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This Week In CX: Mylk Tries to Be Funny, Masks Get a High-Tech Upgrade & More

Recently, a couple people have asked us what customer experience encompasses and why we select the stories we do for This Week in CX… afterall, they really run the gamut! From news about advertising campaigns to product development, rebrands, research, and algorithm updates, they speak to every sector of a company’s business and growth milestones. But the reason for that is quite simple: Every single interaction and/or touchpoint a potential or existing consumer or client has with your brand factors into your overall customer experience. The quality of the experience – whether it’s friction-less and purpose-driven, or full of frustrating, confusing, or triggering moments – continuously informs and evolves a customer’s perspective and affinity for your brand.

 

And the minute details – the words and images used in the messaging, the colors chosen for design, the tools used to deliver customization and personalization, the ease of navigation and product design, the foresights into changing consumer behaviors and expectations, the optimization that enables discovery and education – it all impacts a customer or consumer group’s experience with you. Like we always say, #ExperienceIsEverything.

 

Extreme care and intention must be carved into every business decision made, whether it obviously impacts the external customer, or not (because hint: employees are the drivers of experience and if they’re not happy, we bet you’ll notice a trickle-down effect). Cross-functional alignment on values, purpose, mission, voice, and personality is essential to providing consistent experiences that build rapport, dependability, and advocacy.

 

Also read: How to Craft Employee Experiences That Improve Customer Experiences

 

Hopefully, with that explanation, we’ve made our why behind the stories we choose a little easier to understand (if you’re still confused, we’d love to continue the conversation! Send us a DM here, here, or here). So, without further ado, here are the biggest product, marketing, and research developments that occurred this past week and will most certainly inform how we design and deliver the customer experiences of tomorrow.

The quality of the experience – whether it’s friction-less and purpose-driven, or full of frustrating, confusing, or triggering moments – continuously informs and evolves a customer’s perspective and affinity for your brand.

One Milk Alternative Brand Took Transparency to an Udderly Risky Level (Or Did They?)

 

Companies by and large have had to get creative with their marketing efforts as work-from-home and social distancing mandates have continued as our new normal. For example:

 

Apple released a commercial that showcases a slideshow of photos and videos – safe to guess all shot on iPhones – with the message, “Creativity goes on.” While simple, it does the job. Some of us may or may not have felt a little choked up.

Women’s Aid – a UK-based organization that provides live-saving services to those impacted by domestic abuse – took to the streets to capture footage of empty sidewalks, parks, stripmalls and sqaures. In between the commercial’s montage, simple white letters appear on a black screen that read, “Domestic abusers are no longer walking among us. They’re locked inside with their families.” A sobering reminder and plea to donate to help women and children in our communities whose homes are anything but safe.

Coors Light turned one Grandma’s tweet into a massive social campaign (and free beer spree) that ultimately raised brand awareness and customer sentiment. After 93-year old Olive Veronesi posted a photo with a beer can in one hand and a sign in the other that read, “I need more beer!”, Coors was quick to jump into action.

Grandma holding Coors Light and I Need More Beer sign

They delivered 10 cases to Olive’s doorstep (to which she posted another picture with an updated sign, “Got More Beer!”) and started a Twitter giveaway – one that resulted in dropping off a whopping 500,000 beers to people’s doorsteps – with the #CouldUseABeer hashtag.

Twitter #CouldUseABeer tweet

So, with creative ad campaigns piling up, what’s a new brand – who can’t supply samples in grocery stores to potential consumers but wants to make a splash in the marketplace – to do? Lean in, take risks, and follow the lead of the unconventional.

 

Milkadamia, a new nut-based milk alternative brand, introduced itself with a little transparency and light-heartedness. Afterall, we’ve all had a very serious year. They recruited seven Chicago-based comedians and sent them boxes of unidentified food items. The comedians (read: not scripted actors) were told to unbox the items and try them. On-camera. That’s it.

