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How to make the small things unforgettable

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This post is by James Welch, a senior consultant with TrinityP3.  A seasoned communications professional, based in Singapore since 2012,  James helps creative, digital and media agencies boost their clients’ brands and businesses across Asia Pacifica and Europe.

Small things count. Or rather, let’s start to appreciate that the small things count.

I was in a meeting the other day with Darren Woolley of TrinityP3. The project is an agency assessment – how to evaluate the relationships between agencies and this particular advertising client. Darren talked through the Issues Matrix.

The Issues Matrix

“To build a relationship fix the big issues and fix the regular issues. If there are big, regular issues the relationship is over already! Fixing big issues might take time. But the regular, little issues are the ones that are unnecessary and will create a relationship breakdown.”

Think about the little things in life

Take a plane ride for example.

When was the last time you sat on a plane and had someone a bit stinky sitting next to you?

You had nothing in common with the person. So you put on your headphones, sank deeper into your chair and by the time the film was half way through, you’d forgotten – for the moment – all about him.

And then on the return flight the person next to you was a little old lady who hardly acknowledged you. Again, you put on the headphones and drift off in oblivion. You watch the movie of your choice.

What commercial messages did you see on that trip? The bank’s video for wealth management, the sports car driving in Italy (or was it Japan?) or the pic of that Swiss watch? And you know what?
The little old lady and the stinky bloke both saw the same ads. Why? Because the airline’s not tailoring its ads. Not even slightly.

When I stay in a smart hotel, on occasion the TV screen is already on and it says “Welcome, Mr Welch”. Well, imagine if the airline had the ability to recognise that I’m likely to be sitting in my allocated seat. They know where I flew recently.

They could start to learn what content I watch on long flights and short flights. They could start to do little things like recommending content – like Outbrain does on websites across the globe. “People who like this also like…”

Make the small things unforgettable

That’s what we start to need to achieve as a communications industry. Data can help us achieve this. As Kristian Barnes wrote on Campaign Asia the other day about sociocultural tools supplementing big data analysis: ” Am I what I am? Or am I what I am online?” His thesis is that he’s being stalked online and is not delighted by the data that could be collected about him.

But brands can get it right with basic use of data – look at what Southwest Airlines is doing – just that. I love this idea although I don’t love this video.

Yes, I love the idea that an airline is using data to make the customer journey more memorable, more useful, more interesting, more valuable.

The path to purchase

So, two things come to mind. First, let’s consider the data available across the path to purchase.

Path to purchase

Second, let’s look at making the little things count. Let’s flip Darren’s Issues Matrix and create The Surprise and Delight Matrix:

Surprise-delight matrix

What have you seen of late that makes a journey more memorable thanks to good use of data? What has surprised and delighted you?

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James is TrinityP3's Business Director for Singapore and Hong Kong and is a seasoned communications professional. He has worked across many areas of the advertising and media spectrum, most recently, James was Managing Director of WPP’s Media Innovation Group (MIG) across Asia Pacific. Connect with James on LinkedIn

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