Brand Elements and How To Manage Them

Posted on September 27, 2012 by David RichComments

For retail chains, brand is everything. By everything, I mean the very success or failure of the operation. In the harsh world of consumerism, perception is reality and if your prospective customers have anything but a positive perception, the business will begin to slide and ultimately, fail.

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Topics: Brand Experience

Customer Experience Programs Rule The Day

Posted on September 21, 2012 by David RichComments

The customer is always right. Right?

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Topics: Customer Experience

Online and Offline Marketing: Which Is Better?

Posted on September 19, 2012 by David RichComments

ICC/Decision Services has long used customer intercepts to gather intelligence for retail operations. By getting real customer feedback, retailers are able to polish their operation and make nice advances in both customer satisfaction and profitability.

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Topics: Customer Intercepts

Back-To-School Study: Shopping In-Store Is Cheaper And More Convenient Than Shopping Online

Posted on August 14, 2012 by David RichComments

In test of online vs. in-store experience by STELLAService and ICC/Decision Services, back-to-school customers saved $21 in-store. Office Depot surpassed competition both online and off

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Topics: Blog, News

Your Brand Promise

Posted on May 16, 2012 by David RichComments

We've used the term "brand promise" a lot throughout our blog here at ICC/Decision Services and thought it about time we define what we mean by it. While not a complicated concept, it can get muddied up a bit without a clear focus. That clear focus is what will keep your mystery shopping program on track.

A brand promise is: "This is what we will deliver to you." Pretty simple, right?

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

Why Disney Does Not Need Mystery Shopping ... But You Do

Posted on April 23, 2012 by David RichComments

Disney parks do not need to be mystery shopped.

We know when Snow White's skirt is the wrong shade of yellow or when the blush in her cheeks is not quite right. We know when her smile is slightly off or her hands are not quite moving at the right speed.

This is not an accident. This is a result of a carefully managed brand where Disney has articulated clear expectations to their employees who are then charged to communicate them to its customers.

We know when the brand promise of "A Disney Experience" is being upheld or broken by the characters in the park. We know if the fireworks over the Magic Castle did not look quite right this evening.

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

Making NO delicious. Topping Dominos

Posted on April 13, 2012 by David RichComments

You can't have extra cheese, substitute or remove toppings or ask for thicker crust on Dominos Artisan pizzas. They won't do it.

That is part of a Dominos pizza with boundaries strategy on their four artisan pizzas.

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Topics: Brand Experience

Lululemon - "It can't be that simple."

Posted on March 27, 2012 by David RichComments

In an age when most retailers are spending their time gathering large amount of data on their customers through surveys, social media and just plain begging to leave feedback, Lululemon Athletica Inc is taking a polar opposite approach to listening to their customers.

They are literally listening to their customers, doing things like placing the folding tables close to the fitting rooms to be able to hear complaints first-hand and in real-time.

Lululemon is an apparel chain that sells high-end yoga and athletic wear. They have created a rabid fan base for their product by creating scarcity with their product. They also have an obsessive "Big data gives you a false sense of security," says Ms. Day.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Meijer And The Donut Honor System

Posted on March 16, 2012 by David RichComments

I visited a Meijer store in Michigan on my latest trip to their HQ this week. The deliberate absence of anything high tech -- no iPhone app, no QR Codes -- is what struck me the most.

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

Defining The Boundaries Of a Narrow Space

Posted on March 9, 2012 by David RichComments

When you only have a narrow entry way into your shop, managing traffic can be a nightmare; unless you set some boundaries. Where many shops put up signs that say "Line forms here" or "Order Here/Pay Here," Joe the Art of Coffee in NYC has solved the problem in a more creative yet demonstativiely forceful way.

They put footprints on the floor that show you exactly how to dance.

Think Arthur Murray Dance Studios or those old '70s dance kits that showed you how to do The Hustle. Put this foot there, the other foot here; you're dancing like a pro!

Or in this case, standing in the right line for coffee.

Joe's solved a problem every coffee shop counter has -- managing the line. They've freed up their employees and customers from having to referee the line.

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Topics: Brand Experience

Building Stuff Is In Our DNA

Posted on February 29, 2012 by David RichComments

Joe with 718 Cyclery knows that the need to build is hard-wired into the DNA of the human animal. What he also knows is that when confronted with a nebulous goal of "just build something," most people will never get on with it.

The need to build requires direction. The need to build requires boundaries to be constructive.

Joe creates those boundaries with bicycles in much the same way bumpers guide a bowling ball down the alley for a new bowler.

"This whole business is built around building bikes with people," he states early in his company video.

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Topics: Brand Experience

Shared Vision. It's In Our DNA

Posted on February 15, 2012 by David RichComments

Google describes their doodles as "the fun, surprising and sometimes spontaneous changes that are made to the Google logo to celebrate holidays, anniversaries and the lives of famous artists, pioneers and scientists."

In 2000, Google produced its first doodle for Bastille Day. It was so well received by our users that doodles started showing up more and more regularly on the Google homepage. In the beginning, the doodles mostly celebrated familiar holidays; nowadays, they highlight a wide array of events and anniversaries from the Birthday of John James Audubon to the Ice Cream Sundae.

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Topics: Brand Experience

JC Penney Roots

Posted on February 6, 2012 by David RichComments

On Feb 1st, JC Penney unveiled its new pricing strategy and service policies called Fair and Square. JC Penney describes it as three kinds of pricing, one happy return policy. It got our attention for a couple reasons.

Simplicity of message: The three kinds of pricing are everyday low pricing, month-long values and best prices. The "best prices" will happen on the 1st and 3rd fridays of every month.

Leadership change: Ron Johnson used to be the Senior VP of Retail for Apple and is now the CEO of JC Penney. He helped shape the Apple Store concept and Genius Bar.

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Topics: Brand Experience

Expanding Your Footprint Without Adding Footage

Posted on January 26, 2012 by David RichComments

Speed Theory is not your ordinary bike shop.

Besides selling some sweet Cervelo, Felts and Argon bicycles for your next Ironman, it is also a place where anyone can get a great bike to compete in the local mini triathlon or just to cruise on some backroads.

Speed Theory makes great use of its real estate, even when the shop is closed. When I arrived at 5:30 am, the temperature was –22° F and I watched people trickle in -- carrying their bicycles and trainer apparatus -- until there were about twenty of us in all. They were all coming for spin class, but this was not like the spin class you did at the gym last week.

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Topics: Brand Experience

Kelly Swallow Knows Who She Is

Posted on January 6, 2012 by David RichComments

Watch this video. It is very short (7 seconds.) And that's kinda the point I'm about to make.

Kelly Swallow makes chairs that make people smile.

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Topics: Brand Experience

Customer Experience Update