Product selling with added experience

In the midst of my autumnal creative reference trip to London, I took a trip around Harrods and came across the Jo Malone beauty department. Okay, to be entirely honest I was only looking at their brand and packaging and wasn’t serious about purchasing anything. No surprises, the brand is the same as it’s ever been.

Prior to this, I had been visiting Packaging Innovations, at the Business Design Centre. Being inspired, I was on a mission to look at some ways that brands were making themselves different to their competitors through packaging graphics and innovative cardboard engineering. To paraphrase James Davenport, Finance Director at Innocent Drinks: all products are the same, one can only differentiate by design.

The Jo Malone brand and packaging is very simple, sometimes perhaps a bit too simple. Some bottles being (budget) clear plastic (not even glass) with a silver foil label, one colour print. I really wonder if they are pushing the limits of what simple packaging looks like, and what we are really expected to pay for. The fragrances and products are fabulous, there is no doubt, and I discovered the experience of them starts pre-purchase.

I was (discreetly) trying to photograph some nicely wrapped soap when I was approached by a beautiful girl asking me if i would like to ‘experience’ some hand cream. I obliged. She asked me to take a seat in a beautifully upholstered bar chair in velour cream and black stripes. Then, she requested that I take off my coat, and roll up my sleeves. Ooh what was this experience going to involve?! Then, she placed a velvet Jo Malone embossed pouch onto a thick white towel for me to remove my jewellery for safekeeping. Wow, this has really been thought through.

I had a relaxing hand and arm massage with a variety of combined cream and fragrances. 15 minutes later I was more relaxed, felt great and smelled wonderful! I was even more impressed when the beautiful girl passed me a voucher to have another completely free hand massage at any Jo Malone store.

Jo Malone Personal Invitation

That branded voucher is a clever touchpoint, it stays in my handbag, when I see it I send a BNTS (branded note to self) that I could call on that Jo Malone experience again. I can be cleverly directed to their products again.

I’m keeping a keen eye out for more clever BNTS that are linked to experiences and products.

What I liked about the service experience:

  • Feeling completely at ease, no pressure to buy
  • Being offered/given an experience that linked the products to a treat experience
  • The hand and arm massage treat!
  • Brand values that were expressed through the care and attention to detail given through experience and the carefully thought out process
  • The fragrance ‘combination’ demonstrated, it’s more than try to before you buy, as you understand fragrance and layering of fragrance

Comments about the brand and service:

  • If I was to buy the soap, I really wanted to see it without the wrap. This wasn’t an option but okay… I’m being picky!
  • The labels were all the same format. At a glance there was nothing to differ the products, which means you are quite lost when looking at their counter shelves stacked with very similar looking products.
  • Fonts – very small and hardly legible.

Would I buy any product? Yes. However, this time I wasn’t there to buy but to view the brand. I took the details to keep for a potential Christmas gift suggestion and I have to return for a second hand massage so you never know!

Do you want to know more about how to create a tailored service experience? Are you interested in how your customers relate to your brand? Are your pack graphics saying the right thing to the right user? This is our business and we can help connect user experience to brand and reveal areas for improvement by using some of our service testing exercises.

Simple Services = Brand Loyalty

Don’t dazzle your users with too much choice.

Here’s a conversation played out by services and their users all over:

Service: Here is our service
Users: Hello service, we want something from you.

Service: Here is our service… taddaaahhh!
Users: Oh, what, where, when and how?

Service: You go here, and there, you find a form, you log in and look around, you wander around until you find what you want. You can ask here, or click there, you can find out all about everything you want.
Users: We just want the information clear and simple.

Service: Clear and simple? But there is so much we can offer.
Users: Uh no, just clearly tell us what’s what.

Service: Well that means we have to change the way we do things.
Users: Um yes please. Did you know I would pay you 6% more for a simplified experience?

Service: Really?
Users: Really. Read the Global Brand Simplicity Index

Making your service and brand offering simple, could encourage customer loyalty and see those customers return.

Our example: A Financial Company
(Featuring a fairground of choices and investment opportunities!)

