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Developing Integrated Multiple Channel Brand Experiences Justin S M Basini Differ, London June 2001

Developing Integrated Multiple Channel Brand Experiences

Justin S M Basini Differ, London

June 2001

Developing Integrated Multiple Channel Brand Experiences







Analysing Competitive Advantage


Customer Interaction with Brands and Channels

Case Study: Financial Services Channel Evolution


The Way Businesses Manage Technology


A Framework for Developing Brand Experiences and Translating Them into Channels


The Framework Viewed as a Process



Case Studies: SEB and Nokia

Developing Integrated Multiple Channel Brand Experiences



Delivering integrated multiple channel experiences, in today’s increasingly complex brand landscapes, is vital for enhancing brand awareness, creating value and building stronger relationships with customers. Developing these integrated multiple channel experiences is complex since most businesses manage channels vertically reducing their ability to integrate and innovate around the customers experience of the brand. However in our experience slight inconsistencies across the channel experiences can have a negative impact on overall brand perception.

Our experience working with both large global companies and innovative entrepreneurial ventures has shown that both established and new businesses are confronted with significant challenges in developing integrated brand building multiple channel experiences. We present here a framework for developing multiple channel strategies built on the following key insights:

Understand a brands competitive advantage and structure this understanding.

Deconstructing competitive advantage into three vectors: content (what a brand delivers), context (how you deliver the product or service) and infrastructure (the channels of distribution and production) is an important input into developing integrated multiple channel experiences. This allows a ‘holistic’ view to be taken of how and what the brand can deliver to increase value and relationship with the customer.

Consumers do not think in channels

Customers focus on end benefits, what they need, and then unconsciously choose the most relevant and convenient channel to get this end benefit. They expect the brand to behave in the same way across all channels. Therefore brands must understand their experience from this holistic viewpoint and reflect this as much as possible in the organisational structures.

Businesses should understand how their processes and organisation impacts the experience

Most businesses organise around vertical channels (internet, store, call centre etc) and not customer segments. Structuring around the customer gives a higher chance of gaining significant competitive advantage however is complex and more difficult to manage especially is transitioning from a vertical approach. Pragmatically a business should make efforts to understand their approach, analyse for strengths and weaknesses and take appropriate action.

Define the overall brand experience in isolation of channel

Brands that use multiple channels seamlessly to deliver a coherent experience to customers have a strong idea of their overall brand experience. The brand proposition and a deep understanding of customer needs (in four areas: communication, information, location and transactional dimensions) is the foundation for developing a customer-eye view of the experience including content and context development.

Use channel capability and customer usage to segment the brand experience into the channels

The overall brand experience can be segmented into different channel experiences based on two pragmatic filters: the current capability of the channel and the current usage of the channel by the customer. A clear and realistic definition of the channel experience can then be created. These channel experiences should be linked via ‘experience threads’ that become the hallmarks of the experience for the customer.

Developing Integrated Multiple Channel Brand Experiences



There have never been more ways to touch customers. There have never before been so many people involved in delivering customer experiences. As businesses we can now get onto the screens, papers, high streets, pockets, radios of our customers. We can tickle ears, eyes, and noses, trigger happiness, amusement, disappointment and anger in more ways than ever.

There are more messages than ever bombarding consumers every day. With over 4000 new launches in the UK every year demand for the consumers attention is increasingly competitive. Marketers have pioneered with new channels (e.g. iTV, SMS, internet, WAP, the call centre etc) in order to gain some cut through – a new and novel (for a while) approach – to touching customers. In response to our huge expectations of customers they are becoming more and more demanding. We are expecting them to negotiate increasingly sophisticated brand landscapes and in return they are expecting more and more of the companies they favour with their attention.

A famous t-shirt that was popular on the West Coast of the US in 1999 proclaimed:

"All I Ask Is That You Treat Me No Differently Than You Would the Queen"

US T-Shirt Slogan


Than You Would the Queen" US T-Shirt Slogan 1999 Customers are demanding a simpler, more focused,

Customers are demanding a simpler, more focused, better, more caring, more respectful relationship with the brands with which they chose to associate themselves. Also with the move to much more emotional relationships with brands consumers need more information, greater comfort and greater control over the relationship.