 

They called it the “Just One Taste LIVE campaign” and, while they aimed for authentic reviews of their products – ”I won’t say I wasn’t anxious,” CMO Christina Downey said – they also did some good by paying out-of-work improv actors to sit in their PJs and drink Milkadamia’s new macadamia nut milk. Although, just to be clear, none of them were actually wearing PJs. They look quite presentable in the final video. Which, come on, making the rest of us sitting in three-day old sweat pants look bad.

The campaign’s goal was to open people’s minds up to the possibility of plant-based milks, and while they may have achieved that, some Tallwave experts felt the campaign fell a little flat.

 

“The idea is good… But to be totally honest, the video feels kind of forced,” reviews our Manager of Content Strategy Holly Ringerud. “I know they said it was unscripted, but it’s obviously edited and everyone is well-lit. It’s just not as high concept or entertaining as I think it could have been.”

 

She finished: “But it’s an interesting update on the ol’ taste test!”

 

So, there’s that.

 

Our Director of Operations Kailen Campbell also loved the idea but was left wanting more. The biggest problem? It didn’t stay true to the campaign’s name and promise.

 

“The video campaign says it was ‘recorded for subsequent public distribution,’ right? So, this was not truly a live event – despite being called ‘Just One Taste LIVE’ – where people like me could join the Zoom and watch the big names taste everything in real-time,” Kailen pointed out. “Believability matters a whole lot with things like this.”

 

She did have some kudos to give.

 

“Creative? Totally! Unique? Yep. Good for them for giving us all something a little different.”

 

But it was actually another Milkadamia video that sparked greater interest in the brand and product for Kailen.

 

“I actually really enjoyed the educational promotional video more. I don’t know much about milk alternatives. I drink cow’s milk! So, the educational information made more of a lasting impression on me.”

 

It seems unanimous. A for creativity. A for taste. C for execution. Sorry, we can nut lie.

Facial Masks Get a High-Tech Makeover

Bonatone, a British electronics firm, recently released a high-tech, protective face mask that solves a pain point all mask-wearers have encountered at least once. With earbuds and a microphone built-in, Maskfone gives multitaskers the power to stay safe while continuing conversations – or listening to music, podcasts, etc. – while on the go. As CreativeBloq [https://www.creativebloq.com/news/maskfone-ultimate-face-mask] put it, “Anyone who has tried removing a mask with music plugged in will know it’s a recipe for lost earbuds, while trying to speak on the phone through a mask is a recipe for a sore throat.”

Simply put: Bronatone developed a product with hopes of changing the experience humans have with their protective masks, whether on a jog, at the grocery store, or taking a professional call while chasing a kid around Target.

 

But the real question of the hour: How has the pandemic changed people’s perceptions of crowds, germs, and distancing, and will newly-acquired safety-precautions – like wearing masks – continue once the threat of COVID-19 has passed?

 

“I think people will be more mindful about cleanliness – continuing to use hand sanitizers and wipes – while in public places and crowds. Companies may continue to offer sanitizing products to the public. I also foresee virtual experiences, such as Telehealth and contactless options continuing,” says Jenny Alexander, Product Designer at Tallwave. “But I definitely don’t see the use of masks persisting once the pandemic is resolved. There is already a lot of resistance to wearing them. Potentially a few extra cautious people may prefer wearing masks, but I only see the trend lasting for a short period in the post-pandemic world.”

Well, hopefully for Bronatone’s sake, the mask – which is made with four filter layers, washable and water-resistant fabric, comes with a variety of ear hook sizes and features controls buttons on the side, along with an app that can boost the speaker’s voice – sells out before we all go back to living the unmasked life.

 

Also read: How to Brainstorm For Innovation 

 

Speaking of COVID-inspired items… Has anyone created the bottomless toilet roll yet? Now, that’s a life-changing invention right there. 

