Tag Archives: branding

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.

imaginarium3

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

If you like what you’ve read please sign-up to Lexden’s ‘Customer’s World’ Update for free monthly ideas, inspiration and insights to improve your customer strategy endeavours. 

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.

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In search of the unordinaires; Willy Wonka

The Unordinaires are those marketing individuals who decide to take a different path to the conventional types. They believe  ‘better for customers’ is never a strap line nor a project, it’s a way of business life and they pursue it in an authentic and original way others can only aspire to. They put their trust in customers, letting their loyalty repay the shareholders. And whilst their individual stars may shine brighter in bursts rather than constantly their enduring legacy is more than a sonic logo, a witty TV ad or memorable sponsorship. They win a place in their customer’s heart for their brands. Their stories are often well known, but not always. But what is always present is the spark of unordinary thinking we at Lexden celebrate.

In a new series of interviews, we will be inviting a number of Unordinaires (as they are affectionately known)  to share their unordinary marketing stories with us. And, by doing so, they will become honourary members of Lexden’s The Unordinaires Club. We will gather these thought leaders every few months at various locations in London, Edinburgh and beyond to share unordinary stories and help with guest marketer’s challenges.

So without further ado, please show your appreciation for our first member of the Unordinaires Club; Mr Willy Wonka.

If you want to know why or how it came to be Willy Wonka, please read the previous blog.

I caught up with Mr Wonka, now retired and living in a small town in mid America with his wife Biddy and 3 year old son James, earlier this month. Willy once ran his self-created empire Wonka Confectionery. But now when he’s not keeping up with James or tinkering with his glass elevator in his garden stables, he tests the latest new inventions the current CEO of Wonka, Charlie Bucket send him.

Q. Thinking back to when you were in charge of the Wonka brand, if you’d only been allowed to run one marketing activation campaign, which would you have chosen?

A. Mr Wonka replied in a shot, “The Golden Ticket of course. I created a demand for my Wonka bars which outstripped my ability to produce them. In Germany and the United Kingdom we got our numbers wrong and couldn’t keep up. But in other countries we launched a series of new product lines through the promotion which ensured they were established with market share within a week of hitting the shelves. The competition didn’t know what to do. But with each bar at the time containing the new ‘tastelicious’ flavour I knew customers would have to come back for more and more, even when the promotion was over.”

Q. You were the Wonka brand, how concerned were you that it couldn’t last beyond you?

A. “I think that’s where people really did get me wrong. I was simply an exaggeration of the brand. The brand was and is Wonka. I proved that by spending my final years at the factory focusing on a successor. To me brands are there to be handed down to the next generation in a stronger shape than they started. Sadly too many people these days seem to think a brand is there to advance their own careers.

Until they work out that they are nurturing it until someone who can continue the work comes along, they are holding the brand back. Charlie Bucket fulfilled the criteria I was looking for in a brand manager, marketing director, product manager and MD. And he’s managed to continue and grow the work I started. For instance,  I was delighted to see Johnny Depp playing me in the Tim Burton movie. And as fantastical is it may have seemed on film, that dedication to the brand I had is what made me unordinary, not my father or the chocolate river. Which was an idea which came from a customer focus group by the way.”

Q. Finally, we believe in the ‘customer first, profits follow’ model. Did you?

A.  Absolutely. I used a very simple test to see if something was good enough; not a business case nor a profit model but ‘a smile’. We invited people who loved sweets to sample our new tastes. As an entrepreneur I believed in getting things to market in as good a shape as you can manage and then perfect them when you are there, rather than working the hell out of them to find by the time you get to market you are out of fashion. So I found the smile test helped me get that quick response. The only flaw in the approach was most couldn’t help following the smile with a sentence of compliment.  Something I didn’t want to hear, so I always ignored it. In fact, I drowned it out with loud classical music. As long as I could see that smile, that’s all the research I needed. After all that’s what making sweets is all about right? Making people happy. If a sweet doesn’t do that, it shouldn’t exist.”

Thank you Mr Wonka for a magical journey from brand management, to product testing and customer insight through to marketing activation. In our short discussion Mr Wonka highlighted how his unordinary approaches to marketing are actually very sane. If only we all had his confidence we could be making bold decisions that some 40 years later are still being copied and admired by millions across the world.

Thank you Mr Wonka, and we hope to see you at the first The Unordinaires Club to be held in Late June in  London. If you would like more details about the event email christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com or ajai.ranawat@lexdengroup.com.

Posted by Christopher Brooks

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 orajairanawat@lexdengroup.com, or call us on T: +44 (0)20 7490 9123.  And you can follow us on Twitter @consultingchris.