Here lies the fundamental tension that has led to fragmented, confusing and difficult to manage multiple channel brand experiences. We as businesses want to get as many messages and as large a response as we can through the different channels we chose. This however leads to too much information, greater discomfort and loss of control for the customer.

This tension is compounded by the fact that most organisations structure around products and specific channels rather than customers or experiences. Most businesses measure the success of a product, service, campaign, or development vertically down a channel. We measure page impressions, phone calls, web sales, store sales, customers acquired and that’s how we reward our people. This structure can be easier to manage than structuring around customers however it results in few linkages between the different channels and a confusing brand experience for the customer. This impacts negatively the customers’ impression of the brand that affects brand equity and ultimately revenues and profits.

3.0 Analysing Competitive Advantage

Employing a simple framework to structure the analysis of competitive advantage is an important way to begin the process of building a coherent multiple channel experience.

Developing Integrated Multiple Channel Brand Experiences

Competitive advantage can be understood through three vectors: content, context and infrastructure.

Content The substance of the products and services a company provides

Infrastructure The processes by which the company provides and creates its products and services

Context The experience of delivery, the “how” of what a company delivers, captured in the brand and it’s experience.

Figure 1 Competitive Advantage should be analysed in three axes

Figure 1 Competitive Advantage should be analysed in three axes

For example a technology company, such as Palm or (maybe surprisingly) Procter & Gamble, with a unique product or service to introduce to the market is competing on the content axis – their challenge is to drive sales, manufacturing and maybe expand internationally, all infrastructure advantages. Since all unique technology becomes generic eventually they also need to pay attention to the contextual axis (the brand and experience dimension) in order to build intangible softer assets that can be a continuing source of advantage.

The heavily branded companies such as Coca-Cola or Nike, build their competitive advantage on the context and infrastructure axes. Essentially a generic product is turned into something meaningful and more valuable to the consumer because of the brand – the context. The businesses with the most sustained competitive advantage balance all three axes with excellence. Many companies focus on only two of the three (most often missed is the context axis) and in the long term get into the ‘innovation trap’ – having to pour more and more resources into innovation to sustain advantage built solely on content.

When building multiple channel experiences, analysing the experience from these three axes is a key to unlocking innovation, interest and developing the seamless experience. The content axis should focus on understanding that content will be differentiated and which will be generic with a realisation that the majority of content will always be generic. The context is the key differentiator of the experience and is

Developing Integrated Multiple Channel Brand Experiences

the way in which we deliver our content. Inherently within this axis are the softer values that will form the relationship with the customer. Obviously because of this they rely on a clear and deep understanding of the customer relationship. Crucially the most engaging experiences are those, which develop core content and context before developing the specific infrastructure of delivery. Once the brand experience is defined and compelling then it is time to focus on where and when we deliver it through infrastructure (e.g. iTV, Call Centre, Store, Web, Print, Mobile etc).

4.0 Customers interaction with brands and channels

Businesses think in terms of channels, consumers think in terms of brands, pieces of information and daily interactions. Customers do not think in terms of channels. Customers expect all interactions with the brand to be consistent and provide them with knowledge, opportunities, and great customer service. Simply they want value that justifies their time, effort and money. In more and more industries, from the car industry to retail banking, managing an increasingly complex multiple channel strategy effectively and delivering a seamless experience across multiple interaction points is a key source of competitive advantage (see Fig. 2 The Need for a Multi-Channel Strategy)

advantage (see Fig. 2 The Need for a Multi-Channel Strategy) Figure 2 The Need for a

Figure 2 The Need for a Multiple Channel Strategy (From McKinsey Report Multi-channel Marketing)

Brand owners put lower priority on understanding what a customer wants through a channel but rather see the challenge as giving existing products and services through the new channel as it arises. ‘Getting there first’ is an is a misleadingly attractive focus when a new channel appears however experience shows once it’s been done customers quickly select those things that add value to their lives through the new channel and that which doesn’t. There is great danger that by just focusing on delivering existing products on new channels, we miss the opportunities for innovation that ultimately will deliver true value to customers and enhance the overall brand experience.

Financial Services is a category that illustrates this key point. Often innovation is de- prioritised in favour of translation of the existing products and services into the new channel. This chasing of products and technology ignores the ability of the new channel to deliver new enhanced value and innovation. (See Case Study - Financial Services Channel Evolution).

