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The Comparative Context: Journeys Across the Digital Ecosystem

  1. the comparative context JOURNEYS ACROSS THE DIGITAL ECOSYSTEM Michelle S Berryman, FIDSA @MicBerryman 30 August 2012
  2. 2 AGENDA FOR TODAY Setting the Stage Defining the Customer Journey Identifying Competitors & Comparators Exploring the Digital Ecosystem Telling the Story Drawing Conclusions
  3. 3 setting THE STAGE
  4. 4 a few YEARS AGO...
  5. 5 We were working for a consumer electronics company. They made a lot of products. Some of them competed with this.
  6. • Through their website • Through online retailers such as,,, etc. • Through online channels for traditional retail outlets such as Best Buy, Costco, Target, etc. • Through online channels for wireless carriers (in some cases) Their products were sold online • Traditional retailers and wireless carriers • They had no physical retail presence of their own 6 And in brick & mortar retail outlets
  7. They hired us to provide insight into how they could deliver a better web experience for their customers. 7
  8. Independent of this assignment, we had some ideas and a general philosophy that guided our thinking — and still does. 8
  9. We believe a website doesn’t just compete with other websites in its category. 9
  10. It competes with Nike+, Amazon, Skype, Mint, CNN and 100,000 other sites, social channels, apps and digital moments. 10
  11. We thought about this, and sketched out the genesis of a new methodology. 11
  13. 13 defining the CUSTOMER JOURNEY
  14. I have a need. I’ve found a solution. 14 this is our mental model SIMPLE, CLEAN & DIRECT A B
  15. A B this is reality SO MANY CHOICES & DISTRACTIONS
  16. I have a need for a product or service. I’ve found a solution that matches my needs. I buy it. I use it. How do I . . . ? Can I . . . ? I want to . . . I need to . . . I need to replace it. I want another one. Should I buy the same one again? Is there a newer one? Should I buy a different brand? Are there reasons to interact with the brand on an on- going basis? What is the brand doing to maintain my awareness level? How is the brand building passion or loyalty with me? 16 the journey doesn’t end at the solution WE CREATE A RELATIONSHIP WITH THE BRAND Consideration Transact Use Expand Phase Agnostic
  17. Digital Channel Usage: • To what extent are digital channels leveraged (e.g. website, social media, partnerships, content syndication)? Experience Consistency: • How consistent is the experience across digital channels? • How integrated/aligned is the brand throughout the experience Social/Community: • Are there ways to interact with the brand on social platforms? • How are social/community interactions handled? • Are they integrated with accepted platforms? Differential Treatment: • To what extent are customers differentially treated? Consideration Transact Use Expand Phase Agnostic basic methodology GO DEEP & GO BROAD Findability: • Once a user establishes a need, how easily can the company be found within the competitive landscape? Acclimation: • How is the company acclimating prospects (features and experiences)? Product Positioning: • How are offerings positioned/leveraged? • How are offerings presented alone and integrated together? • Are offerings shown in a comparative context with competitive offerings? Monetization: • What are the paths to monetization and how are they presented (e.g. click to chat, trial offer, buy, etc.)? • What can be purchased online and how? Usage: • How does the company help customers maximize their experience? • Are training or educational services offered? Support: • How is support and customer service positioned? • What primary support interactions are offered? Engagement: • Are there relationship- based efforts to keep customers loyal between purchases? • Is there a compelling reason to interact with the company on an ongoing basis between purchases/transactions?
