Once there was a code on a movie ad. It was lonely. Not accompanied by any sort of identifiable information. No instructions. No call-to-action. No expectation-setting. Not to mention, eye-level with a bug. Just the code. A hidden, lonely code. (Can you find it?)
Then, there was another code on a movie ad. This one not hidden at all. Right in front of your face (waist, really), saying, “hey look at me, guess what you can do here!” This code was not lonely. It was surrounded by all sorts of friendly information. Instructions. Call-to-action. Expectations of special offers. All, with its different colors and fancy style.
These two codes teach us an important and elementary lesson in context.
Codes like this are intended for interaction. If interaction is your game, you must be clear and prominent to have any chance of meeting the intention. It’s this intention that must be present in the context of whatever you’re trying to drive interaction around. In this case, a code. But what about touch screens? Or check-ins? Or short codes?
There are interactive whoosits and whatsits popping up all around us – on the places and things that we encounter every day. Soon, even all those physical screens outside of our homes and offices will be interactive, too. To have any chance at driving interaction, proper context must have a presence. Without it, assumptions are made. And assumptions, as far as emerging technology goes, will lead the way of the lonely code.
Chris Borek from Target – “Bull’s-eye! Keeping your eye on the Target – Successful Strategies of Customer Engagement Technologies”
Key ingredients for the theme of this show – Engagement & Technology
Engagement is all about emotion – want to spark something that enables the consumer to “feel” – favorable attention
Experience is a little bit different – it’s a touchpoint, not a feeling, but the “type” of experience (good or bad) dictates what kind of emotion (engagement) will be felt
Target looks at Engagement as – “Helping our guests find things, learn about things, and ultimately buy things.”
Strategies for How Target Engages Guests:
Consider the environment – physical space
Challenge assumptions + Evolve
Go Where “She” (target audience) is…but don’t stalk her. Mobile – enable shopping anywhere, anytime – they call mobile a “bring your own kiosk.” Doing lots of things w/ mobile including coupons and an app. Simplicity, functionality, utility are the keys to mobile success. (Good!) Social – She’s there, they’re there. He talked about some of their learnings in the social space – same ol’, same ol’ – it’s an ongoing/never-ending conversation
Listen & Learn – What does your audience want? “Video Game Learning Center” – answers some of the needs from their target audience (I just wonder how much “she” is using this??) Her needs are all about easy and fun. Is she intimidated by these touch screens?
Wow ‘em – 8.18.10 – held a Kaleidosopic Fashion Spectactular. Looks very cool – used the side of a building to showcase models/new fashion line – made a big spectacle out of it in NYC. Target gave away some branded binoculars – nice event. Check it out:
Let her drive – Consumers are becoming more and more empowered to have personal experiences – IMO and I’ve talked often about this – this is going to be a conscious expectation of the consumer before too long. My Merona – can piece together a fashion look/outfit that she might like (on FB page) My Target Weekly – piece together your own circular based on the regular, weekly Target circular (on FB page) – can filter deals you want and then the coupons. And it keeps a history so it grows over time.
Leverage that media!
Collaborate + Stay true to your core
Nut – Target understands their target (couldn’t help that one) audience and their story. These 2 key components enable them to tell their story across multiple platforms in a compelling way. They are really pushing the limits in trying to understand all of the channels in today’s landscape and to their credit, using them, even if it’s experimentation.
A smile. That’s the emotion that Coke brings me. Sure, some of it is the sugar rush, but a lot more of it is how they create brand experiences. I saw another example this weekend of how they (re)create the experience of simply getting a drink. Introducing Coca Cola Freestyle – the (interactive touch) machine that brings you 106 flavors with the simple touch of a button.
This is a game changer. Think of how many self-serve beverage dispensers you’ve used. At the most, you’ve got ~10 options, and they’re typically options in drinks, not flavors. Here, this kiosk serves all Coke products and their flavors – a total of 106 different options.
The interface is simple – pick your product, then your flavor, then fill ‘er up. I overheard one of the movie theatre employees talking to a customer:
Employee: Cool, huh?
Customer (looks amazed while filling his cup): Yeah, it’s awesome.
Employee: We just got those in and everyone thinks they’re great.
Customer: Makes getting drinks fun.
Employee: I know, it’s pretty cool.
So, there you go. Coke has now made filling up your drink at the movie theatre fun. This will, no doubt, be something that we see in every movie theatre, restaurant, and convenience store in the future.
Gotta hand it to brands like Coke. They see an opportunity to utilize technology outside of the home to fulfill a simple task (utility) and make a meaningful brand experience out of it. And they capitalize on it.
Before FH, I worked with a start-up company called Table Top Media as a consultant, of sorts. I was never employed by them, but I had the privilege of working closely with their senior leadership for a few months. Last week, I heard some great news that should help put them on the map and hopefully, get their product in front of people sooner rather than later.
First, just a bit about the company and the product – Table Top Media is a company based here in Dallas that was started by a restaurateur, Jack Baum. They developed a product called the “Ziosk” that was designed to facilitate a more convenient check-out process for patrons in casual dining restaurants. This Ziosk is a small, wireless touchscreen kiosk that sits on each table in the dining room and allows patrons to access their receipt and pay via credit/debit card right there at the table. It’s a smart concept. How many times have you waited at a restaurant for your server to come and swipe your card at the end of your meal? As a father of 3 little ones, when our meal is over, it’s time to leave. Often times, though, we’re held hostage by the restaurant because the server is too busy to get us our check and pay us out IMMEDIATELY after we’ve finished our meal. Ziosk takes that waiting out of the mix.
But the Ziosk goes way beyond this specific utility. The platform, itself, (TTM designs and produces the hardware and software) is flexible enough to be turned into a straight-up utility machine, integrating with the restaurant’s POS, complete with interactive menus, ordering capabilities, timed drink/food requests (based on the original order), and loyalty program tie-ins. Or it can be turned into a more experience-type machine, complete with up-to-date news feeds, sports scores, interactive games and entertainment (especially for kids my little ones’ ages, this feature infinitely improves our dining experience), and social features, be it geo-location integration, Facebook and Twitter feeds, or even cross-store, cross-region gaming and communication. Not to mention unique advertising opportunities, both for the restaurant and other 3rd party advertisers/brands. It’s a very cool product – check it out:
The major barrier they face is obviously an operational one – these casual dining restaurants are being forced to think about their workflow differently and opening up more of a gateway to their infrastructure. It also has server (waiter) implications being that this machine can do many of their functions. Ironically, it can free them (and the restaurant for that matter) up to do what they need to, like make sure food is good and drinks are filled.
Anyway….the good news – this year, PepsiCo launched a program for start-ups called PepsiCo10, a “incubator program that matches technology, media and communications entrepreneurs with PepsiCo brands for pilot programs” – and last week, announced that Table Top Media was one of the 10 chosen start-ups for the program! This is, no doubt, huge for them. They’ve worked long and hard to get traction and this should give them a platform to show the power and potential of their product.
This is a true IOOH solution and really, a device that makes sense. I’ve seen (and reviewed here) many that don’t, but the Ziosk serves a useful purpose and can add to the dining experience. This is something that I would interact with myself and tell other people about. It deserves a chance and now, thanks to all their hard work and perseverance, they might just be getting the “big one” through this program.
Disclaimer – TTM did not ask me to write this and I am not getting paid to do so. I am writing this because I believe in their product and I’m always happy to hear and spread good news.