Developing Integrated Multiple Channel Brand Experiences

Case Study - Financial Services Channel Evolution

The financial services industry in the UK was widely regarded as being slow to pick up new channels. This was true for both telephone banking and Internet. Much effort is now being placed by the industry on developing the mobile and iTV channels so as ‘not to miss the boat’.

The introduction of the first ‘hero’ telephone banking service in the UK (by HSBC), First Direct, changed the norms of the category and for those customers that switched truly delighted them. How did First Direct deliver value? They developed a service that was pleasant to use, worked and above all put the customer in control. For the first time in the UK a customer could get access to account information, transactions, and advice 24 hours a day 365 days a year. This creation of a step change in level of benefit is a great example of how a new channel can deliver true value to the customer. However by defining themselves by their channel and not their end benefit First Direct made a mistake. Instead of being ‘the bank which delivered new levels of control’ they were the ‘telephone bank’. Whilst egg, first-e and smile were pioneering the internet banking revolution First Direct was struggling to understand how to integrate the new channel into their offering. If you are a telephone bank how do you become the telephone and internet bank? Key lesson: define service or product offerings on customer benefits not from a technology or channel perspective.

Since First Direct customers have become increasingly sophisticated within financial services. The internet banking brands, egg and smile, have been successful by taking a multiple channel route. They are internet banks with other channel access points, however, learning from First Direct, they have decided to define themselves by benefit rather than a specific channel. First-e which very much defined itself by its channel has been far less successful in acquiring customers. Customers are becoming more and more comfortable with the use of different channels therefore they look much more for a match between their aspirations and the brand not just a class leading delivery through one channel. Key lesson: Whilst ‘getting there first’ has short-term benefit, ultimately customers don’t think in channels.

If customers don’t think in channels then surely the large established multiple channel banks must have an advantage. Natwest, Barclays, HSBC, Halifax have high street presence, call centres, internet divisions, ability to develop WAP and iTV services – so one could hypothesis that these players will be the winners. The large banks do have the opportunity to deliver through multiple channels. However based on past experience they do not take the advantage and it is only the shapers like for example, First Direct and egg, that have the ability to understand a channel for it’s inherent ability to deliver value in new ways. Key lesson: stay close to technology, learn fast and integrate and innovate from a customer perspective, don’t just replicate existing products on the new channel.

The key opportunity in the future will be for financial services institutions to really understand and predict customer behaviour through the different channels and deliver a class leading financial services experience across many channels. That’s more than having the best telephone bank, the best internet bank, the most modern high street banks, it’s about challenging convention to deliver the most value to a target group by providing the most appropriate, most relevant financial services experience.

The understanding and prediction of customer needs will be key sources of competitive advantage for brands wanting to deliver world-class experiences. Being able to understand what opportunities are presented by new channels and predicting how customers will use the channels (without being too prescriptive), will allow innovative class leading multiple channel experiences to be developed.

Staying close to technology development is extremely important within this process however what is more important is to remain close to the reality of the mass market and understand that the adoption curve will be progressed slowly if we add no benefit to our customers.

Developing Integrated Multiple Channel Brand Experiences


The Way Businesses Manage Technology

Technology is always challenging to manage. Therefore it is unsurprising that we tend

to organise it in a linear fashion buying in expertise around that technology and adding

this interaction point as an adjunct to the current brand experience. When managed tightly with a clear customer led strategy this approach can work. However it relies on

a top down control approach, which is less attuned with the way we manage organisations today.

Many organisations are moving to a customer-centric approach where everybody in the organisation, irrespective of role (or technology channel) is aware of the experience that needs to be delivered and their role within its delivery. If managed appropriately this approach allows much more activity to be focused on delivering customer value as opposed to controlling activities. Ultimately organisations that adopt this approach to managing their customer experiences will develop enhanced competitive advantage.

A powerful benefit of decentralising the delivery of customer experience and not

thinking in terms of channels is that there is increased chance that synergies will be identified and delivered through the different channels. Since in many cases delivering

a multiple channel experience is about driving cross-sell any potential synergies harnessed will increase brand building.

