Category Design and Creativity

Kid’s Consumer Experience

When you do consumer segmentation in the convenience store/gas industry, you find that most people hate buying gas and think that gas is a commodity with no real difference between brands.

The 76 brand is working to add sugar to the medicine of buying gas – making the experience a little better…

For the Road Warrior and other adult consumers, there is a simple graphic description of the technology difference. For adults, there is pump yoga! And, best of all, there is the ‘Children’s Guide to Splattered Bugs’… making mom’s job (and experience) a little better!




Custom Products in Japan

Based on a recent trip to Japan, the built-to-order trend is more evident than ever.  Custom product is a global trend and research shows that consumers, while interested in the ‘idea’ of building their own products from scratch actually prefer to select custom products that are designed by others.  Also, when done well, these programs increase lifetime value of consumers through greater loyalty and basket size.

Here are a couple of examples of custom product brand strategies from Japan:

The first is Timberland’s multi-channel execution of ‘build your own boots’ – a photo of the POP in the Timberland store in Yokohama – and a screen shot of the same execution at  Consumers can build exactly the combinations they are interested in.

The second example is in a toy store in Ginza, Tokyo.  The STRIDER running bike is a bike that kids learn to balance on because it has no pedals.  However, STRIDER has come up with a mix-and-match programs with various wheel, grip, and other options.

Does your brand have opportunities to allow the consumer to create their own version of your products?


Slow Follower?

Have you visited the new Microsoft Stores? They are clean, well lit, minimalist, well staffed, and do many other things that Apple does…

However, the times I have been in, they have been empty. And, most importantly, there is no sense of fun and discovery in the store? What do you think? Can a follower brand knock-off the innovator? is it more than just aesthetics?




Is Your Brand Delivering Uniqueness?

For passionate runners, New Balance makes some of the best, ergonomically designed performance footwear in the world. However their distribution channels and retailers are the same as all other running shoe/performance brands.

However, in their flagship NYC door, they chose to forsake retail productivity in their very expensive real estate, and instead invest in a true brand statement.

This shopper experience is all about customization and interactive theater… New Balance loyalists can come into the store and work with the sales associates to craft custom made product exactly to their specifications… and they will be the only ones to have that combination.

Custom product is not new I. sporting goods, but the way that New Balance has invested in this shopper experience ‘factory’ is a step change.

Is your brand developing in-store theater and interactivity? How are you creating brand uniqueness and loyalty?