Tag Archives: christmas

My Christmas 2013 ‘Customer Experience’ Crackers

Like many I decided to switch off and enjoy the recent Christmas festivities with my family and left my work behind. Those who know me will know that whilst a worthy ambition, it’s usually compromised. However, this year I did it!

I spent two weeks with the family. But what that meant is that I also spent two weeks as a consumer, without my Lexden Customer Experience Strategist hat on.


As a consumer I found dozens of interactions which made me feel warmer or colder towards the brands I engaged with and subsequently more or less likely to use them again. So whilst I wasn’t strictly working, I did capture a few of the best and worst experiences (see also My Christmas 2013 ‘Customer Experience’ Turkeys blog) to provide you with inspiration and ideas for your own CX programmes.

Here’s my three favourite Christmas Crackers delivering the gift of a great branded experience which will live on long after the decorations have come down. Loving…

myringgo2MyRingGo | My wife, my two young boys and I planned a trip to see the Snowman at the Peacock theatre. Travelling in on the train we arrived at the station car park. We realised we had no change! Ahhhh. Then I noticed a sticker on the car park machine offering a phone service to buy a ticket. With a low level of faith in customer friendly mobile payments from experience, I was sceptical. But hat’s off to MyRingGo. I called and within two minutes the automated service had texted me confirmation that my parking ticket had been purchased. All for a supplement of just 20p on the ticket. The message also told me it would take just 30 seconds next time now they have my details (ensuring a repeat purchase).

But the real magic came when 10 minutes before the ticket expired I received a reminder and options to extend the ticket. Having been caught out before by traffic wardens, this was a revelation – a real customer advantage of the mobile over cash.

jlpJohn Lewis | Like most I could default to John Lewis to buy all Christmas goods, including alarm clocks, bears and hares. At the Bluewater shopping centre store John Lewis had managed to spill the TV ad out across the store. With a looping Lily Allen version of a Keane track and TV screens playing the ad it couldn’t be missed. And surprisingly not that nauseating. We then came across a wonderful experiential version of the ad in the store. The children out shopping with their parents were captivated, almost as much as the parents were!

premier innPremier Inn | We travelled to Staffordshire to see family and found the most convenient hotel was the Premier Inn. Given the low price I set my expectations low. But that was unnecessary, it was just fine. The most impressive proposition was a ‘silent please’ family ground floor. As a family we were put on this floor and asked to ‘Shhhhh’ between 7pm and 10am. Having stayed in hotels when our children were babies and been woken by guests not unreasonably chatting in the corridors at not unreasonable times, this idea is helpful when settling children for the night.

But it was the lovely touch of an extra spy hole for children on the door which I felt added fun to the experience. It was something for the kids which proved a great novelty.

A great and relatively low cost addition to reinforce the ‘family floor’ proposition.

These brands have created a positive association (which could lead to incremental spend) with me their customer. The John Lewis example demonstrating how to optimise the value of your traditional TV advertising, and Premier Inn highlighting how a well thought through integrated proposition works.

It would be good to think all brands are pushing forward in this way. But I have also written a blog on ‘My Christmas 2013 Customer Experience Turkeys’ suggesting some have quite a way to go!

We collect customer experience examples. If you’ve come across any which have amazed or impressed you, please forward them to me at christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com. We will periodically post and link them to you and your company.

Posted by Christopher Brooks

Lexden is a Customer Strategy Agency | We put customers at the start and the heart of marketing strategy

We work with brands to attract and retain happy customers | We achieve this by helping them to understand what makes their customers tick, building memorable customer experience strategies and creating engaging customer value propositions.

If you like what you’ve read sign-up to our free monthly ‘Putting Customers First’ newsletter. Or for a discussion on how we may be able to help you, contact christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com or call us on  M: +44 (0) 7968 316548You can also follow us on LinkedIn Facebook and Twitter @consultingchris

It’s official, giving at Christmas is still more rewarding than receiving

Last week I attended the DMA Awards at Old Billingsgate market. I was there as a guest of the DMA and a presenter of one of the awards categories. But more than any awards I’ve attended in the past I felt like the winner on the night. I’ll explain why…

Let me be the judge of that

I’d been asked a few months before to chair the judging for one of the sector categories; financial services. Having worked with over 30 financial brands across Europe, I don’t mind admitting I was flattered. A harmless nod of acknowledgment of my twenty years working in marketing (1), much of that in financial services and some previous judging experience. Following a precise and diligent briefing from the appointed invigilator, along with my fellow judges we settled in to review nearly 30 entries. And under the organised conditions and precise nature of the task I felt 100% in control (2); a rarity in today’s often frantic and demanding marketing environment.

IMG_5602[1]The best of the best 

As we poured through the nominations measuring them equally for strategy, creative and results excellence, it dawned on me why the next 3-4 hours would be a special half day in the working calendar. I would be reading and enjoying what the marketing industry’s finest (FS Finest rather than Tesco Finest) had to offer (3). As I read each entry I was captured by the various magic moments the teams must have been through; the client intention, the creative craft, the planners deliberation, the production finesse, the analysts analysis – all working toward this moment. A moment that now I was enjoying the magic of. The entries were of a high calibre; such is the attraction of the dmas. And when I left The Cumberland (above) for the category judging and then the Lateral Group following the Gala Prize judging, with Wayne Hemingway residing this year, it reaffirmed my belief that there are some brilliant people and ideas in our industry (4).