Fi gure 3 Organisations have a strategic choice when creating multiple channel experiences

Figure 3 Organisations have a strategic choice when creating multiple channel experiences

Organisations have a strategic choice (see Fig 3) about whether to organise around channel (multiple channel strategy) or customer segments (a consumer based multi- channel strategy). The ability to deliver a seamless experience comes when the internal organisation mirrors the external customer in its organisational delivery and development processes. This requires a much more customer-based approach.

Ultimately in order to manage people, the existing organisational approach and deliver customer value most organisations will have to adopt a mix of both models. However the strategic imperative must be to putting the customer first in order to deliver value, drive synergy and create a compelling brand experience.

Developing Integrated Multiple Channel Brand Experiences


A Framework for Developing Brand Experiences and translating them into channels

The framework presented here for developing multiple channel brand experiences (see fig.4) relies on a core belief that brand experiences and customer understanding must come before the development of any channel specific applications or approaches. Understand the brand, the target and how you can deliver value then think about channels. This is purely a reflection of how we believe customers interact with businesses and brands.

Figure 4 A Framework for Developing Multiple Channel Experiences

Figure 4 A Framework for Developing Multiple Channel Experiences

The key to the framework is that the brand proposition, target group definition/needs and content/context development are central to the development of the brand experience. This then leads the segmentation of content and context down the vertical channels. Understanding how consumers need to experience the brand should form the basis of the channel development. This channel specific development needs to be then based on the brand experience but also pragmatic considerations such as target group usage and current capability of the channel. The result is a description of the channel experience and how it segments the content, context and delivers the overall brand experience.

It is perhaps unsurprising that we believe the brand proposition and target group definition should be the basis for any developments. However both content and contextual developments in most companies are generally driven by vertical channel

Developing Integrated Multiple Channel Brand Experiences

considerations. This we believe reduces the ability to innovate and think differently about delivering a holistic experience. Hence in this framework content and contextual development guides brand experience development. These key steps together then get prioritised into each channel.

Crucially we also believe that each channel experience needs to link via ‘experience threads’. These are key approaches, symbols and language that a brand can use which become common and obvious between the channels. Consumers do not think in channels therefore slight inconsistencies become difficult to manage when building a brand mind space. Therefore we must make it obvious and clear to consumers experiencing different channels that they share a set of common guidelines. Simply this could be a similar look and feel but can stretch powerfully into similar purchasing or customer service approaches e.g. Amazon One click purchasing on Internet, iTV and WAP.

“Not everyone knows what their phone can do” Two-thirds of the GB’s adult population has a mobile phone. Only 85% of these believe they have a text messaging facility on the phone whilst 13% of people believe they have a WAP-enabled phone (for both facilities, the actual incidence is probably higher).”

BMRB 2001

Additionally for success the multiple channel approach must be seen within the realities of the business situation. Over the past few years with the hype of the ‘internet revolution’ and for a while with the emergent WAP channel businesses committed much resource to deliver their products, services or information through these new channels. With hindsight much of this resource was at best difficult to measure a return on and at worst wasted. The simple fact is that many brands do not need a complex multiple channel experience. A slavish need to exploit all new technology opportunities disregarding realities of usage patterns and technical development leads to wasted efforts. Let’s remember most consumers haven’t even heard of WAP! Therefore all businesses need to understand the key driving reasons why they need to commit time and money in creating a multiple channel experience and then understand how they will measure a return on this investment.

Taken together all the channel definitions and parameters derived from the overall brand experience deliver a valuable experience to the customer. By taking a customer experience based approach brand owners can create a fuller, more compelling and seamless experience which delivers greater value to the customer and the business both in terms of organisational focus and ultimately revenues.

7.0 The Framework viewed as a Process

The framework can be viewed as a process for development as outlined in Fig 5 (see page 10).


Fig 5 (see page 10). PHASE 1: BRAND EXPERIENCE DEVELOPMENT The first stages of the process

The first stages of the process are about creating the ideal brand experience irrespective of channel. We believe that a brand must understand the experience (including content and context) it wants to deliver holistically to a customer and then think about segmenting this experience into the different channels.

segmenting this experience into the different channels. The Input • What is the current business scenario?

The Input

What is the current business scenario?

What is the key business reason for building a multiple channel experience?