New Survey Reveals New Charitable Donor Insights 

Data Axle released a new report titled New Best Practices to Connect With Today’s Charity Donors that highlights current behaviors, preferences, and sentiment among today’s charitable donors, particularly as they vary by age, gender, income and political affiliations.

 

Being that we work closely with a couple nonprofits and charitable organizations to improve their donor acquisition, digital footprint, and reach new (younger) audiences, we were interested.

"It all comes down to a charity’s customer experience."

Some key takeaways shared in the report include:

 

  • Preferences surrounding donation channels vary by age; 45% of donors 60+ prefer sending donations via mail; while all demographic groups between 18-60 prefer making donations by going to a nonprofit’s website unsolicited and donating online (ahem, a strong digital experience – and digital brand awareness strategy – is key).
  • Young donors (18-44) favor making monthly contributions to charities of their choice – it’s all about ease through recurring (subscription-like) models these days.
  • Omnichannel strategies and cross-channel communication is crucial. Email, direct mail, and social media were reported most important – with basically no one wanting to receive phone calls. However, and potentially most important, according to the report, donors prefer to “receive communications via one channel and donate through another, [so] synchronized cross-channel strategy is vital.”

“These findings do align with what we’ve seen through our partnerships and respective campaigns with donor-dependent nonprofit and charitable organizations,” says Tallwave Consultant Benjamin Pressman. “It all comes down to a charity’s customer experience. The starting point has to be internal alignment on what success looks like. This evaluation must rely on factoring the lifetime value of new donors into acquisition costs. In our experience, nonprofits can’t rely on each individual acquisition channel delivering a positive return, but instead need to, at a minimum, combine all acquisition and retention efforts’ costs to view the overall lifetime value return. More sophisticated evaluations can be developed to understand the influence each channel has on initial donation and retention of donors, but there needs to be an understanding that all channels contribute to the overall revenue brought in from donors.”

"In our experience, nonprofits can’t rely on each individual acquisition channel delivering a positive return."

And while cross-functional alignment and a defined roadmap for success and ROI is key, so is crafting a personalized, seamless cross-channel experience that encourages donations, as well as engagement and advocacy.

 

Also read: Optimizing paid media strategies for a 40,000% increase in leads

 

According to Benjamin (Benjie, as he’s known around the now-virtual office), there are two steps organizations should take to improve their cross-channel experience.

“The first is focusing on the current donor base and finding similar donors:

  1. Charities should analyze their current donor base and find common factors to acquire similar audiences that provide the needed long-term return in revenue
  2. Building in audience analytics to the acquisition funnel will also help charities understand where the pain points are in the prospect CX, and test and learn to alleviate those pain points
  3. Similarly, retention efforts’ pain points should be be evaluated through customer research to inform improvements in retention efforts

These efforts will provide the roadmap to acquiring new donors that align with the existing donor base. Then, charities should use 3rd party research to identify who their new donors likely are. Based on that determination, a new CX flow should be created to accommodate expectations for that audience. This could be a simple tweak of existing creative assets and site content, or a need to more broadly create new experiences.”

 

Helping nonprofits and charitable organizations expand their reach and deliver their mission to more audiences is something we’re so incredibly proud of and passionate about. We hope to use these new findings to continue that pursuit and drive more unstoppable growth, change, and impact.

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News

This Week in CX: LinkedIn Goes Shopping, Burger King Loans Its Crown & More

In this week’s installment of “This Week in CX,” we list the biggest business, tech and data developments that occurred this past week and will most certainly impact how we design and deliver the customer experiences of tomorrow.

Volvo unmasks car consumers’ new wish list

Auto-brakes are so 2019.

 

Volvo partnered with The Harris Poll to figure out what drivers really want from their cars in a post-pandemic world and discovered that the definition of their brand core value – safety – has taken on new meaning.

