Espresso of Innovation: Hacking the Relationship

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Hello and welcome to this week’s Espresso of Innovation; the hottest news and strongest stories from the world of creativity and technology filtered into a quick shot of inspiration. This week we want brands to make our lives better.
As digital behaviours become ever more pervasive in our day-to-day interactions, companies’ mobile, online and physical channels will need to deliver a consistent brand relationship and seamless consumer experience as standard. While this may seem a huge logistical challenge, with a clear strategy and clever use of technology, brands can achieve great things that will put them ahead of the competition.
Following on from Tesco’s commuter hack of virtual shopping in South Korea’s train stations and London’s Gatwick Airport, supermarket chain DIA is re-examining the grocery shopping experience for time-poor workers who don’t want the hassle of a supermarket shop or to wait at home for a delivery. They’re working with Airtag to test a service that enables customers to order goods via their smartphone and collect them later from the store. The goods remain fresh in a refrigerated locker during the waiting period and they can only be opened using a code sent to the customer’s phone.
Apple’s iBeacon technology, originally designed to give added value at retail POS, is being hacked to improve other brand interactions. Rubens’ House in Antwerp uses it to send additional content to visitors’ phones. The accompanying sensors were installed throughout the building. Their small size and wireless connection ensure that the sensors fitted into the architecture without any damage. Push notifications sent to smartphones and other mobile devices connect people in close proximity, notifying them of the stories behind different paintings and works, and a GPS system maps the entire building.
Speaking of museums and innovative technologies, The Tate Gallery in London has awarded its IK Prize 2014 to the design studio The Workers for their “After Dark” project. This project will allow people to explore the museum at night using remote-controlled robots. During the night-time tour of the museum, people can take a closer look at the artworks and broadcast their adventures and live commentary to the world, all from the comfort of their own home.
And finally we are seeing brands beginning to tap in to wearables to elevate calibre of service. Virgin Atlantic used Google Glass and Smart Watches to personalize airport check-ins for upper class passengers. The concierge service greeted these passengers by name as soon as they arrived to begin the check-in, provided travellers with information on their flight, the weather and events taking place at their destination, and even translated all this into different languages if required.
To strengthen their relationships, brands shouldn’t be afraid of using latest technologies to improve their consumer experience. Being brave allows brands to better grow their equity – a beta test that fails is better than not trying at all. Consumers are more forgiving than we think, so let’s ask ourselves a question: how can we hack your relationships?