What channels are already being implemented?

What are the channels which the customer is using now?

The input phase is focused on collecting the key reasons why a multiple channel experience is important and why it is being prioritised as a project within the organisation. This phase elicits the key business needs, such as the need for cross-sell or drive costs down, which form the basis for the project in addition to, or over and above, the creation of brand value or customer value.

Developing Integrated Multiple Channel Brand Experiences

Developing Integrated Multiple Channel Brand Experiences Figure 5 The Framework viewed as a Process Differ, London

Figure 5 The Framework viewed as a Process

Developing Multiple Channel Brand Experiences

Developing Multiple Channel Brand Experiences Brand Proposition • What value do we add to customers? •

Brand Proposition

What value do we add to customers?

What do we believe in as a brand?

What do we stand for?

What are we the best in the world at?

Who are our strategic competitors?

How are we different?

The brand proposition stage probes the current brand position and seeks to isolate the key sources of competitive advantage for the brand and it’s position in the market.

advantage for the brand and it’s position in the market. Target Group Definition • Who do

Target Group Definition

Who do we add value to?

Do we understand what we mean in their lives?

Do we really know them including their beliefs and attitudes?

Do we understand their needs within: information, communication, transactions and location?

Consumer understanding is essential to build good multiple channel experiences. Developing a good understanding of where, when, how and why we fit into our customers’ lives is essential if a brand is to satisfy their needs. We have identified four core areas as important in building multiple channel brand experiences. We need to develop an understanding of how our target uses information, how and why they communicate, what transactions (both purchases and informational transactions) they perform, and where they want these needs satisfied (location needs). This understanding needs to go beyond the surface and focus in-depth on discovering both emotional and functional needs for each target group.

Content / Context Development

needs for each target group. Content / Context Development We believe that both content and context

We believe that both content and context need to be delivered consistently whilst driving innovation in product and service development. At this stage development considerations are in isolation of the channels. In the next phase of the process this content and context is segmented on the infrastructure axis as we define the channel experiences and development parameters.

The key content questions that are important are:

What is the content which we must deliver?

How does our content deliver our brand proposition?

What is the content we could make different?

What is the content we could innovate and invent?

How can we get our customers involved in the development of the channel?

Developing Multiple Channel Brand Experiences

The key contextual questions for development:

What is our unique context – the ‘how’ of the content we deliver?

What is our current context – it’s strengths and weaknesses?

How can we turn our brand proposition into a compelling context?

What is our current context and how can we create new context?

How does our context reflect our understanding of target groups?

For established brands much of the core content and context may already be developed. However the key to unlocking a differentiated yet integrated multiple channel experience is to examine the content and context from a new perspective. This perspective is the ‘brand experience filter’ and relies on a clear understanding of the value that the brand adds in the lives of its customers. It’s not about thinking, for example, ‘we have a great bank account how can we translate this into a WAP experience’, but rather thinking at this stage ‘what does the customer need from this product and our brand to add maximum value to their lives’. Channel development then comes later once this is defined.

Channel development then comes later once this is defined. Brand Experience • What is the overall

Brand Experience

What is the overall experience which we need to deliver?

What, why, when, where and how will this experience impact the lives of our customer?

How can we create synergies between elements of the experience?

How can we use entertainment / infotainment to create a multiple channel experience?

The final stage in the brand experience creation process is the development of a core description of the overall experience that we want to deliver. Ideally this is seen in the light of the customer needs, which were investigated at the earlier stage in the process. This experience should be broken down into key elements of the experience. Detailed in the experience description is how these elements synergise and support each other, including an analysis of the commonalities and differences between these core elements. Most usefully the brand experience description should be taken to the stage of ‘telling the story’ from a customer view and validating as far as possible. This consumer approach allows brand owners to see the experience much more as an engaging part of a customer’s life. The best brand experiences are built on trustful engagingness and to this end entertainment / infotainment is something that should always be considered as a key way of delivering through different channels. Entertainment is a key way to drive engagingness of a brand experience and viewing a product or service from this new point of view often opens up new ideas and innovation for the overall experience.