 

After navigating a year of viral fear and uncertainty, consumers are re-evaluating how they interact with the outside world and are finding more creative ways to have experiences from the safety of their cars. They’re attending drive-in movies, zoomin’ through zoos, going for scenic drives, throwing drive-by celebrations and enjoying some quiet time by designating vehicles their “alone zones”. Cars are no long just a means of transportation – they’ve become a place for peace and connection during COVID.

 

And as the world settles into the new normal of being more homebound and socializing from a distance, this trend won’t stop. As public transportation and ride sharing services take a hit, people will continue to explore the outside world from the protection of their cars. It’s this change that is also driving new demands for built-in safety features.

 

According to Volvo’s Safety First: The Evolution of Driving and Mobility in 2020 report, air conditioners with germ filtering technology is the number one wish on many driver’s lists, followed by car sanitation services as part of standard packages, contactless service/maintenance offerings, built-in sanitizer dispensers and a place to store masks.

 

Also read: What’s In Store For the Future of Retail in a Post-COVID World?

 

“Given all that we’ve experienced this past year, the uncertainty and the safety risks, people just don’t feel safe,” says our Head of Strategy and Innovation Jesus Ramirez. “We’re all in constant fight or flight mode. People are looking around for any way to feel safe and for any semblance of security. Brands and businesses have an opportunity to account for these concerns in their products and services. Whether it’s restaurants and the precautions they’re taking to keep patrons safe, to product packaging, to airline procedures, to auto manufacturers.”

"We’re all in constant fight or flight mode. People are looking around for any way to feel safe and for any semblance of security."

Are you asking yourself how your business can increase safety and trust felt by customers? You should be. And, by the way, we can help.

LinkedIn gives users a new way to spend money

LinkedIn is no longer just a platform where users can socialize, search, stalk, and scroll; now it’s transforming its experience from passive to active by rolling out a digital storefront.

 

By allowing companies to build Product Pages into their profiles, LinkedIn is helping brands cultivate conversations and connections with customers and followers. These Product Pages will educate users about a company’s solutions, generate new qualified leads, and ultimately contribute to overall growth. Even better, Rishi Jobanputra, the Senior Director of Product Management at LinkedIn, said the pages will help brands build “a network of people who can become advocates of products.” Marketers will be able to gather ratings and reviews, highlight product endorsements and testimonials, and drive new and existing consumers to request demos or schedule meetings with the sales team via a call-to-action button.

“While Account Based Marketing has garnered Linkedin a lot of buzz in the performance marketing space lately, I believe their latest announcement of the launch of Product pages will move Linkedin from a trendy tactic to a must have strategy for every B2B marketing plan,” predicts Tallwave Senior Strategist Brian Hambrick. “Product Pages and the in-the-works Services Pages moves Linkedin from a top- and mid-funnel media channel to a full-funnel media channel where marketers can even close the sale within the platform.”

Brian suspects that most brands will want to use the Product Pages to drive customers to their existing websites, but with an audience of 722 Million business professionals who trust the platform, thinks the customer value of that strategy will be challenged.

 

“B2B brands will need to figure out how Linkedin can play a role in their customer journey and how these Product Pages – and the actions brands can generate from them – will fit into their larger CX strategy. Either way, Linkedin is quickly becoming one of the most important media channels for B2B marketers.”

 

Hey, it’s our favorite social media platform, so we’re here for it all.

Burger King UK promotes tacos, pasta and other stuff

No, they’re not expanding their menu, they’re just extending a helping hand.

 

Back in November, Burger King UK told their 350,000 followers to eat at McDonalds as a way to encourage people to support fast food chain restaurants during the pandemic and shelter-in orders.

It must have boded well for them (it did, they received tons of media coverage and fanfare), because this past Monday they took it a step further and announced the #WhopperAndFriends campaign.

“As we head into tier three across more parts of the country, it’s clear independent restaurants need all our support,” Burger King UK said in their social media post. “So we’ve decided to give you a break from our burger pics and make our Instagram available to all restaurants. Until they reopen, they can advertise on our Instagram for free.”

