Skin cancer is a "social" issue

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, skin cancer is the most common cancer, with one in five American's developing skin cancer in their lifetime.  However, with early detection the survival rate is good.

Euromelanoma Belgium created a unique way to utilize a Facebook feature to help detect possible skin cancer.  They started by developing a clear patch for their campaign Skin Memories, then asked people to put the patch on their skin, take a picture and upload it to Facebook.  By doing this, they will be able to use Facebook Memories to automatically remind them to recheck their skin and see if there was a change in size year over year.

I love this.  The seamlessly interjected themselves into their audience's daily social media experience in a completely relevant and non-obtrusive way to strengthen awareness and hopefully a contribute to a behavioral change. 

Hi, nice to meet you!

Since there is an app for just about anything, actually having human conversation has almost gone extinct. Nescafé Italia tried to change that. 

During Milano Design Week, Nescafé Italia created the "Hello Bench" and placed it near their coffee stand.  With a built in sensor, the bench shrinks causing the people sitting on the bench to be right next to each other.  Their goal was to get people to drink Nescafé coffee and start a conversation with the person sitting right next to them.

Nescafé Italia nailed the idea of interacting with their customers in a fun way that created a memorable experience.  

Tailor made in 90 minutes

Pretty accurate to say that in this day and age, we want what we want and we want it now.  Ministry of Supply in Boston is making it happen.  They purchased a 3D printing machine that has the ability to produce custom-made clothing at a reasonable price in a little as 90 minutes. Talk about instant gratification! 

This is an excellent approach to stand out in the (suffering) retail and clothing market.  Bring the buyers in, treating them special by offering complete customization, let them be part of the clothing making experience by letting them watch the clothing actually be produced, then let them walk out the door with a completely unique look in less time than it takes to find a parking space at the mall. It's definitely an experience other clothing stores cannot currently replicate.

You get what you pay for . . . or do you?

Getting consumers to buy a product that could be perceived as "out-of-date" and even low-quality is definitely a challenge, especially when it's in a category that's flooded with new products on a seemingly monthly basis.

This challenge prompted Unilever to take a different, more sly approach. They decided to test a new product line, evaus, with beauty bloggers.  They wanted to know if the bloggers would put their name with the new line and recommend it to their followers.  After two weeks of trying the product, the bloggers' feedback was quite positive.

Here's the sly part: All the bloggers were invited to an event in NYC where it was unveiled that the product they tried and loved was actually that "out-of-date", low quality product they may have dissed in the past. The product was Suave (that's evaus spelled backwards for those of you following along) after all. 

Now, there's always risk in taking this "trickery" approach, especially with bloggers, as we've seen with Marie Callender's trick on food bloggers, but, being confident in its product, Unilever was willing to take the chance and it paid off. This approach is a great illustration of how sometimes a consumer needs to have a true experience with a product to understand it's value, and even overcome bad perceptions. 

An experience that makes you pay attention

Distractions are a big problem.  Just about everyday a new article comes out about the dangers of crossing the street while distracted, yet people continue to do it.

To get the point across in a more impactful way, the Road Safety Authority France launched a new experiential campaign targeting people not paying attention. A billboard equipped with motion-detecting sensors was set up at a crosswalk. Any time a pedestrian crossed against the light, the billboard made terrifying tire screeching noises to frighten the pedestrian into thinking they might be hit by a car. The billboard then went a step further to capture the horrified expressions on pedestrians' faces the moment they thought could be their last, with a message to pay attention and not risk their lives. 

This is a campaign anyone can get behind--promoting safety and possibly saving someone's life at the same time. Yes, it may have been a bit horrifying for pedestrians, but sometimes the most impactful experiences are the most disruptive and uncomfortable ones. 

Watch adorable kids doing grownup work

When you're a timesheet platform, even the best CX can't change the fact that using your product is essentially a boring experience. So, what do you do?

Toggl fully embraces the daily work grind by showing adorable kids doing what we all daydream about. Who hasn't wanted to chuck those tax forms right out the window?

We love when brands can poke a little fun at themselves. It almost makes us want to get back to work. Almost.

Ok Google, what should I wear?

When Google first introduced the 'Search by image' feature, the world was blown away. (Ok, maybe not the whole world, just Google enthusiasts.)

Now Google has a new search feature on the Android Google app called "style ideas", which enhances fashion product image searches with other outfits and ideas. Sure, this could be done manually, but just think of how much faster you can build your next wardrobe.