Finally before the brand experience is committed to the next stage of the process a check step must be made which outlines how the brand experience supports and challenges the core brand proposition.


brand proposition. PHASE 2: CHANNEL EXPERIENCE DEVELOPMENT The second phase of the process is focused on

The second phase of the process is focused on understanding how the ideal brand experience can be segmented, developed and delivered through into a compelling channel brand experiences. This is based on pragmatic capabilities of both the channel and the customer.

Developing Multiple Channel Brand Experiences

Target Group Customer Usage and Capability of Channel

These two factors are the pragmatic filters that must be used in order to deliver an experience that is compelling, but also realistic in its expectation of customer behaviour and the technical capabilities of the channel. There are too many examples of brands that over stretched either the technology (e.g. – flash heavy site that took too long to download) or the customer (e.g. the co-buying concept of sites such as

(e.g. the co-buying concept of sites such as Key questions to ask in assessing target
(e.g. the co-buying concept of sites such as Key questions to ask in assessing target
(e.g. the co-buying concept of sites such as Key questions to ask in assessing target

Key questions to ask in assessing target group usage are:

What is the current and predicted usage of the channel by the target?

How can we lead customer usage of the channel?

Where is the channel most used?

Key questions to ask in assessing the current technology capability of the channel are:

What is the current capability of the channel?

What is the technology timeline 12, 24, 36 months out?

Which customers will early adopt the technology?

What is the channels main use?

Often it is also useful at this stage to conduct some research with leading edge consumers to understand the ways that new technology could impact the behaviour patterns of the mass market as technologies become more mainstream. This definition of the adoption cycle can then be used to develop an understanding of how the brand experience can be delivered in the future and how we should try and encourage our customers to interact with their brands. From this a map can be developed of which channels are relevant now and in the near future.

Channel Experience definition and development parameters

This stage delivers the key actionable output of the process. What’s needed is to create a clear definition channel experience from the customer’s point of view. Building from the (non channel specific) brand experience we can now develop a definition of the experience through the relevant channels.

The major focus should be on developing a clear view of how the content can be segmented by channel which when experienced by the end consumer in totality across the channels delivers a holistic brand experience. We should not expect that all content and context will be delivered through each channel. The decisions on what to deliver through which channel must be based on the customer needs so far developed combined with the insight gained about who is using what channel and how good the current development of the channel is.

Each description of the channel experience should then be examined in relation to the overall brand experience and an experience map constructed which maps by target segment who experiences what, through what channel and why it’s compelling. This describes the key parameters of how the brand experience is delivered and leads onto technical specification development. Thought should also be given to how we link and synergise across the channels.

Developing Multiple Channel Brand Experiences

Developing Multiple Channel Brand Experiences Experience Threads We believe that it is extremely important to build
Developing Multiple Channel Brand Experiences Experience Threads We believe that it is extremely important to build
Developing Multiple Channel Brand Experiences Experience Threads We believe that it is extremely important to build

Experience Threads

We believe that it is extremely important to build linking elements across channels to allow the customer to recognise and feel comfortable interacting with the brand through each different channel. These are effectively the ‘hallmarks’ of the brand experience.

On a surface level these can be a consistent design – look and feel – of the brand through each channel. (Even this can be challenging for example implementing a corporate identity on a 96x60 pixel mobile screen is no easy task!) At a deeper level these linking threads can be an approach to service delivery, such as always using first names, or using the same interaction process such as the same topics being delivered by Yahoo on both internet and WAP sites.


What are the key deliveries from the multiple channel brand experiences?

How and when a we going to measure success?

How do measure cross sell and brand building?

What ROI do we expect?

Measuring success of a multiple channel strategy is often complex and will need to include both soft and hard measures. Measures such as customer value on a segment basis, share of wallet, share of time, retention and migration, channel usage and service quality are all basic measures. One key area that has caused issues in the past is measuring cross-sell. This issue can be tackled by understanding, albeit often on a qualitative basis, the channels commonly used and customer behaviour within these channels before a purchase decision is made.

One key metric that should be considered is whether Profit and Loss is measured on a channel basis or across channels perhaps on a segment-by-segment customer basis. Measuring on a customer basis has been found to encourage cross sell and integration of development across channels.



Taking an integrated channel approach based on understanding the overall brand experience that is delivered is no longer a luxury or only for those brands which have the resources to do it.

