7 key ideas to start working with customer experience

*This article appeared first in Puro Marketing 

Think about your work and tell me how long you will be performing it.

It is not only about you getting tired of it. It is more like: ‘Will this seriously be useful for somebody?’

When you are in your office, in front of your screen, stand up for a minute. Take a walk. What are you doing here? What is the reason you are in this job? If you got tired tomorrow and quit; who would care? Who would miss you?

Alright, sit down. Beyond this scenario, the truth is that it is very likely that most people have felt like this once before. And it’s increasing.

If being this way is uncomfortable, imagine living as a taxi driver in times of Cabify, being a journalist in times of Youtube or Facebook, or owning a cinema when everyone has Netflix. If it is not clear to you what your value is to your clients, you'd better not be complacent.

In these times, there is no worse circumstance for a company than looking around and realising that there are lots of people ‘pushing all the right buttons’ while we're not. We are not very sure about how our future in a connected world of “ultra social millenials” will look like.

The big question is: Why are so many industries so vulnerable to change? From our point of view as brand consultants, this question is relevant...

Creating a change, moving to being a user-oriented company involves a series of moves, strategic decisions and mind maps that are not easy to reach. For most companies which decide to embark on the journey, their adventure has to be much more about a reflection of what they are today more than about opening a new business opportunity. It’s about running away from being stationary and reach their intentions.

Creating a unique experience and pleasing the consumer is an interesting goal. But creating experience design for transforming the direction of the company and generating a readjustment, that is magic.

If you are at that point, these are our basic principles for an experience-orientated company’s mind map:

1.     Align the will to create new experiences with a strategic goal of the company. Better if it is aligned with the purpose of your brand. Do not limit it. Trust this fact: the first thing you will get out of this exercise will be no longer asking yourself the question, “But what are we here for?”

2.     When your company’s treasury can afford it, buy a pneumatic drill that can break your department's walls. Services design and orientating towards the creation of experiences is a job of one single team with a single target. It is not created in one department. It is generated by the sum of the company’s sensitivities.

3.     Forget all about your beliefs in what you can and cannot do. If the experience map does not expand the perspective of what your company is capable of, you were not ambitious enough.

4.     Creating a great experience is simply finding solutions, no more no less, don't overcomplicate it. The more you understand your clients need and the reasons for this need, the probabilities for success are higher. It's not possible to create a great experience if it does not provide solutions.

5.     Generic profiles in marketing do not exist. In real life there is no such clear divide of uniformed socio-demographics. In real life there is only people. If a person does not sit at the reunion table, or no one represents them, something is failing. In terms of experience, do not work for a “millennial woman of average income”. Work for Sandra.

6.     Do not limit yourself to touch-points that are totally under your control. Be brave and re-think them all. A touch-point is any place or situation in which you can help your clients. The life of the client neither starts nor ends with you.

7.     Have fun aligning with your audiences. If it is not a memorable experience for you, it will never be for them.


David del Amo.
Strategy Director - Saffron

Greenpeace on End Ocean Plastics and “brand jamming” Coke

Speaking at Monotype’s brand conference in London last week, Greenpeace Art and Editorial Co-ordinator Marcela Teran explained how “brand jamming” Coca-Cola put added pressure on the company to rethink its recycling strategy


The devastating effect of waste plastic in our oceans has been well documented. It’s estimated that 90 percent of seabirds have plastic in their stomach and the Pacific is now home to a mountain of waste roughly the size of France.

BBC series Blue Planet II helped raise awareness of the scale of the problem last year with an episode that showed birds eating plastic and dolphins whose milk had been contaminated by pollutants in the water. News and entertainment site Lad Bible also launched a campaign to have the aforementioned mountain of waste recognised as an official nation (a move that would mean world leaders would have a duty to help clear it up).


Greenpeace has also been raising awareness of the issue through its End Ocean Plastics campaign. The campaign was launched to educate people about ocean plastics and put pressure on global brands and governments to address the problem.

Creative agency Lovers worked with Greenpeace to create a visual identity for End Ocean Plastics. It also worked with the charity to create ads directly targeting Coca-Cola. The campaign identity was inspired by a visit to the Thames Estuary: Lovers collected waste bottles and plastics that had washed up on the shore and took items back to their studio, where they were hosed down and photographed.

“It’s weird looking at these things up close. It’s almost like a kind of disgusting brand soup that has all of these strange, morphed, mutated versions of the brands that we see on the high street,” said Lovers founder Alex Ostrowski, speaking at Monotype’s brand conference in London last week.


The agency decided to use images of these objects to show a much less appealing side to plastic packaging. It also created a “distressed” typeface inspired by the distorted type on battered labels. The typeface can be used at a range of sizes and contains contextual alternates (multiple versions of each letter) to ensure that every character looks unique – even if the same letter appears more than once in the same word.

