your ingredient sources can help to strike a chord with consumers’ personal beliefs.

    • Sharing the brand owner’s philosophy can establish an emotional connection with customers.

    • Jazzing it up - having seasonal menus not only implies fresh ingredients used, but also gets customers interested, again and again.

    • Tap into chef branding and storytelling to express what makes the cuisine unique.

    • Pay attention to the little things - from the names of dishes, tone of voice adopted to introduce the food, to the choice of crockeries and napkins.

    These preliminary suggestions provide initial food for thought. Differentiating cafés, or any brand, in an increasingly crowded marketplace is not an easy journey. What makes a restaurant brand stand out for you?

    Vicki Lai is a consultant for Interbrand Singapore.

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  • Posted by: Jessica McHie on Friday, December 7 2012 11:36 AM | Comments (0)

    James Groccia

    Talk about “building” brand loyalty (pun intended). Toy master LEGO has been entertaining boys and girls around the world for decades, but this particular story can’t help but warm your heart.

    An 11-year-old boy from Massachusetts, diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, had saved his money for two years to buy a particular LEGO set. When James Groccia had finally gathered enough money, LEGO had discontinued the Emerald Night Train set he wanted.

    James is an avid LEGO loyalist. He attends a LEGO playgroup to help improve his social skills and builds daily LEGO creations on his own. A devastated James sent a letter to the company explaining his situation in hopes LEGO would have a spare set they could send him.

    Just in time for the holiday season, we witness that some companies still remember who their consumers are and how to connect with them. James’ parents set up a hidden camera to capture his sheer joy as he opened a mysterious box that arrived at their house. LEGO sent James the train set, along with a letter from a customer service employee that we see James passionately read in the video.

    This set probably cost LEGO a few hundred dollars, if that. But the amount of goodwill LEGO is building through the sharing of this story is priceless. It demonstrates the company takes care in pleasing each customer and continues to honor LEGO’s original core values and principles.

    The letter from LEGO concludes, “Fans like you are why we are so lucky as a company”. Right they are, and you can bet this family will be loyal LEGO fans and brand advocates for as long as the company exists. If they keep pleasing loyalists like this, LEGO should be around for a very long time.

    Happy holidays from all of us at Interbrand.

    Jessica McHie is a Senior Associate, Global Communications for Interbrand.


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  • Posted by: Ruth Rivera on Monday, September 10 2012 09:27 AM | Comments (0)

    As businesses continue to evolve the relationship between their brands and their consumers, great pains are taken to create an idealized experience across touchpoints, both physical and digital. For many organizations, the website is the gateway into creating and nurturing relationships with audiences. From the visitor’s point of view, each click is expected to uncover information and further the journey not only into the website but also with the brand.

    So what happens when a visitor takes a bad turn? If you have a broken link on your site (or a site incorrectly hyperlinks you) visitors are likely to land on an error, or “404” page. In a recent TED talk, Renny Gleeson, Global Digital Strategies Director for Wieden+Kennedy, likened coming across a 404 page as “the feeling of a broken relationship…it’s like a slap in the face.”

    Error Message

    Error pages are disappointing and frustrations that arise from these moments can force an abrupt end to an interaction a user is having with a brand. Research by the World Wide Web Consortium (“W3C”) suggests that 404 Errors can reduce site usage by as much as 10%.

    A robust digital experience is central to maintaining a successful brand. Just as important as the website’s UI or its content is how a brand addresses the kinks that inevitably come along during a visitor’s experience. To address these frustrations, educate visitors and create a little fun, business are now incorporating branded moments and conversations into these intrinsic annoyances of the web experience.

    So while you cannot always control the cause of an error page, you can minimize hurt feelings with a custom 404 page that addresses the issue and invites visitors alternative paths to continue on their journey. You may have seen attempts at humorous 404 pages, good for keeping visitors entertained. But what goes into making a valuable branded 404 page?

    A well-branded 404 page serves as a moment to educate, to encourage a search or to display related information visitors might be interested in reading. When creating or updating your custom 404 page, keep the following tips in mind to ensure your audience stays with you:

    Explain: Quickly let the visitor know where they are and why the error has occurred.

    Look and Feel: The error page should look as good as the rest of your website (if not more appealing to keep visitors engaged).

    Voice: Avoid technical jargon and speak to your audience as your brand would across all touchpoints.

    Wayfinding: Provide your audience with some intuitive and easy options to keep them on your website, including a search box. Think about the most valuable sections, articles, blog posts or pages on your website as options to share with visitors.

    Tracking: Identify common entry routes to your 404 page to spot, fix and minimize broken links.

    404

    While 404 pages are unavoidable, losing your audiences is not. Leverage a smartly executed 404 page to create a second chance to re-engage visitors, create a branded moment and direct them to what makes your brand great.

    Ruth Rivera is a Strategy Consultant for Interbrand.

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