  18. 18 identifying COMPETITORS & COMPARATORS
  19. our “client” JIMMY CHOO
  20. identifying competitors THIS PART IS EASY Clients generally have a pretty good idea about their competitive set. It’s our job to look beyond their list to find those companies from which a client can learn. And we need to apply both macro and micro lenses. 20
  21. Christian Louboutin Luxury women’s footwear. Signature red lacquered soles. Luxury Institute’s “Most Prestigious Women’s Shoes” 2007, 2008 & 2009 Manolo Blahnik Luxury women’s footwear since 1972. Blahnik stilettos have become symbols of pure classical style for the 21st century. Famously worn by “Sex and the City” character, Carrie Bradshaw. PRADA Italian fashion label specializing in luxury goods for men and women since 1913. The brand became a premium status symbol in the 1990s. Christian Dior One of the world’s top fashion houses and largest luxury groups. Owns Louis Vuitton. Founded in 1946. Marlene Dietrich wore Dior. New .com site launched in 2011. Brian Atwood Couture fashion designer known for thigh-high boots. “High chic. High drama. High heels.” (.com is in development) Shanghai Tang China’s only luxury brand. Style is inspired by traditional Han Chinese clothing of the 1920s and 30s modernized for the 21st century. No shoes — yet! Compete in handbags and accessories. 21 jimmy choo competitors SIMILAR PRODUCTS AT SIMILAR PRICES
  22. We look for brands that might: • Have similar cache. • Appeal to a kindred audience or market segment. • Be in the same industry, but have a radically different business model and/or target audience. • Be aspirational. • Have analogous history. • Be faced with similar challenges. 22 comparator brands THEY’RE MUCH HARDER TO DEFINE
  23. Toms Shoes Inexpensive, casual footwear based on the Argentine alpargata design. The opposite of haute couture. For every pair of Toms Shoes purchased, Friends of Toms, a non-profit affiliate, gives a pair of new shoes to a child in need. Virgin Atlantic Airways Cool, sexy and glamourous. Harkens back to a bygone era of travel with perfectly primped flight attendants. The biggest fully flat bed, an in-flight bar, and London terminals equipped with salons to help you get properly coiffed before or after a flight. W Hotels Starwood's luxury boutique hotel brand. Marketed towards a younger crowd. Spare, minimalist modern decor and hip, informal names such as the "Living Room" for the lobby. Concierge service is called “Whatever, Whenever.” Vertu Manufacturer of luxury mobile phones. Prices range from $5,500 to $330,000+. The screens are made of ultra-thin sapphire crystal that takes fifteen days to create. Every key is individually ground and cut from sapphire. Known for exquisite attention to detail. 23 jimmy choo comparators UNIQUELY DIFFERENT BUT RELEVANT
  24. 24 exploring the DIGITAL ECOSYSTEM
  25. Listen to what your client tells you about their industry, business and competition — but don’t draw conclusions. Dismiss previous assumptions. Suspend belief. Probe for as much information as possible — from the client and the digital ecosystem. Let the evidence guide you. 25 you’re a scientist UNCOVER THE FACTS
  26. Always work with a partner. Take copious notes. Screen cap EVERYTHING. Engage in detailed reviews with your partner. Reference the Areas of Inquiry and the Customer Journey often. Score each brand against each Area of Inquiry. 26 you’re a scientist BE METHODICAL IN YOUR APPROACH
  27. Explore the brand. • At a high level, get a sense for the brand. • Learn about the breadth and depth of their offerings. • Understand the digital brand presence. • Engage with the brand in as many channels and forums as possible. • Audit the digital ecosystem for tone, voice and intent. 27 click & capture GO EVERYWHERE & FOLLOW EVERY LINK
  28. 28 Pick a product or service. • Learn about it. • Try to buy it. • Use it like the target audience does. • Try to get it serviced or repaired. • Find the manual. • Find user forums. • Find support forums and online communities. • Engage with users. click & capture GO EVERYWHERE & FOLLOW EVERY LINK
  29. 29 click & capture LEAVE THE .COM
  30. 30 click & capture COLLECT. ANALYZE. UNDERSTAND.
  31. Look again — literally. Do a visual scan of your screen caps. Discuss your findings. Revisit the online channels as necessary to validate and verify your findings and your hypotheses. 31 prepare to be surprised BRANDS TELL UNEXPECTED STORIES
  32. Revisit the areas of inquiry and the stages of the customer journey AGAIN. Was your client right? • About their own digital ecosystem? • About their competition? What did you learn? 32 prepare to be surprised BRANDS TELL UNEXPECTED STORIES
  33. 34 telling THE STORY
  34. 34 initial perceptions DESCRIBE THESE BRANDS
  35. listen to the brand JIMMY CHOO CROWD SOURCES STYLE
  36. 36 listen to the brand TOMS IS A MOVEMENT FOR GLOBAL GOOD
  37. JIMMY CHOO Growing social engagement with participatory contests and crowd- sourced photos. Aspirational brand with a strong fan base. Clear desire for engagement from customers and fans. Choo 24:7 mixes elite fashion with aspiring fashionistas. 37 high-level analysis SHOW US YOUR SHOES TOMS Massive social engagement. Customers *love* the brand. Wearing TOMS is a statement about giving and caring. Makes consumerism feel good.
