barclay’s saves you from yourself…

Just a few weeks ago, Barclay’s became the first big bank to give its customers unexpected control over their spending. Via Barclay’s app, you can now “switch off” your debit card so that it can’t be used for five specific types of purchases – gambling, “premium-rate websites and phone lines”, restaurants/pubs/bars, gas, and groceries. Once a type of purchase is switched off, any transaction you try with your card at the relevant type of retailer or business will be automatically declined. The idea is to try and help people manage their spending impulses, and is aimed particularly at those with mental health issues or addictions. But, it can also be used to protect yourself from others trying to make fraudulent charges, if you’re worried about that. Barclay’s says it will do the same for credit cards in the near future.

Why It’s Hot: 

It’s a bold move for a bank to offer its customers a way to not spend their own money, but it’s clearly aimed at helping people. Unexpected, and a great example of putting people over profits and thinking about the customer experience beyond just transacting with the bank itself. It’s only a halfway house, given that the feature is completely within each person’s control. But even the cue of having your card declined and having to go into the app to turn whatever type of purchase back on would likely make someone who can’t help themselves think twice.


buy your next couch online…

Campaign may be to furniture what Casper is to mattresses. Finally you can get the previously mythical combination of quality furniture that is shippable using normal delivery methods, and that requires minimal assembly. It’s also billed as being “built for life”, with prices on par with Crate and Barrel, or West Elm, and ships for “free”.

Why It’s Hot:
Great products are designed around removing pain points from the customer experience. The long transit times (and coordinating final delivery) that can come with freight shipping (+the cost), and the overly frustrating and laborious assembly required with other furniture purchased digitally are two major headaches when buying furniture online. Campaign solves for both. Meanwhile, IKEA is still trying to figure out how to make a flat-packable couch.

The Trade Desk Native Ad Brings Value

View Video and Read Article Here

The Trade Desk and Ad Age ran a smart native advertising placement- the focus was a video that highlighted smart devices specifically, and how brands should demonstrate the value that the product will bring on a daily basis for the user to make their lives better/easier.  Take what makes a product attractive, leverage that data, and make it a service or better product that people rely on.  Then, you’ll get more data on how people use it, and improve upon it.  “What is this going to DO for me vs. what is the brand going to SAY to me”.

 Why It’s Hot

I found this interesting for two reasons:

1.) It demonstrates how agencies/advertisers should leverage a product (in this case, smart devices) to show long term value to a consumer.  E.G. Instead of demonstrating just advertising a new electronic lock that a company has, demonstrate how it keeps your family safe on a daily basis.

2.) The Trade Desk used this as a smart native ad to demonstrate how they could provide value to advertisers: a.) to get the data to help power this thinking, via their Data Management Platform (DMP) and b.) act on it via their Demand Side Platform (DSP).

Yes Good

Pre-package, flavored nut brand Emerald has taken “authenticity” to a new level. The brand’s new tag line “Yes Good” was pulled straight from a five star Amazon review, and it doesn’t end there. They are leaning in hard with favorable online reviews by creating a “Revue of Reviews” campaign in which they present artistic interpretations of some of the more exciting reviews on their product. They still don’t know who wrote their new tag line, but that hasn’t stopped them from going all-in.  (watch this)



Why It’s Hot:

  • It seems so obvious, but have yet to see anyone lean in to customer reviews to build a campaign
  • We talk often about “authenticity” and “engagement”, what a great way to get customers involved with your brand
  • The art is cool.


Bridging the CX Understanding Gap


As customer experience (CX) continues to drive business transformation, we are met with a general lack of understanding around what and how to move forward. Forrester research revealed more than 60% of decision makers are still holding on innovation related to the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things is CX. People expect connectivity; people expect effortless data integration that improves the way they move through the world. This is nothing to delay and “assess.” The CX winners lean in hard early. They experiment. They fail. They pick themselves back up and try again.  People more than welcome that now, they expect it.

We Could All Do With a Pint Glass That is Always Half Full

BUCK_Hoptimist_Virgin_Trains_02-962x644Virgin Trains will be serving its custom beers on a glass that will always be half full called the “Hoptimist.” Although a glass that’s never empty sounds like a cheap magic trick prop, the beer buddy they’ve created looks very sophisticated.

