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The Organisations That Make Life More Memorable

Do you want your brand to have impact?

According to Dustin Garis, keynote speaker at the recent Front End of Innovation Conference in Boston that we recently attended, the greatest opportunity for impact is innovating on the human experience. It has become quite the challenge to have your brand stand out against all the others. Quite likely, we have all been on the Internet in the past 24 hours – but nobody remembers the last banner ad they saw. Buzzfeed’s Jonathan Perelman summarised this phenomenon as: “You are more likely to summit Mount Everest than click on a banner ad.”

Why is that so? There are at least two causes to this:

  1. There is a shrinking gap in meaningful differentiation among products. There is a limit to how much you can whiten your teeth. It is not that meaningful to differentiate between “extreme”and “ultra extreme” whitening.
  2. Consumers are starting to expect more from a brand.

But don’t we see these two causes on a personal level as well? This became very clear to Garis when he met a Russian scientist during his travels who told him that: “Life is not the number of days you live; it’s the number of days you remember.”

How many days from the past month do you remember? How many stand out? Most people only have 3 memorable days per month. That is the same as 1 month per year, or 1 year out of a decade. So while people aspire to live a memorable life, the tragic reality is that most of us don’t. We develop a more and more engrained routine with fewer novel experiences. We wake up at the same time, do the same commute, and meet the same people… We can change this by intentionally breaking the routine of our usual life. Take the scenic instead of the normal route, wear fun socks, or start your talk with a break dancer (as Garis did). Instead of watching TV after work at home, teach your kid how to fly a kite. The incremental richness of that memorable experience is life profit. These are the experiences we remember. And with each new memorable experience, there is value gained and added richness to life. How about optimising life profit instead of financial profit? And for companies: 80% of millennials prefer experiences over stuff. What does that mean for companies who sell stuff?

One of his favorite examples comes from a personal experience with Zappos. They are a stuff company. They sell shoes. He called the company with a question about a pair of running shoes. The rep signed him up for a mud run she found in his neighborhood. She turned it into an experience he never had. Zappos helped him have a memorable life. What a huge opportunity for brands. Be a hero. Save the day from being forgotten. Some lessons he learned from brands that stepped up to be that hero.

Watch this video of how Expedia rescued one customer from an ordinary day. If you were given the chance to drop everything and go on a trip, would you? How can Expedia scale this? 85% of the time, customers travel to the same place they have been to already. Expedia now suggests destinations people didn’t even think possible.

Start with the end in mind. Coke asked its creative partners: “That idea you’ve got tucked away that you’ve always wanted to do for Coke? Now is the time for that idea.” This is exactly what Coca-Cola did with their share-a-coke campaign. They got personal, and it worked.

The team at P&G Futureworks took a bold stance by changing P&G from a products company to a service company with Mr. Clean Carwash and Tide Dry Cleaning. There was one guy who came every single Sunday to Mr. Clean Carwash, passing 8 competitors. They learned that this was because Mr. Clean Carwash had installed water guns that shoot soapy suds at cars through floor-to-ceiling viewing windows.

One fortune cookie read: “Hearing something 1,000 times is less impactful than experiencing it once.” So many brands focus their efforts on talking. McDonalds had the “Dial up your Mom and tell her you love her” campaign. McDonalds moved from talk to action.

To be innovative, you must live innovation. P&G gave its creative partners a “get out of jail free” card. They asked them to develop three campaigns: One that they think P&G would buy, one that they would be sure P&G would buy, and one that might get them fired. What came out was a new Always campaign with no product or benefits featured, viewed millions of times around the world.

What about you? What brands have made your life more memorable?

Design solutions that shatter assumptions, delight customers, and define growth possibilities sustainably

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