This company sells lots of services and there is many different ways that people can access those products and services. A workshop planning session revealed that the nature of the growth of the business had meant that their products were becoming more interesting, beneficial and worthy of marketing. We needed to design their website to accommodate new developments and a brand strategy that would deliver a return on their investment.

We observed the following, from the user perspective:

  • The products on offer, were looking more complicated to understand
  • The application procedure was difficult to navigate
  • Processes were long and the user didn’t know where they were in the process
  • Their brand was becoming weaker and more diluted as a result

Presently, their website users are given so much choice that they become quickly lost and confused. The business begins to look like a fairground — the noises, the smells, the activity, the risks, the excitement — but then the confusion and choice becomes too much to deal with. The users, become wary and back off. No conversion; no sale.

Do services that give us too much choice, fail to keep our attention? We might not choose anything, and we wouldn’t have had the positive experience that makes us want to go back and try again. Products and brands that are honest, clear and simple in their service offering are more attractive to us all. The comprehensive research from siegel+gale and their approach called ‘Simplicity’ has illustrated that there is truth in the claims that consumers are willing to pay a bit more if it means the service is simple.

We are working with our client to create a simple, easy to navigate, one brand message marketing campaign. The temptation is to always add on another detail, mention another service, pop in another product. We have to keep pulling the brand back down to the core, keeping the focus and reminding ourselves that simple is best.

Plea from the service user: Please. We just want the information, clear and simple.

Why use designers for innovation and design of services?

More-than-designers

Design is a discipline we use and apply to services and their communication. Communications teams and departments have trained staff from many different academic and consultancy backgrounds with managerial and business skills. So why look further? I would guess that not many companies or public sector organisations would think to include a designer to facilitate a problem solving process.

As experienced designers of visual communications, our work is only deemed successful if the end result works for its users. We gather information, get the facts straight, work through scenarios, apply design solutions to numerous situations and redefine, redesign and test it. The trick is to always keep the consumer at the forefront of design decisions and bring the shareholders and business plans to work in parallel with those choices.

You might say, “Oh, you are just designers, I don’t need a brand or a logo, or a website thank you. There are bigger issues to solve in my business!” Exactly.

We can help solve those bigger issues. Could we suggest that you see beyond the end result of what we typically produce and look at how it’s achieved, can you see how our design thinking can help your scenario? How can we innovate around problems and situations? We use design and creative thinking every day.

So how does a designer fit the bill? Insight designers bring a wealth of tools and experience to any subject, product or service. Our inbuilt skill set at Rose-Innes Designs means that communication to the right audience is at the forefront of what we are programmed to do. That’s coupled with a creative mindset — comfortable to step outside the box, consider new methods and techniques, adapt the mentality of ‘what if‘ and ‘lets try it‘. If this sounds too ‘fluffy‘ for you, then rest assured that we have more in our minds than blue sky!

The business case
We believe that our design skills can make all the difference to your business. The difficulty often lies with the perception of what we can actually achieve in a realistic and complex business scenario. We have proved that it does work, see our case studies. Good services are paramount to business function so we concentrate and explore that. What can we do with your service offer? We can study its effectiveness, integrity, price and marketing. We can asses what current, potential and even future users of your business could look like. These assessments don’t exist alone, but are aligned with business strategy and placed in the context of direction for growth.

Your service users will hold important keys, it’s more than fluffy clouds that can reveal the complexities of why people do what they do. As insight designers we can help to define the users and refine the interactions they have with your service. For example, we can innovate ideas around how to get more customers through your door, what makes them choose you, what you can do that is different. Capturing and retaining customers is your business. It’s our business to make this happen.

Contact us for more information or to make an appointment.

The Double Diamond

We’ve adapted this process from the Design Council, it’s very useful in finding a way through the design process.

Double diamond process

It’s direction is outward thinking for the discover phase, then brought back into a definition – normally where the design brief is defined, then it goes back out for development and design and the process brought back in to delivery stage. Then its tested and possibly recycled around the diamond once again.

It’s not only a design process, but a model for improvement.

1000 Lives Plus, NHS Wales, have their own model that they use for quality improvement in healthcare, we are familiar with this as it’s featured in the guides that we design for them. It’s the PDSA model. (Plan, Do, Study, Act).