The hand-blown glass is a tall one but the base takes up a little less than half the entire thing. This is the “half full” part. The glass is always half full because half of it is actually glass. Get it? Although not the approach one might expect upon hearing “always half full,” design wise, it’s very beautiful. The beer receptacle on top follows a wine glass shape with a slight dip at the center.

Pour some beer into the Hoptimist and you have a nice, solid-feel cup. Even if you chug the beer down, the weight of the glass itself will never feel empty. Because the base is raised, the way it balances on the table will also feel like a half-full cup.

The ale that will pair up with the Hoptimist is also one-of-a-kind. Hop On Board, Virgin Train’s own brew, was created by Rudgate Brewery, a multi-awarded microbrewery in York. The glass and ale will be available for customers traveling on Virgin Trains routes between London King’s Cross, Leeds, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh.

Virgin expects to sell 55,000 bottles of its pale ale this year. To celebrate the new addition to the train menus, they will be giving out a few Hoptimist pint glasses through social media in the next few days.


Alison Watson, Director of Customer Experience at Virgin Trains, said:

‘We’re ‘hoptimistic’ here at Virgin Trains and passionate about our customer’s experience. ‘Hop on Board’ is an exciting step in revamping our on-board offering, embracing the craft beer revolution and delivering the best journey possible time and time again.

Working alongside the Rudgate Brewery, we have created an ale full of flavor and charisma that epitomizes the Virgin Trains’ spirit and the hoptimist’s outlook on life—with us the glass is always half full.

Source: PSFK

Why It’s Hot: CX first. I love the angle of optimism — it’s refreshing. It’s also a great differentiator.

The Curated Experience: Like Disney, Like Pharma

Some of the top line lessons for marketers from Disney are centered on the way people are treated and how the experience is curated. There is an important place for curated experiences in pharmaceutical marketing and we can learn a few lessons from Disney.

Attention to detail

On every ride there are access corridors, stairs, and pathways for the crews to clean and maintain them. These utilitarian areas are still branded with the ride’s theme right down to the railings and door designs. They probably change to unadorned stairwells and metal doors inside the attraction and away from guests’ eyes and experience but as far as the customer experience is concerned the ride’s theme carries on forever.


For a company with many brands and a consolidated call center make sure that therehumira-website-300x300 are scripts and protocols available for each patient and brand. For brands with multiple indications look closely at how patients are treated at the front door. The best experience is one where each condition has its own site. Next best is one where the user’s choice is remembered so that they see the most relevant information on subsequent visits. Remember, even if you have an 85% “first visit” rate, those 15% of return visitors are probably mostly made up of your patients.

You’re never rushed

Disney has technology to optimize the guest’s experience, but lines can still be long. When my daughter waited in line to see her favourite characters there was a line a mile long behind us. When talking with the characters she wasn’t rushed or snubbed, the experience was fulfilling and worth the wait.


Your patients have often been through a long journey to get to their script, take the time to really curate an experience for them and make them feel valued. This can be an extra couple of minutes on a phone call, a call center script that offers more options, a more complete digital experience, or even a retargeting campaign centered on services for patients rather than just selling the brand.

Technology set to “help”

The FastPass system at Disney is absolutely genius. For those who haven’t visited recently, the FastPass system is available to all park visitors and essentially ensures that every guest will have a great experience on at least three rides. They limit the number of FastPass guests for rides in one-hour periods so that they can manage the lines. This provides a better experience for guests who aren’t standing in line all day and frees up their time to buy food and Disney merchandise.


What could your patients do with extra time? There are often ways to curate their experience to assist with the journey. Can specialists be found nearby? When filling a script are there nearby pharmacies or even specialty mail-order pharmacies available?

For your writing physicians, are there ways you can make their lives easier? Most rare disease claims require prior authorization forms, are there ways that your information can be organized to help them? Even better, is your payer marketing program set up to make their lives as easy as possible?

Why It’s Hot: The Disney experience is something that is not replicated in other theme parks but which pays dividends in terms of revenue per guest and repeat visits. Look to your own customer experiences and ask the question: what would Disney do?