The beauty is in how simply Google tailored the 'Google Image Search' experience - with just a few words and some tweaks to their search algorithms. We won't be surprised to see other variations of this concept in the future.

Now, Google - does this dress make me look fat?

Ways to up your gif game

Let's talk about gifs. We love them. Gifs of cats, gifs of Ryan Reynolds, gifs of Obama dancing on a pizza. But they can be so much more.

When Bandcamp announced changes to their online ordering system - a truly uninspiring topic - they did so with gifs. Just look at it. Can you imagine how many words it would have taken to describe all those steps?

Given that many internet users aren't tech-saavy or patient, it's impressive to see "boring" content transformed into such a simple, accessible format. It shows that brands can always create a better user experience, no matter what the content is.

Ford: Go Further... with babies

New parents shopping for a family car have a lot riding on their decision, so finding a brand to trust is a challenge.

Designed with parents in mind, Ford Spain created The Max Motor Dreams baby crib for fussy babies that only fall asleep on car rides. The crib recreates the experience of a moving car for that soothing, sleep-inducing effect. Parents rejoice! And know that their daily plight goes acknowledged.

We love CX moments like this - a rite of passage turned into a humorous and empathetic brand message.

If you can't look up, look down

It's probably not a shock to learn that accidents are caused by texting or distracted driving (and if you didn't know, now you do). 

In the Netherlands, the city of Bodengraven is testing a technology called "Plus Lightlines" to address the issue. It serves the same purpose as a crosswalk light, except it's in the ground, where distracted eyes are already looking.

While it may not seem like such a big deal, the "Plus Lightline" harnesses an obvious behavior - people looking at smartphones are looking down - and creates a safer experience around it.

Flying – no thanks, I’ll just have my car drive me

The future of flying is…the self-driving car? An estimate from IHS Automotive projects 54 million autonomous vehicles on the road by 2035, which is a mere 18 years away. Seems hard to believe, but experts are predicting self-driving cars could change many aspects of air travel as we know it today. Those short flights you take on a commuter plane today – you could instead hop in your car and get a few hours of work done…uninterrupted. No lines, no hassle. And for those cross-country flights you must take – avoid paying parking fees by having your car drop you off and go back home. It all still sounds a little Jetsons today, but hopefully it would only improve the current airport situation.

I'll eat my water, thank you...

After two years of development, a new compostable one-portion serving of water is ready to hit the market. Three London-based design students saw a need to reduce the number of disposable bottles that continue to be dumped in landfills. They created their first prototype of an edible bottle back in 2014. Skipping Rocks lab is now bringing the Ooho to market using the culinary technique spherification, the same process used to add juice balls to boba tea. The outer membrane is made from a gelatin-like substance and is edible or can be composted. The initial target is outdoor cafes or events such as festivals, races, etc. And as the Ooho doesn’t come with a lid, the portion size is meant to be small and consumable in one go. Skipping Rocks labs has a crowdfunding campaign setup to raise money to finalize manufacturing equipment so end users can manufacture these little pods on-site, also eliminating the need for trucking. Seems like this product still has a way to go before it becomes mainstream, but will it eventually replace the easy to grab but bad for the environment water bottle?

My kitchen table is a touchscreen!

Remember when the coolest device was your “smartphone” that had a slide down keyboard for easy texting? While kids today don’t even remember life before tablets, there is now new, cool technology that takes things one step further. Sony announced the Xperia Touch, a portable projector that turns any flat surface into an interactive touch-screen. Game night used to mean dragging out the Monopoly board and fighting over the coveted car and/or dog game piece…now you simply can clean off a flat surface and be on your interactive way. This device can even be set-up to know when someone is near and display a message. Long-gone is the white board to keep track of your dorm-mate’s whereabouts! What will they think of next?

I promise to be nice…can I keep using my stuff?

For many people a connected home is now a standard way of life. Video doorbells help monitor deliveries, auto door locks allow us to let service people in our house remotely and video cameras help you keep tabs on what the dogs are up to all day (hint: usually sleeping). And while some of the technology is still relatively new and glitches are to be expected, one customer found out taking his frustration to the Internet was met with an unexpected retort from the manufacturer. A Garadget (manufacturer of internet-connected garage door opener) customer left a not so nice comment on a support forum immediately followed up by a negative review on Amazon after his device wasn’t working as expected. The company responded by disabling the customer’s device. They followed that up by posting a less-than-professional response to the review on Amazon. You can guess what happened next…onslaught of comments and negative backlash. This product/service that was meant to make life easier not only didn't work as planned, but also provided an "icky" customer experience. People expect their issues to be resolved, not to be called out and cut-off! Whatever happened to taking the high road? But the real question here is – if you rely on someone else to service your device – does it really belong to you?