As Greenpeace’s campaign materials are created in-house, Lovers put together a toolkit of colours, fonts and images for creative and editorial teams to use. The agency also created some best practice examples of press ads, posters and print communications. The campaign was rolled out in print and outdoors as well as on social media.


The next phase was to target the Coca-Cola group. For each of its campaigns, Greenpeace will identify a particular brand to lobby – “one that if we target it might [have an impact] in the whole sector,” said Teran. Greenpeace claims that Coca-Cola produces around 100 billion plastic bottles per year – making it one of the biggest producers of single-use plastic packaging in the world.

Greenpeace asked Lovers to create visual assets that would connect Coke to the issue of waste plastic: “We wanted to make the connection between this massive mess and the companies that are behind it,” said Teran. “[Plastic] is a manmade product and there are companies that are profiting from selling this stuff, so they should also be held accountable for it.”


Lovers created a parody of Coke’s logo and its famous ‘wave’ and consulted with Greenpeace’s legal team to ensure it wouldn’t be classed as an infringement of the company’s intellectual property. The parody logo was used alongside images of dead seabirds and marine life and the message “Don’t let Coke choke our oceans”. It was featured on posters as well as newspaper ads, flyers and postcards. Greenpeace also produced stickers and t-shirts using Lovers’ designs.

It’s an aggressive tactic but one that Greenpeace has used successfully in the past. In 2014, the charity released a parody video attacking Lego‘s partnership with oil company Shell. The ad prompted one million people to write to Lego asking the company to end the partnership – and Lego eventually conceded.

Teran believes this approach – which she describes as “brand jamming” – can be an effective way to make global organisations take notice of a campaign. It can be particularly effective in encouraging the public to lobby companies on Greenpeace’s behalf and brands are usually quick to respond if they think their own assets are being used against them. “The Coca-Cola brand is familiar to everyone. [The company] had just invested a huge amount of money in their logo and branding that was going to cover all of their products … so we wanted to hit them where it hurts,” she said.

“We are a small organisation – or at least small in comparison to Coca-Cola – so we know that one of the best tactics we have is to use their brand architecture, to use their logo, their brand identity and connect that to the issue they are responsible for.”

Greenpeace teams around the world created posters, stickers, sculptures and projections targeting Coke. The charity also created a parody ad in the run up to Christmas reminding people of how many plastic bottles Coke produces each year. In summer, it invited people to share images of Coke bottles they had found washed up on beaches on social media using the hashtag “#ShareaCoke”.

The campaign didn’t attract as much media attention as Greenpeace’s Lego ad – which quickly went viral – but in August, Coke released an ad stressing its commitment to using sustainable packaging. 


The ad was charming (and was created using recycled packaging) but Coca-Cola GB’s tweet about it prompted a long list of angry comments from users asking why the company wasn’t doing more to reduce the amount of plastic it produced each year. Its social media team spent the next few hours responding to criticisms and repeating the company’s commitment to making sure packaging is “as sustainable as possible”. (You can see the tweet and response to it here.) 

Since the launch of End Ocean Plastics, over half a million people have signed a Greenpeace petition calling on Coke to do something to address the issue of ocean plastics. Greenpeace says thousands more also emailed Coca-Cola’s CEO and posted on the company’s social media channels.

Coca-Cola has since announced a global initiative to collect and recycle a bottle for every bottle it sells. It has also pledged to use 50% recycled material by 2030. Greenpeace claims the strategy does not go far enough – Evian has pledged to use 100% recycled material by 2025 – but praised Coke’s pledge to use more recycled packaging.

In a statement announcing the strategy, Coca-Cola’s CEO acknowledged that plastic was “choking” our oceans – language that Teran believes originates from Greenpeace’s campaign. “I think we tapped into something visceral with that language,” she said. 

Coca-Cola’s recycling initiative was no doubt prompted by a number of factors – including a growing awareness around the world of the need to reduce our plastic consumption and not just Greenpeace’s campaign. But the charity’s “brand jamming” strategy certainly placed some added pressure on Coca-Cola.

Teran says the campaign has achieved Greenpeace’s objective of making Coca-Cola acknowledge their role in the issue and the need to do address it: “there are still some things they need to improve – but they’re in conversations with us now which is what we wanted,” she said. 

NY Times’ Overlooked site has obituaries of famous women previously ignored

NY Times’ Overlooked site has obituaries of famous women previously ignored

Launched on International Women’s Day, The New York Times has published the obituaries of 15 significant female figures who were overlooked in print at the time of their death.
By Mark Sinclair 08/03/2018

The NYT has published obituaries since its founding in 1851. Yet, by its own admission, it has neglected to include written tributes to several hugely significant female artists, writers, activists, scientists and athletes over the years.