If you are a public service or private business that could benefit from our approach, email or call us on 029 2120 2250

Go Faster Services? Let’s slooowwww it down

Has anyone noticed a shift from automated services to human-centred ones? The recent project that we undertook for a bank made us think about this seriously. So much has been done to de-humanise the banking service for general public users in a quest for service efficiency. It’s a ‘get it done and quick’ mentality that the service providers have been trying to get right for us. I am totally on board with this, I love online banking; great. I think the app has a huge future; great. Those auto machines in branch that make you wait for your number to come up before you go to a cashier, well that’s good service – at least you can take a seat while you wait – nice of the bank to think of that for us.

But when I stop and think, I ask whether the banking industry may have been missing a trick – the human part. How can a bank remain efficient and yet still make a touchpoint with the user that creates a sense that we are still in a world where people talk and interact and that has huge VALUE? A touchpoint that we can connect with in some sense. Can our bank branches become places where real people can interact and not be confronted with such strong brand presence it overpowers everything else? Is there a place for being real and feeling at ease to handle our money? Where is the sense of place and belonging? It’s lost in the corporate world that is bank branding. I think that something can be done about it. What is the missing element in those services that are technically efficient and digitally fandabbydozy? I note that one of the high street banks is actively highlighting that customers can call up and speak to someone ‘in person’. Maybe they’ve realised the gap.

At Insight Service Design, we examine the elements and complexities of a service that are either interactional or relational. We might challenge those and innovate ideas around how to bring change for improvement. Services need to be reviewed and changed as our consumer world puts more and more value on the experience that they have. Services also need to adapt to digital solutions that need a fluid and flexible approach that allow for testing, reviewing and change.

Service Innovation Breakfast event

As a member of ‘The 90’ on the Service Design Programme, Michelle is booked to speak at the Service Innovation Seminar for the Swansea Bay Partnership on September 12th 2012.

Michelle will be introducing some simple service design tools that you can use in your business. She’ll also be sharing her experience of working in a design and marketing company and how she sees service design and innovation having most impact in commercial situations.

Click here to book your place on this event

Service innovation breakfast event

Service Innovation Breakfasts for SMEs

Michelle will be speaking at the Torfaen SME Breakfast on February 6th 2013.

Michelle will be talking about how we at INSIGHT work towards simple services and what advantages they can bring to businesses. She’ll also be sharing her experience of working in a design and marketing company and how she sees service design and innovation having most impact in commercial situations.

SI-SME-Breakfast-Torfaen-web

For details about the event visit theservicedesignprogramme.org

Go Faster Services? Let’s slooowwww it down

Has anyone noticed a shift from automated services to human-centred ones? The recent project that we undertook for a bank made us think about this seriously. So much has been done to de-humanise the banking service for general public users in a quest for service efficiency. It’s a ‘get it done and quick’ mentality that the service providers have been trying to get right for us. I am totally on board with this, I love online banking; great. I think the app has a huge future; great. Those auto machines in branch that make you wait for your number to come up before you go to a cashier, well that’s good service – at least you can take a seat while you wait – nice of the bank to think of that for us.

But when I stop and think, I ask whether the banking industry may have been missing a trick – the human part. How can a bank remain efficient and yet still make a touchpoint with the user that creates a sense that we are still in a world where people talk and interact and that has huge VALUE? A touchpoint that we can connect with in some sense. Can our bank branches become places where real people can interact and not be confronted with such strong brand presence it overpowers everything else? Is there a place for being real and feeling at ease to handle our money? Where is the sense of place and belonging? It’s lost in the corporate world that is bank branding. I think that something can be done about it. What is the missing element in those services that are technically efficient and digitally fandabbydozy? I note that one of the high street banks is actively highlighting that customers can call up and speak to someone ‘in person’. Maybe they’ve realised the gap.

At Insight Service Design, we examine the elements and complexities of a service that are either interactional or relational. We might challenge those and innovate ideas around how to bring change for improvement. Services need to be reviewed and changed as our consumer world puts more and more value on the experience that they have. Services also need to adapt to digital solutions that need a fluid and flexible approach that allow for testing, reviewing and change.