  38. With 1.2 million fans on Facebook and 99,000 followers on Twitter, Jimmy Choo has a large interested and socially active fan base. Engage in more two-way dialogue. Respond to fans. Create opportunities for fans to “live chat” with designers and fashion critics via Facebook forums or similar. 38 recommendation CREATE TWO-WAY DIALOGUE* *Based on a very high-level and rapid ecosystem scan performed specifically for this presentation. No review of competitor sites was performed.
  39. Is this what you expected from Jimmy Choo or TOMS? 40
  40. 40 initial perceptions DESCRIBE THESE BRANDS
  41. 41 listen to the brand APPLE IS FRIENDLY, CONFIDENT & ASSURING
  42. 42 listen to the brand IBM INSPIRES CHANGE
  43. 43 listen to the brand CISCO IS SOCIAL, APPROACHABLE & HUMAN
  44. listen to the brand SKYPE IS AN EDUCATION JUGGERNAUT
  45. Is this what you expected from each brand? 46
  46. Findability (How easily can the company be found in the competitive landscape?) Acclimation (What is the company doing to acclimate prospects - features and experiences). Product Positioning (How are products/offers defined and differentiated in the market?) Monetization (What can be purchased online and how? What are the paths to monetization?) Usage and guidance (How does the company shepherd users through the purchase/application/registration process) Support Content & Availability (is the content available, contextual and appropriate? Does the site provide multiple ways to get help?) Engagement (Site engagement and interaction nuance as well as communication style along multiple touch-points) Digital Channel (To what extent are digital channels leveraged - e.g. websites, social media, partnerships, content syndication?) Experience Consistency (Is there consistency between messaging, graphics, etc?) Social & Community (Does the site support a community or sharing of information? Can users engage on social platforms?) Differential Treatment (Are each user type segmented within the experience? Is the experience tailored to differentiated users?) 4 3 3 4 3 3 3 2 4 2 2 Score: Low 0 1 2 3 4 High Competitive Analysis: Assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of current and potential competitors, to provide both strategic context and to identify opportunities. Comparative Analysis: Assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of comparable alternatives, processes, products, sets of data, or systems, to provide both strategic context and to identify opportunities. 4 4 4 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 3 3 2 4 2 1 3 1 2 3 1 1 4 4 3 3 4 4 3 4 4 4 4 3 4 4 4 3 4 2 1 4 2 2 4 3 4 3 3 3 4 3 2 3 4 4 4 4 3 3 2 3 2 3 3 3 3 2 2 3 1 2 1 1 3 1 2 3 1 0 1 1 3 1 1 1 1 3 Areas of Inquiry Client Competitor Brands Comparator Brands Brand “A” Brand “B” Brand “C” Brand “D” Brand “E” Brand “F” Brand “G” Brand “H” sample deliverable COMPETITIVE & COMPARATIVE SCORECARD
  47. 47 sample deliverables DETAILS, ANALYSIS & PRESENTATION
  48. 49 drawing CONCLUSIONS
  49. Methodology explores the “why” and “how” of customer behavior and experience, as well as the “what,” “where” and “when” Properly applied, the methodology should be very systematic, repeatable and guided by the areas of inquiry Balanced approach that serves marketing, business and IT groups simultaneously. Outcomes represent a snapshot in time, but are based on definitive evidence. Hypotheses are validated through quantifiable metrics — particularly with regards to community and social engagement. 49 qualitative PERCEPTION-BASED quantitative EVIDENCE-BASED
  50. The competitive/comparative assessment is often performed in conjunction with another proprietary methodology called Flow Score. Attraction – How are visitors reaching the site? Attention – How do visitors interact with the site? Appeal – How do visitors react to the site within social media? Benefit – How does the site affect a visitor’s opinion of the company? Impact – How does the site drive visitors to complete desired actions? 50 yin and yang BUILDING A BIGGER TOOLBOX
  52. We use the competitive/comparative methodology to gain insights and to inspire our team - as well as our clients. We expect to be amazed when we start a new project. We know clients will be astounded by the outcomes. 52 insight & inspiration IT’S A TWO-FOR-ONE, GUARANTEED
  53. “I had no idea we were competing against [brand].” “I’m amazed at the social presence of [brand]. We’re nowhere near that.” “Thank you. I can use this information to make sure this project is properly funded.” “I wouldn’t have thought to use Facebook as a platform for support and continuing education for our customers.” “Fascinating.” 53 inspiration abounds EVERY JOURNEY IS A LEARNING EXPERIENCE
  54. Thank you. @MicBerryman