Many of the 15 names included within the Overlooked site will be more than familiar to people. Remarkably, figures as significant as mathematician Ada Lovelace, novelist Charlotte Brontë, photographer Diane Arbus, Bollywood star Madhubala and the writer and poet, Sylvia Plath were never honoured in print.


In fact, the contemporary statistics remain startling. The newspaper’s Jessica Bennett, Gender Editor of The Times and Amisha Padnani, an Editor in Obituaries, say that of the thousands of obituaries published in the NYT’s history “the vast majority chronicled the lives of men, mostly white ones; even in the last two years, about 20% of our subjects were female.

“This series recalls the stories of those who left indelible marks but were nonetheless overlooked.”

Launched on International Women’s Day, the project is set to roll-out over the year and will expand, says the newspaper, to “include others who were overlooked, especially people of colour, with new obituaries published every week”.

The 15 obituaries published today are of reporter Ida B. Wells; feminist poet and revolutionary Qiu Jin; the creator of what may have been America’s first tennis court, Mary Ewing Outerbridge; photographer Diane Arbus; transgender pioneer and activist Marsha P. Johnson; poet Sylvia Plath; Henrietta Lacks, “whose cancer cells were taken from her body without permission. They led to a medical revolution”; Bollywood legend Madhubala; Emily Warren Roebling, “who oversaw the construction of the  after her engineer husband fell ill”; Harlem Renaissance-era writer Nella Larsen; mathematician Ada Lovelace; US Olympian Margaret Abbott; Cuban printmaker Belkis Ayón; novelist Charlotte Brontë; and Lillias Campbell Davidson, founder of the first women’s cycling organisation.

See nytimes.com

Rebranding Kalashnikov: would you?

Rebranding Kalashnikov: would you?

It’s been hailed as a design classic, and blamed for the deaths of millions. Now Kalashnikov and its parent company has announced a rebrand and an ambition to become as big as Apple. Would you help them?

By Patrick Burgoyne 03/12/2014

It’s been hailed as a design classic, and blamed for the deaths of millions. Now Kalashnikov and its parent company has announced a rebrand and an ambition to become as big as Apple. Would you help them?

At a launch event in Moscow, the Rostec State Corporation announced a name change and rebrand for its collection of firearms brands which will henceforth be known as Kalashnikov Concern (which sounds like some kind of 80s art/rock outfit). The Siberia-based manufacturer has three strands – Baikal, which produces hunting weapons and equipment, Izhmash, which makes sporting weapons and the eponymous Kalashnikov, developer of the AK-47.


The group will now be represented by a red and black, double-K device (the colours being a reference to the flag of Udmurtia where the Concern’s main factories are located) while Kalashnikov itself has a logo incorporating the weapon’s trademark curved clip. The work was carried out by Moscow-based Apostol (which was reportedly paid $380,000) and ties in with a 4.5 billion ruble expansion plan, part of which is the aim to “expand military sales to more countries”.


A chilling press release states that “Eighty percent of all of Kalashnikov output is exported. One of Concern’s priorities is finding new and increasing its share of existing markets. This approach was used to pick 50 countries that have the most potential acquiring Kalashnikov military products. Concern already started new market penetration, mainly in the Asia-Pacific and African regions. The most promising markets for Kalashnikov are India and Egypt. Contracts with Thailand and Indonesia were signed recently, and Concern is in negotiations with South American countries.”

As Russia Today reports, “The firearms producer also has a new slogan, or rather two different slogans. In English, it’s “Protecting Peace,” but in Russian it translates as “Weapons of Peace” or “Weapons of the World,” depending on which meaning of the Russian word “mir” is used.”


At the launch, Rostec CEO Sergei Chemezov reportedly told RIA Novosti, “A brand is a considerable asset for any leading company, although we have a long way to go to Apple’s $100 billion brand. I hope Kalashnikov will become as recognised and valuable.”


In 2011, the Design Museum attracted widespread criticism when it acquired, alongside a Sony Walkman and copies of The Face, an AK-47 for its permanent collection. Whatever the horror it is responsible for, the reasoning was, this is a ‘well-designed’, incredibly successful product.

More than that, the Kalashnikov has also become a cultural symbol thanks to its associations with freedom fighters, national liberation and, yes, terrorist groups. It’s more than just a gun.


So how would readers feel if this brief came through your door? It’s a killing machine that has, arguably, brought freedom to millions. It (or at least those using it) has directly caused incalculable suffering and yet it could be argued to have played a greater role in protecting the vulnerable than any other product. The Telegraph reported the following statement from Kalashnikov Concern in relation to the rebrand: “The idea is that weapons should help keep the peace, uphold justice, dignity and the right to life. Weapons make a man [sic] courageous, alert and create high sense of responsibility. Weapons protect the weak from the strong.”

Would you take the job?