Source: Klick Health

Facebook Rocks In-Store Marketing with Beacon Technology

Beacon technology has been a favorite among Digital Marketers for their unique ability to offer ultra-geolocalization with a high level of personalization. Reports state, Facebook has already completed testing a new functionality for its Places feature called, “Place Tips“, using beacon technology.


More particularly, a small group of retailers in New York have already tested and approved a new feature called Place Tips, which will show pictures and tips about specific locales when visitors open their Facebook app. In fact, visitors and app users will see a welcome note and photo along with prompts to like the business’ Facebook Page and check in, combined with posts from the respective Facebook Page and their friends’ recommendations about the business.

Right now, business all over the United States can request free beacons for their stores. Businesses that have already received their beacon can visit to customize their visitors’ experience and learn more about this new feature.

Why It’s HOT: Facebook has seamlessly integrated their platform in an online and offline capacity in the real world. Utilizing beacon technology, Facebook will drive engagement and new customer experiences that have yet to be realized in this capacity.

Source: WeRSM




Tweet an Emoji For Your Next Pizza Order

I like emojis, I love pizza and I adore convenience. Soon Domino’s will be combining the three by enabling consumers to directly place an order by tweeting the pizza emoji to the food chain.

The company states it is rolling out the tweet-for-pizza feature in an effort to engage tech-savvy, busy young consumers. Other companies, such as Starbucks and the Miami Dolphins, have also used Twitter as an ordering platform but purely for short-term or testing purposes. However, it seems for Domino’s this feature is here to stay.

The tweet-for-pizza feature will debut later this month.



Why It’s Hot:

Facilitating a 5-second exchange that ends with a pizza at my door is SMOKING. But beyond that it’s truly about convenience: Domino’s has progressed from phone ordering, to online, to a stand-alone app (that also allows voice ordering) and now to this. Domino’s is continuously meeting its consumers where they are, as 50% of the pizza orders take place digitally.

Read more here.


Delta Airlines will start serving brews from seven craft breweries on its flights. On certain routes, passengers will be able to drink beers from San Diego’s Ballast Point Brewing Company, Long Island’s Blue Point Brewing Company, Brooklyn’s Brooklyn Brewery, California’s Lagunitas Brewing Company and Stone Brewing Company, Massachusetts’ Newburyport Brewing Company, and Atlanta’s SweetWater Brewery. Plus, all domestic routes will also serve beer from Samuel Adams.

This year, Delta has taken steps to improve its food selection as well: Besides serving the airlines’ addictive spiced, speculoos-style cookies, the company has partnered with chef Linton Hopkins to design an in-flight menu featuring upscale eats.

Delta Air Lines Regional Craft BeersSources: Eater, Delta Press Release

Why It’s Hot

It’s interesting to see how the airline industry is evolving to changing tastes. We saw British Airways matching in-flight food to music tastes recently. It’s also interesting to see the power that beer tastes in particular are driving a change in the beverage landscape. We’ve seen brewers, such as Shocktop, start to adjust to preferences for craft beer as well.

It does make one wonder if airlines are prioritizing catchy perks over major improvements to comfort.




British Airways matches in-flight food to music playlists

British Airways is due to start matching its in-flight meals with specific music tracks in order to counteract the fact that a person’s ability to taste is reduced by 30% while in the air. These pairings are based on a study that suggests some tunes can influence your taste buds, and they aim to help bring out the flavor of the food.

The airline’s new “Sound Bite” menu will be available on the “Rock and Pop” audio channel on long-haul flights from November. This 13-track playlist features music that has been carefully selected to go with each item on the menu, with the intention of enhancing the in-flight meal experience.

A study conducted by Professor Charles Spence and his team at Oxford University in the UK suggests that certain music can influence a person’s taste buds. This has been labelled ‘Sonic Seasoning’, with specific tracks seemingly able to make food seem up to 10% more sweet or salty.

