Tag Archives: brand activation

How Imaginarium playfully deliver the 3 in 1 CX equation

We’ve featured Waitrose and Virgin Trains Customer Experience recently in this feature. So what is 3 in 1 CX? This is when we identify within one minute of engaging with a brand, three touch points which demonstrate the strength of their positioning and differentiation through customer experience.

Despite admiring these brands, I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to showcase a favourite of mine, Imaginarium. I first enjoyed the European retailer’s toy shop experience a few years ago whilst working on a customer value proposition commission for an Italian Bank. Since then I’ve been a fan. So when I recently passed through Lisbon and spotted a store at the airport I seized my chance.

So what makes Imaginarium stand apart from the other toy stores? It’s that they recognise the importance of play, creativity and capturing the imaginative minds of children. This is brought to life in two important ways; the products and the in-store experience.

When it comes to the experience they look at it through the child’s eyes. This alternative view point makes the world of difference and creates a much more enjoyable retail experience for all. With two young children I’ve ventured into plenty of toy store retail chains and independents, but Imaginarium is the only one to have an unmistakable brand feel.

Within 1 minute of walking into an Imaginarium you get this. Here are three experiences at key touch points for any retailer which show how they deliver branded CX putting Imaginarium, in my mind, ahead of the others.

imaginarium1The entrance – this has become an iconic identity marque on the high street for Imaginarium. It works on so many levels. The mini arch acts as a greeter, it drives children to drag parents to the store, it is a beautifully different coloured shape to achieve stand out from all other shops in a mall or on a street, it says we are non-conformist to the convention of retail, it allows children to arrive in the store For just a second) on their own,

it’s a perfect defining brand moment which others can never copy and most importantly it says to parents and children you are equally important in our store.

imaginarium2The promotion – In a toy shop, sweets are an ancillary offer. They are non-core and therefore a promotion to enhance the brand reputation. Ancillaries often drive incremental profit for companies. And as long as they reinforce the strength of the brand (and not exploit it for short-term sales as some lesser companies believe they are there for), they can be useful promotions for the brand.

Imaginarium deliver this really well. Their displays are works of art which have to be experienced. They take common products (sweets in this case) and present them in totally engaging and intoxicating way making the cross-sell an enjoyable experience.


The take out –  When you leave the store with your purchase in tact the transporter for the goods should of course be practical but also be a perfect reminder of the brand purchased. Imaginarium get this. Which is why their carry out bags are branding messages to the customers reminding all why Imaginarium are there and what they celebrate.

The bag states “Playing for a Better Future” and features various children. It has visual stand out and a core brand message. It’s also a bag parents will find hard to throw out (who would dare throw out this bag). They are so proud of their bags, they hang in the store.

Within 1 minute of walking into the store these three experiences wash over you and remind you how much fun Imaginarium is and how important inspiring children’s imagination is to their existence.

Imaginarium are there already, but at Lexden it’s our mission to help other clients find their own brand defining experience moments which also increase sustainable profits through content customer commitment.

Posted by Christopher Brooks, Director, Lexden – Independent Customer Strategists

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For further information contact christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com or call us on M: +44 (0) 7968 316548 or T: +44 (0)1279 902205.  You can also follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter or read client testimonials and case studies at www.lexdengroup.com.

Unordinary Thinking No. 14 – ‘I’ll have an iPhone smoothie please’

I know there is no end to what you can do with an iPhone but it is getting ridiculous.  We went to a conference hosted by the DMA last Thursday entitled “The Future of Direct Marketing” where a chap from Sony Ericsson said an interesting thing:  “Technology should be about joy”.    This got me thinking.  He said if it needs to be about joy, then it means consciously not talking about the facts and figures of a product-‘opting out of the features race’ as he put it.  Instead, it is about communicating the technology in a way that is relevant to a person’s life.

Generally it is tempting (and rational) for businesses to talk about the specification of their product in customer communications since so much of their internal resources are focused on improving their products.  “We put a lot of resource into making our product faster/cheaper/bigger/smaller/ lighter/thinner-we should tell customers just how much”.  Thus we are bombarded with numbers and stats which, for most people, are pretty irrelevant (640 GB hard drive, 16 megapixels, £3,000,000 repatriation insurance cover).  And even if the numbers are relevant, let’s face facts, it is a little dull.

But does this have to be the case?  It is not that I think that the specification is not important-far from it.  It is just that it has to be made relevant to me before I will engage with the product or brand.  And being relevant to me starts with communicating about a product in a way that I remember.

I guarantee you will remember this.  An iPhone smoothie.  Check out this video for a brand of blender you will never forget (millions already have):


I have no idea how Blendtec decided to come up with the “Will it blend?” campaign.  However I would like to think it went something like this:

The smart marketing guys walked into the lab whilst the geeky manufacturing people were goofing around (ignoring health and safety) shoving all manner of objects into the blender they had built.  The smart marketing guys, tired of simply producing press adverts with a pretty product picture stating the blade speed and a reference to “makes nice smoothies”, spotted an engaging way to tell the Blendtec story to their customers.  One of them went home, got his video camera, knocked on the CEO’s door and told him what they needed him to do.  Two hours later they posted a video on YouTube.  A few years on and well over 100 blended objects later, the videos have won multiple industry awards and coverage on shows like Jay Leno to millions more potential buyers. Blendtec and its campaign have had more than 180 million views on YouTube.  180 million. If anyone has any idea what kind of conventional marketing budget it would take to generate that much engagement with that many customers then let us know.  In a rather understated way Tom Dickson, the founder of Blendtec and star of the videos, says it best: “Will it Blend has had an amazing impact to our commercials and our retail products”.

Whilst writing this post, I thought about going to the Blendtec website to check out which metal the blades were made out of and how many revs per minute (is this even a proper blender metric?) the specification is.  But I didn’t.  Because it doesn’t really matter.  What matters is that this brand of blender has been communicated to me in a very unordinary way that I will probably never forget.  It brought a smile to my face, proved to me that it is a great blender and has encouraged me to tell many other people.  I am not currently in the market for a blender.  However when I eventually am, there is no way I will not check out Blendtec’s blenders as part of the process.  And I think I will probably end up buying one-although I doubt I will bother to find out what metal the blades are made out of.

Posted by Ajai Ranawat

Lexden is a marketing strategy agency which creates unordinary propositions to motivate customers and deliver commercial advantage for brands.

For more information on how we can help you, contact christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com or ajairanawat@lexdengroup.com, or call us on T: +44 (0)20 7490 9123.  And you can follow us on Twitter @consultingchris.