 

Pretty damn cool, in fact, our Associate Creative Director Albert Barroso said it was one of the coolest things he’s seen from a big brand in a while. By simply tagging Instagram food photos with #WhopperAndFriends, smaller businesses can have their signature dishes shared with burger lovers everywhere.

 

Albert wasn’t the only Tallwaver giving Burger King kudos for this do-good campaign. Paid Media Coordinator Lauren Franklin also called it a whopper (see what I did there?).

 

“It’s no secret that the restaurant industry is hurting. Burger King using their platform to help their competitors says a lot about them as a company,” she explains. “A lot of companies wouldn’t be comfortable with openly promoting their competitors but by doing just that – elevating their competitors in such a public way – they have, in turn, elevated their own platform.”

 

Also read: How a Powerful Brand Works as Insurance

 

So, basically, by telling fans to eat somewhere else, Burger King indirectly increased their own customer advocacy and support. They reflected their values in their actions and gave their customers those warm, fuzzy feelings that drive long-term retention and loyalty. And this, folks, is why they wear the crown… well, when they’re not loaning it out.

They reflected their values in their actions and gave their customers those warm, fuzzy feelings that drive long-term retention and loyalty.

AR, AI and Voice continue to take over the world

Are you ready for the future? Because, if you didn’t notice, it’s here.

 

AllWork.Space released its marketing trend prediction for 2021 and it’s all about voice search. Based around SEMrush’s forecast that more than half of all households (55%) will own smart speakers by 2022, AllWork.Space says voice search will evolve from a nice-to-have to an absolute must-have marketing strategy in 2021.

 

When pinged about the prediction, Tallwave’s Senior Product Designer Austin Baker wanted to share his own thoughts and projections on technologies that will force companies to raise their standards and re-envision their experiences in a post-pandemic and more distanced world.

 

First up: Austin says XR – short for extended reality, XR encompasses all augmented, virtual and mixed reality technologies – is finally becoming mainstream.

 

“It’s something that’s been played with for the past decade, but is just starting to work smoothly and easily. From virtually trying clothes on to seeing how furniture would look in your home or sitting down for a telehealth appointment with your doctor, XR will definitely start driving and pushing brands to create new 360-degree customer experiences.”

 

“On that same note,” Austin says, “I think VR paired with AR will start to become more available. Many schools and companies will continue to work from home and the challenges associated with remote working and learning won’t go away. I suspect, because of this, we’ll see some AR/VR technology that was shuffled onto the back-burner resurrected. Even better, in 2021, I bet we’ll see the first good iterations of VR meeting rooms – they’ll be closer to photo realism and much less cumbersome.”

 

And, as AllWork.Space reported, we can’t overlook voice search. While Austin says voice technology continues to improve (“Alexa works great, Google works great, Siri is… OK….”), the real problem is with the user experience.

 

“Alexa is integrated into every room of so many homes. It operates the lights. It turns on the TV. But when things go wrong – it plays on the wrong speaker or plays an explicit hip-hop song instead of Hamilton – frustration ensues and everyone starts yelling at the in-home robot. It’ll get there,” Austin says, “but the challenge has more to do here with how we expect the interaction to occur. Privacy and proper AI integration are going to be the greatest driving factors for experience. We can’t have devices listening for context without trusting that our privacy is protected for, as well.”

"The challenge has more to do here with how we expect the interaction to occur."

Overall, Austin wants to see all of the technologies come together to work synergistically towards making products – and experiences – more seamless and accessible for everyone.

“For example, they can be better utilized for people with disabilities. AR/VR technologies can be used for voice or eye tracking. That’s going to be something that companies that are committed to inclusivity and creating change start to explore. That will be really exciting and is much needed.”

 

Also read: Solving For the Lack of Diversity in CX

 

What a note to end on. We can’t wait to help Austin’s predictions come true by creating exceptional experiences that are designed with everyone in mind.