British Airways’ chef Mark Tazzioli adds that the findings of this study to his list of considerations (which also included taste being altered at altitude) in order to create the new special edition menu. The “Sound Bite” playlist includes Scottish artist Paolo Nutini’s “Scream (Funk My Life Up)” to go with the Scottish salmon starter, Coldplay’s “A Sky Full of Stars” for a classic British main meal, Madonna’s “Ray of Light” for desserts, and “Nessun Dorma” by Placido Domingo to go with a cup of coffee.

The reasoning behind these tracks being selected were that Scottish musicians enhance the providence of Scottish foods, British music should be paired with British food, high tones boost the sweet flavors of puddings, and a tenor’s low tones suit the bitterness of coffee.


Source: PSFK

Why It’s Hot

It’s nice to see some innovation in customer service in the airline industry, and this “science” is quite interesting. It seems a little unnecessary, but maybe if you enjoy your flight just a little more, it’s worth it. There may be an opportunity (or potential hipster trend?) to try this in the mainstream restaurant industry as well.

Zappos Tests a Digital Personal Assistant

Online retailer Zappos has unveiled a new service that aims to help shoppers find specific products by taking item requests in the form of images.

The new service,called Ask Zappos, is like a digital personal assistant who will help customers track down specific items even if the retailer doesn’t have the items in their online store.

The new service takes these requests in the form of images. Customers can either text a photo, email a photo to, post the photo on Instagram with the hashtag #AskZappos, or upload the photo on the Ask Zappos web page. In addition to the photo, customers can include a short description of what they are looking for in the photo – a certain print, pattern or combination of colors, for example. The Ask Zappos service will try to find the exact item and even provide links to a few alternatives that look similar or carry the same style.

The Ask Zappos service aims to enhance customer service via digital channels in a growing e-commerce market.




According to the FAQs on the webpage of the new service, “real, live people” from the company’s customer service loyalty team are tasked to respond to these requests on Ask Zappos. The new service can help customers find items of clothing, footwear, bags, and accessories, including hats, sunglasses, jewelry, and other fashion items.

Source: PSFK

Why It’s Hot

Zappos has a great reputation for customer service and is seem as an innovator in that area. This is an example of the next wave, which, if successful, may set a new precedent for retail brands in the digital space. It is a great way of connecting with customers, showing value and using digital channels in new ways.

It’s latest initiative by Zappos Labs, the company’s research and development group which set up in 2010 to experiment with new ways to shop, engage customers, and connect online.


Tigerair’s “Infrequent Flyer” rewards customers in a humorous way

A new campaign for Tigerair pokes fun at frequent flier programs with a club for “Infrequent Fliers.” In effect, it’s just an email marketing list with discount fares, but the features built around it, such as print-it-yourself membership cards and online games, will make customers feel like they’re part of something greater.

There are no fewer than 18 membership levels, each one a satirical description of color, from “really dark black” to “hipster chino.” In the low-cost spirit, the cards have to be printed out by customers themselves on their home printers.The website for the campaign also features a deliberately pointless flight simulator game.

The campaign will also include a more traditional series of TV and print ads that will describe what customers won’t get from the no-frills airline, from lounges to “tiny bottles of vino.”

Source: PSFK

Why It’s Hot

What Tigerair has done is take what would normally be a bland CRM effort to give discounts and spice it up. People will pay attention because it’s clever, uses accessible channels, and is pretty easy.



Essie Creates First Virtual Nailpolish Wall

Super popular nailpolish brand, Essie, has the first ever virtual nailpolish wall on their website. The wall replicates the nailpolish wall at salons, recreating the fun process of comparing and choosing a color for their web experience. Each bottle on the “wall” links to a product detail page [layered over the wall] that includes links to purchase, other compatible colors, and links to share on several social networks.


Why It’s Hot 

Essie not only recreated for the web the fun of taking a trip to the salon; they have taken nailpolish beyond an in-person experience. Now it is easy for consumers to share favorite colors and looks online, making Essie one of the highest shared beauty products across social networks (such as tumblr and Pinterest), and ultimately one of the most popular nailpolish brands across the market.

Other brands like CoverGirl and OPI are following in Essie’s footsteps making their products socially shareable in hopes of broadening their reach, but Essie is clearly ahead of the game in using creative ways to enhance and broaden customer experience, create loyalty, and drive customer engagement.