Consumer Centric + Design Thinking is a mandate


I’m a huge fan of Marketing magazine, so clicking on a Twitter link to a piece on the London 2012 Paralympics, I expected to see the article in full (on my Iphone).  I don’t object to paywalls – but how about this for design/choice complexity! 



The inclusion of sister publications (PR Week, Campaign), and a multi-choice maze doesn’t work well on a smart phone.  I have to admit to becoming a regular  ‘consumer’  and was left feeling overwhelmed, confused and frustrated – and  compelled to CLOSE the page.   

Its another reminder that consumer-centric design thinking must be enshrined through each and every brand touchpoint.  P.s. here's a link to the official games website.




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B E A U T I F U L


I grew up listening to BBC Radio One. It’s a brand with a special place in my heart, the station that unleashed my passion for music.  Driven by a public service mandate, BBC must create content for a diverse, multicultural and international audience.  The brand must fight to stay relevant in the area of a fragmented and technologically savvy audience .  


I’m so thankful that they’ve found a way to build a beautiful, simple and dare I say iconic mobile interface.  By understanding their  equity,  they have transformed today’s complex station portfolio into an intuitive interactive consumer experience. Eye catching design, dramatic colours and logical layout. Beautiful.  Check it out from your smartphone here.



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My Reckless Experience

No, not a story of remorse and regret, but instead the story of my discovery of Reckless Records in Chicago.

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How does Reckless Records remain relevant In an era of instant downloads ? 

How does it compete with virtual access to the worlds largest music libraries ?

Why is it still here when technology from brands such as Itunes, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon render this place obsolete?

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I believe it's because I can:

  1. Discover and explore music with (almost) all of my senses.
  2. Be certain that popularity is not the only arbiter of taste.
  3. Buy VHS and cassette tapes. (I didn't as I don't have anything to play them on - but was honestly surprised, that people still do !)
  4. Ask the staff questions about music and musicians - which they are more than keen to answer.
  5. Immerse in the feeling that I can't get this anywhere else
  6. Leave with the belief that whatever I buy here is more valuable, meaningful and important than getting it from somewhere else.
  7. Be certain that I will tell people about it
  8. Be certain that I will go back.

This brand is not in the business of selling music. Its value comes from facilitating community via music, and an experience beyond the function of selling things.

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Battle of the Beans - Is McCafe Better Than Starbucks ?

The Good
Having seemingly lost its way as consumers tighten their discretionary spending at last Starbucks is back and returning to their premium (coffee) experience roots via the Inspired by Starbucks brand of stores.

The Bad
For years the key characteristics of:
a) great tasting coffee, and b) a truly unique and engaging experience, have been hindered by the push behind stretching the brand into for example, cold ice filled flavoured drinks - coupled with the sense that the role of the Barista was being diminished .

To make matters worse brands such as Dunkin Donuts and McDonalds (McCafe) have successfully infiltrated Starbucks territory and spent significantly to communicate their offerings. NB in Europe McCafe’s are also nicely decked out in comfy leather seats, wooden tables, and art alongside an offering of muffins, cookies etc.

The Ugly (Truth)
Contrary to the experts at Coffee Review, my current tally is a stirring 20:1 visits in favour of McCafe vs Starbucks. Yes, I freely admit to preferring a McCafe ‘Medium’ Cappuccino vs the ‘Tall’ Starbucks equivalent.

The winning Formula
Lower McCafe price (by 50c or so) + incentive (discount coupons on ‘Medium’ size) = Starbucks disloyalty.

But with hope of the “inspired by Starbucks” franchise on the horizon, perhaps there is a way for Starbucks to win back my business.