Customers expect us to deliver to them with excellence through many different channels, understanding that they choose to reward us with their time and effort when they receive benefit from our businesses.

Practically we have to deal with the ‘legacy systems’ of organisations. Channel technologies have been developed and have most often been tagged onto the existing delivery capabilities. This reduces the ability to innovate and provide new levels of benefit satisfying new or existing benefits.

By creating a brand experience definition in isolation of channel but which is developed from a core understanding of the brand and customer needs we can start to develop content and context which delights customers. Taking this to channel experiences is then a case of understanding usage and technology capability.

Traditionally the established brands have rarely been able to predict how their customers will adopt and use new channels. Customers of these brands are demanding integrated multiple channel experiences. ‘Jumping on the band-wagon’ late and

Developing Multiple Channel Brand Experiences

throwing resources against translating products onto the new channel leads to, at best, a decreased ability to innovate and, at worst, inconsistencies which turn the customer away from the brand. Considering channel development from a brand experience and customer point of view is a way to control and focus activities against those that will add value.

However the new players, often built around a new benefit that a new channel can deliver, are also finding it increasingly difficult to respond to their customers need for integrated multiple channel experiences. These companies often do not fully understand the benefits of their brand once disassociated from a particular channel. This decreases their ability to continue their innovation and move into new channels. Developing a clear understanding of their brand position, target group and overall brand experience again will increase the ability to deliver value through multiple channels.

Taking a customer experience based view of the holistic brand experience and delivering with obvious seamless-ness, excellence and innovation through all channels will be the hallmark of the multiple channel winners.

Justin Basini is Managing Director of Differ, London and has worked with, amongst others, Shell, Unilever, Ericsson and World Online on brand development and multiple channel issues.

Contact Differ London for further copies or information.

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Developing Multiple Channel Brand Experiences

Case Study: SEB Sweden – A model for customer-centric channel development

The progressive Swedes have lead the way in the development and uptake of internet and mobile telephone channels in recent years. About 5 years ago, SEB, a traditional financial services provider, developed it’s internet banking facility and quite soon discovered that it’s “internet” customers were about 2.5 times more active, and consequently 2.5 times more profitable. This heralded a turning point in the company strategy and it focused on how it could add value to this expanding, active customer base through the development of it’s channels, to create a seamless banking experience. SEB were recently recognised by JP Morgan as one of the ‘internet shapers’ of the European financial services industry.

SEB Channel Activities

European financial services industry. SEB Channel Activities Today SEB leads Europe in the development of

Today SEB leads Europe in the development of customer-centric financial services, based around the insight that each channel needs to provide new, relevant opportunities that build the empowerment for the customer. This central theme provides the glue that unites the channel development and enables the organisation to develop and deliver class- leading customer relationships and satisfaction.

Case Study: The Nokia Game - November to December 2000

Case Study: The Nokia Game - November to December 2000 In reality it’s only a game.

In reality it’s only a game.

- November to December 2000 In reality it’s only a game. Perhaps one of the most

Perhaps one of the most innovative examples of multi-channel development occurred late last year when Nokia introduced a truly multi-channel experience in the form of a game for mobile phone owners across Europe. The central premise of the “adventure” was a new type of all media experience that put you as a player in the shoes of the main character in a fictional story. In order to survive, you had to solve a number of challenges and puzzles on his behalf and over time unravel the situation you were in.

To enable you to do this, Nokia used multiple channels to send messages and clues, themed around their brand concept of “Connecting People” by asking you to “keep connected”. The simplest messages were posted on the website, but as the game progressed new channels were introduced including phone (SMS/voicemails), print media (magazines/newspapers), new websites and even a short clips on radio and TV. You literally had to keep your eyes and ears open at all times to stay with the pace, and once you missed a clue you were mercilessly removed from the game!

On one level, you could describe this as an advanced integrated marketing campaign that was well executed across the different media. On another level, by seamlessly integrating the use of multi-channels into a coherent and compelling story, the Nokia brand extended it’s relationship with it’s customer base and beyond. By thinking about the way the gaming industry creates adventure concepts they were able to engage people behind the story, to the extent that a number of unofficial sites were spawned where the game players could discuss developments and share clues - the ultimate response for a brand that is all about connecting people and a highly talked about and successful campaign.