Groupification

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Ah Millennials, how we love them so. I mean, where would we be without them? With their authentic, multi-tasking, fun-loving, witty and entitled charm. They’ve truly brought the world together and made it a brighter place. Well, some of that’s true. They for sure have mastered the art of what we are calling “Groupification”.

When it comes to the act of groupification, there are three important areas to make note of. For one, Originality. Millennials often respond to, and actively cultivate their friends around unique and original brand experiences. They will take “authenticity over superficiality” any day of the week. Second is Purpose. Brands with a purpose have a transcendent value that allows them to enhance and enlighten the diverse experience of their lives. And coming in third, but perhaps the most unique of all is what we call Planned Spontaneity, where instant gratification is immediately met. When your brand makes it seem as though something is randomly taking place, but it’s been planned all along. Like when it looks like a shopper is taking a used car out for a ride, but then is taken for the ride of his life courtesy of Jeff Gordon and Pepsi Max. Now that’s something that not only gets the blood pumping, but also has you wanting to share the hell out of.

These all directly contribute to the art of Groupification, and are subconsciously considered by Millennials. And as marketers, if we’re trying to connect (with Millennials), then we need to check these boxes. Especially in the digital space. We want them to come in herds to experience what we’re putting out there. We need to turn the page on 1:1 marketing, and start thinking more like 1:10 or 1:1000. Ask yourself, “How can we deliver a campaign, message or experience that enables our consumer to create a forum for all to enjoy?”

Now, while this is specifically for Millennials, others are certainly starting to take on the same principles. At the heart of it, it’s about what your consumer is thinking, doing and ultimately what they value. Deliver on these, and your consumers will be moved to experience your brand, product or service… together.

To Serve, or to Sell, that is the question.

As marketers, we are mostly programmed to SELL, SELL, SELL! However, in this day and age, it seems it’s more effective to serve. Recent studies (according to us) show that consumers are more interested in receiving information that will educate and enrich their lives. They want a story. Content. An experience. Something usable beyond just a “buy this now!” call-to-action.

To do this, we must think about our engagement strategy, and look for ways to immerse our audience in the brand, rather than simply sell it. We must tap into the emotional sensibilities, and bring their normal, everyday experience to life in a way that serves a bigger purpose — to create an unbreakable bond, that ultimately results in sales.

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Here are some ways this is being done…

  • Virtual Reality: Create a new world to experience your brand (Check out what Tom’s did)
  • Augmented Reality: Bring the retail experience to life wherever you are (See how the IKEA Catalog enables you to place furniture in your space before you buy it)
  • Bots: Brands becoming personal assistants (Casper gives you someone to talk to on those sleepless nights)

There are many partners out there specializing in these methods (Blippar, LSTNR, Moth+Flame). And if you want to proactively bring new, impactful ideas to your clients and consumers, we suggest you tap into them.

So don’t get stuck in the world of selling. It’s a one-dimensional way to drive engagement and conversions. Change your approach. Be multidimensional, it will serve you well.

What Sparks Our Fire: Taking the initiative to find new ways to turn simple ideas into ones that serve a bigger purpose.

 

Creatures of Habit

Brands and marketers spend a lot of time and money with “new and exciting” initiatives based purely on trends that are influencing their consumers. But what they should be doing is improving their existing products and marketing efforts based on consumer habits.

As consumers, we are programmed to intuitively select the products and brands we need based on what looks familiar (e.g., the easiest decision to make). And as marketers, “the goal is to make consumers repeat their purchases by matching the value proposition to their needs.” Consumers don’t want to spend the mental energy when shopping (online or in-store for that matter), so why make them?

Branding, Design, Advertising, MarketingThe solution for brands lies within understanding the habits of their consumers, and evolving or improving upon them based on what their brains are programmed to be looking for. And unless consumers are absolutely screaming for a change, and the return is solid for your business, then making a dramatic change is no bueno.

Brands like Coke, Tropicana, GAP, and many more have undergone redesigns in some capacity over the years. Consumers didn’t demand it. They weren’t educated on the change, nor provided a real rationale. The result was backlash, and even a decline in sales, which pushed the brands to quickly go back to the original. A lot of time and money lost. However, sometimes it pays off (only if the demand is there), but often times it doesn’t.

There are more examples and insights we could share, but we simply don’t have the time, nor blog post space to do so. That said, we want to leave you with this very simple message: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And if you decide to fix it, make sure you do it in a way that doesn’t disrupt the habits of your consumers.

Interpretive Planning Meets Design

06-karl-lagerfeld-exhibitionInterpretive planning is used in museums, science centers and cultural centers today. “It is a a decision making process that blends management needs and resource considerations with visitor needs and desires to communicate a message to a targeted audience.”according to Wikipedia.

By extension “interpretive design” is a powerful cornerstone for branding.

Let’s take technology and museums. In technology, IBM’s Watson was, and is, being utilized to humanize technology for brands in the financial, automotive and pharma industry, among others… And the original IBM Watson Jeopardy campaign was a huge consumer and awards success.

At the Pitti Palace in Florence, Italy, a recent exhibit combined Karl Lagerfeld’s lifestyle portraits (‘Karl Lagerfeld’s Visions of Fashion’ pictured above) with rooms of classic art masterpieces. The outcome, an exhibit with a riveting interpretive design experience. I experienced it myself.

Interpretive design… a line of thinking, planning and actions to power the future of branding.

Canopy can help you build and maintain a custom interpretive design plan for your brand. One that impacts the various mediums utilized in your marketing campaign. Contact Marc Sampogna at marc@canopybrandgroup.com or 646 767 6576. 

Photo credit: Proj3ct Studio

Don’t Rain On My (Mobile) Parade

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Nature vs. technology– this eternal struggle is best exemplified in the image of a city dweller trying to text under a barely-stable umbrella. Let’s face it, umbrellas were not designed to protect us from rain and allow us to text our friends. And after last weekend’s Hurricane Joaquin touched New York City, there’s never been a bigger need for an umbrella re-design. Enter Korean firm KT Design’s latest idea, the Phone-brella.

The Phone-brella is an umbrella designed to hook around the user’s arm, instead of having to grip it. The Phone-brella, aided by counterweights at its base, can then rest comfortably on the user’s shoulder as he or she texts. This simple design fix allows the owner to use his or her smartphone in a rainstorm.

Even though the Phone-brella can only be ordered from a Korean website right now, we’re hopeful that this smart design idea will make it’s way to the U.S., especially after winning the prestigious Red Dot Design award. Check out the video below to see the Phone-brella in action.

What Sparks Our Fire: Creative design giving technology a leg up on mother nature.