How much do you love your dog?

Do you love your dog enough to buy a car specifically made with canines in mind? Nissan is betting yes with their SUV concept X-Trail 4Dogs. Approximately 44% of American households have a dog and based on size, temperament and quantity of pooches, traveling with your pup(s) can be less than ideal. Recognizing that, Nissan set out to improve the experience with this ingenious model, boasting a custom premium wipe-clean leather cargo area with a dog-cam to keep tabs on your pooch. Other features include a shower and blow dryer to clean up after a “ruff” day, a built-in water bowl and dog treat dispenser and even a slide-away ramp for easy and mess-free entry. Dogs lucky enough to ride in one of these will make most humans born before 1980 jealous…the 3rd seat of the family truckster station wagon has nothing on this vehicle!

Crave a Coke and an icepick

It's a hot day at the beach and you're looking for something to drink and you happen upon an 8 ton block of ice in the sand with 500 Coca-Cola cans frozen inside.  Wow...its my lucky day!

This genius activation was set up at Ipanema Beach in Brazil to promote Coke's new packaging.  Not only did it spur interest and excitement, it required patience to chip the cans out of the ice which extended the brand bonding experience and instilled brand loyalty.

This activation also was a great backdrop for a video promoting their product and their new packaging design.

Is that billboard watching me?

You are scurrying through an underground shopping plaza and of course you notice all the billboards on the walls and hanging from the ceilings. don't? Well you might have noticed this one and for a kicker...the billboard would actually notice you back.

A Canadian billboard company, with the help of an ad agency, created this interactive billboard for Mazda. This billboard recognizes your head has turned and, in real time, has a counter of how many heads have turned for the billboard so far.  Another example of interactive marketing and the application of "smart ads" that are springing up in high traffic urban areas.  Such interactive ads immerse the consumer in the product a bit more than just an ad on a piece of vinyl.

Next time you notice a billboard take a good look at it to be sure it is not noticing you back!

Cool cobranding partnership

You are a hip, young entrepreneur who thrives on social interaction and is looking for a place to work so where do you go?  NO...not your parents' basement!  Staples has partnered with a local coworking space company (Workbar) and set up coworking office space in several of its Boston area stores. This co-branded partnership, called Workbar at Staples, broadens the customer base of Workbar, utilizes excess store capacity at Staples and also establishes a pipeline for new small business customers.

It is a smart marriage of businesses and services to begin a new revenue stream for Staples while broadening the customer experience of the Workbar clientele.  Where can you go to work, run out of #2 lead pencil refills, have your computer battery die and walk several steps to solve all these problems?  Since the coworking phenomena has recently snowballed -  I would not be surprised that there will be more of these partnerships to enhance customer experiences.

Ditch the bank plastic

So even in this digital age your wallet is still packed with your plastic bank cards, store credit cards, rewards cards and your college ID from 10 years ago (but I looked sooo good in that picture!)?  Fear not because Wells Fargo has just found a way to lighten your load.

Beginning this week you can use your Wells Fargo app on your smartphone to withdraw money at all their ATM machines - no need to use your bank card.  Upon request the app will generate a unique code which, when entered along with your PIN #, will access your account. Other major banks will soon offer similar technology.

A great selling point in the highly competitive bank market.  This customer experience improvement is worth more than a free toaster! You can now grab that cash for nephew Bobby's birthday card on your way home from your jog.

This coaster use to be a car

The bar is meant to be a fun, upbeat, kick back and let go of the day kind of experience. But that experience has the potential go very differently, very quickly. This powerful drunk driving activation is a reminder of that.

A drunk driving awareness group Arrive Alive has teamed up with a Canadian bar (The Emmet Ray) to send a message to its patrons.  It began serving drinks on metal coasters made from the wreckage of cars that were involved in drunk driving accidents.  The coasters read "This coaster used to be a car that never made it home". If that doesn't send the message home, I don't know what will.

Bars have always had a responsibility problem in the perception of the general public, but a business who shows they care a little more than the others may woo over additional patrons . . . and maybe save a life.

Now your brand news diet is chockfull of tasty tales of Customer Experiences (CX). Served-fresh every morning for your daily recommended dose of marketing inspirations. Never sugar coated. May contain nuts. Archives | Look back at these past bites