The gospel according to Stephen

IMG_6066[1]On the night of the awards the compere was Stephen Mangan. I’d seen Stephen run his corporate patter past the Loyalty Awards crowd a few months earlier, so I felt a little short changed at first. But then I recalled that at the Loyalty awards I’d spent much of the time listening to my fellow table guest talk about a new opportunity or something (I forget to be honest) and being a bit too accommodating to say ‘shhhh’, I half listened and nodded politely – which meant I didn’t fully hear Mr Mangan.  So this second chance allowed me to this time give it my full attention. And I am grateful I did. It was very witty and a well polished performance. Stephen proved if you can get your message (and pitch) perfect, you can re-use it again to great effect (5) – as Mr Mangan, delivered with as much conviction and energy as he did the previous time. It proved if you can connect with an audience on an engaging topic such as  ‘savour the moment when you win, it may not come along too often’, you can connect with the emotions of the people on the room rather than their egos (6). I’ll hold back on the content as it really is worth seeing Mr Mangan at work.

All present and correct

IMG_6087[1]When the awards ceremony began and the winners started to arrive  on stage to collect their gongs, I could sense their excitement and appreciate what that meant from afar, having recently read through the entries. And when it was my turn on stage to present an award, I ensured I’d learnt my ‘walk on’ drill to perfection; a new experience quickly conquered (7). I walked on the stage to a small cheer (#unexpected – but it was the 3rd to last award so maybe spirits were a little high). When the winners of Best User Experience came forward I was beaming with a sort of undefined pride for the winning team from LIDA (one agency I haven’t worked with before). I realised that I’d earned my place on the stage, like they had. Winning awards in the past certainly was enjoyable, but not nearly as rewarding as giving one (8).

And the winners is…..me (on the right)

In my opinion, from this encounter I gained as much as anyone else:

1) Recognition of experience

2) Stay in control of the outcome

3) Be surrounded by the best

4) Have Profession pride

5) Recognise the power of a good story

6) Remember emotional engagement is a powerful force

7) Instant learning occurs at age

8) Seeing others succeed is most important

If I can apply the above on any given day in the office, it’s a great day. I very much enjoyed my latest judging expedition, and for the reasons of receiving inner fulfillment explained I hope I get to give again and again. If you get the opportunity, put everything you’ve got into it and see what you get in return.

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 please contact christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com  or call us on T: +44 (0) 7968 316548. And you can follow us on LinkedIn Facebook and Twitter @consultingchris 

Who we work with…

clients mar 2013

Best of ‘A Marketers Diary’ (December 2011)

Each day I capture an image of a piece of MarComms which has impressed me and stayed with me. With so many advertising messages out there, this might seem an easy thing to do. But unless comms ‘connect’ with consumers in their lives with messages relevant to their immediate or more long term motivations, you’d be surprised how many don’t stick. And as someone who has been involved from directing business strategy through to executing TV ads, it’s helped me understand further how to construct ads which make a lasting impact.

These monthly blogs contain three of the marcomms from my monthly diary which have made it to the final podium. There was some great stuff about, seasonal and otherwise. But, with Christmas in the month, it became clear to me from my consumption habits that from 24th to 28th December (when I came to London for a day out with my family) branded ads were not reaching me. The TV’s off, newspapers not read, no websites searched or emails scanned. In fact, beyond Fisher Price and Lego, not much did get through.

Below, is what did connect with me together with explanations why. Congrats to National Express East Anglia and Virgin Airlines.

BEST SEASONAL GREETING – Friday 16th December 

This is a service message about alterations to National Express East Anglia line over Christmas. It didn’t need any festive cheer, but some art worker has popped a little hat and some holly on the text. And what does it do? It puts a smile on your face. It doesn’t take much to turn a very flat flyer into an upbeat production. I’d go as far to say, and I am sure this wasn’t the master plan intention, it softens or even masks, the news about disruption. Christmas has a magical effect on all of us.

 BEST MEDIA PLACEMENT – Wed 28th December

We visited the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. And we also went to Zippo’s circus. It was great. Our 5 year old was in tears of laughter at the clowns, our one year old tapped along to the music and we were amazed by the contortionist and the high wire act. The big top and the unique signage created a strong brand message which rockets across the sky. And yet, when you look at the sign on the right you see a lead message ‘it’s warm inside’ – could that be the world’s biggest undersell? Or just a smart way to sell a few last minute seats motivating a different audience driver; survival in cold climates! Either way it got me chuckling, and that was enough (simple as I am) for me. Also I love the shape of the wording and the font of Zippo – so circus.

BEST PROMOTION – Wednesday 14th December 

Pret getting in on the festive cheer in a way much more impactful than a 50% off voucher and more immediate than a free ticket to Legoland.  saying merry Christmas with a simple satsuma; a traditional ‘luxury’ stocking gift. Not only did it feel nostalgic, but it felt personal too because every gift is individual.  Brilliant. I enjoyed mine and will think of Pret whenever I eat another. They’ve also moved up my preferred list of coffee shops too. So a sweet gesture could have a massive commercial advantage over time. And the sweet gesture also came with a 25p charitable donation from Pret to help the homeless over Christmas.

Posted by Christopher Brooks http://www.twitter.com/@consultingchris

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.