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the future is from… Volvo July 23, 2012

Posted by nicholas gill in automotive, brand experience, innovation, volvo.
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Volvo has changed. No longer just a brick to protect your family. Today, their cars look pretty cool. But today is yesterday in automotive terms so Volvo, like all manufacturers are looking to the future. But where most manufacturers jealously guard their knowledge stocks, the Swedes are opening theirs up. Well, I’m sure these are just a few of the full range of R&D projects underway but it’s a smart move to open up the idea process. Simple website layout and navigation and simple, easy to understand projects. I really like this and the mix of what’s happening today and a glimpse of what’s coming tomorrow.

at work – behind the scenes June 15, 2012

Posted by nicholas gill in brand experience, Doner, pinterest, social media, social networks.
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Pinterest. The next big shiny object and must have in every presentation you give. And like I always say, you’ve got to try these things. So, I have. And have been for some time. But my own collection was a bit, er, well, a bit too me. So I decided to do a bit of behind the scenes at work. Not least because I seem to have collected a few images but people seem to like to know what goes on behind closed doors. So here’s a flavour of life behind the scenes at Doner.

now that’s customer service April 10, 2012

Posted by nicholas gill in brand experience, customer services, Fill & Tell.
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You know how difficult finding presents for your mum is, right? Fortunately my wife is signed up to a whole heap of cool baby sites that provide a lof of inspiration. On one of these sites we found Fill & Tell – a really delightful book for the grandparent to fill in for their grandchildren. It lets the grandparent tell them all about their lives in a really stylish and funky looking book. Most of the other books we had come across were a bit stuffy and formal. This looked really cool. Unsurprising considering it comes from a Scandinavian company.

So we plumped for it and decided to get it. But the online ordering form wouldn’t work. It just went to a blank page. Sometimes I do get issues with Safari on a Mac but this hasn’t happened for a while. Normally you’d move on and get it from Amazon or somewhere but they were out of stock. So we sent the customer service team an email. At 9.30pm on Wednesday night.

Within 10 minutes we had a response. And a real one, from a real person. Not just a “thanks for your message and we’ll get back to you”. But an incredibly helpful email from Katrine who informed me that no, my credit card hadn’t been billed, they’d checked the site and all should be ok and would I mind trying again. So I did. Same problem. And sent another email. Again, Katrine responded really quickly offering to mail out the item first class and invoice us. And this is all happening late (ish) at night and Sweden is an hour ahead too. The package arrived Saturday. A great product (my mum loved it) and really brilliant customer service when auto-response or no response is often the default.

there are two b’s in digital December 5, 2011

Posted by nicholas gill in brand experience, digital, Technology Digital.
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Digital Media is incomplete without the two B’s – Bravery and Budget. Latest article by me in Technology Digital.

 

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social media boredom November 21, 2011

Posted by nicholas gill in brand experience, social media.
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Brands today need to deviate from the conventional Social Media marketing path if they want to keep the consumers interested. Article by me in Technology Digital.

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headphones made for mac November 18, 2011

Posted by nicholas gill in a-Jays Four, brand experience, headhone, ipad, iphone, ipod, Jays, mobile, product review.
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The kind folk at Jays sent me some of their new a-Jays Four headphones made especially for iPhone, IPod and iPad mac stuff to try out. Which is incredibly timely as I have always hated the headphones that come with iPhones. They have poor sound, get tied in knots at the earliest opportunity and hurt your ears after more than half an hour of use.

The first major challenge with the Jays headphone are to actually get in the box. It’s like the Krypton Factor and I broke two pens getting into it. Not mine, Nick’s, who I share a desk with. Don’t tell him. Once in, the immediate thing you notice is that the wires are not wires at all. They’re more like ribbon which is designed to be pretty much tangle free. And after using them, stuffing them in my bag and pockets this week they haven’t tangled once. Hurrah. The sound quality is excellent. I have a pair of the big headphones at work, Panasonic ones, and the quality is on a par. But the Panasonic ones cost three times as much. Pretty impressive. The design deliberately follows the nuances of the iPhone 4 so Apple-ites will be familiar with it and the buttons work as you’d expect.

The second major challenge is the ear buds. This may be just me as I seem to struggle with keeping any in-ear elements actually in my ear. They slide out. A lot. Which is annoying as you can imagine. I need to play some more with the various size options which come with the pack but it’s pretty fiddly. I’m sure I’ll get there. I wish I had the black version though.

Jays developing a product especially for the iPhone is a smart idea. In their home market, nine out of ten phones sold are smartphones that always include free internet usage, so listening to music and watching video clips on phones is completely taken for granted. Having high-quality earphones that dramatically improve the listening and browsing experience for customers is now a necessity.

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we fear change November 16, 2011

Posted by nicholas gill in advertising, brand experience, digital, integration, marketing, social brand, social business, social media, technology, Technology Digital.
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Change is the only constant factor in life and in the world of Technology; the businesses which realize this sooner, can only gain from it. Article by me in Technology Digital.

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brands need to take the risk while embracing technology November 14, 2011

Posted by nicholas gill in advertising, analytics, brand experience, data, digital, integration, mobile, Technology Digital.
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Article in Technology Digital by me on why brands need to blend with other channels of interaction to create a bigger impact among their audiences.

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digital waste November 11, 2011

Posted by nicholas gill in brand experience, social brand, social media.
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61% of UK consumers don’t want to engage with brands in social media. “Start the car!” as Bumble might say.

It’s inevitable really if brands just leap in to the social space and add nothing but beigeness. Most people don’t want a conversation with your brand. Less still a constant broadcast of why your brand is so great. Most were probably initially attracted by an offer or competition. But got bored by the poor content spewed out daily with little thought and little interaction when their audience have a question or a problem; missing the holy grail of social which is real-time engagement and adding value. I prattle on about this in this video (from c 2min 50) from the talk I gave at a recent Knowledge Peers event. It’s common sense really. How can your brand intervene helpfully in the daily lives of your audience? Switch your thinking from inside-out to outside-in. Think about that before you jump onto the next big shiny object.

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no thank you to your thank yous November 4, 2011

Posted by nicholas gill in brand experience, direct mail, EDF, utility.
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Utility prices have gone up silly amounts recently. Again. Utility profits have also gone up silly amounts recently. Again. So what we really need is an expensive DM pack with a specially commissioned London 2012 pin badge to celebrate to make us feel better about this. And the chance to win lots of other prizes just by being a customer. Because “Everyone’s a winner with EDF Energy Thank yous.”

No thank you to your thank yous. Please just give me lower costs and simpler tariffs. Don’t rip me off. That would make me a winner.  Yes, you make profits but not at the expense of your customers. That makes me lose and you win. I’ve been lazy at switching utility providers until this arrived. The art of business is understanding your target market. This shows a total lack of understanding in tough economic conditions.

No thank you. I’m switching.

I recently switched from Direct Line for an insurance product saving over £180 in the process. They matched this when I called to cancel and advised that my “loyalty bonus isn’t applied on the renewal letter, only when you call.” So you’d quite happily take my £180 as your own loyalty bonus? Why not apply it at renewal? I would have stayed. An odd loyalty strategy.

I am in the process of switching from BT too. The chap on the line was very insistent I wouldn’t be getting a better deal. “It’s your choice, Sir.” repeated 12 times. I counted.  Yes, it is. Stop blathering on and give me my MAC code.

Surely the best retention strategy in these times is to give economic value back to the consumer? We have the data capability. We just don’t seem to have the will.

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