Brand Experience Lessons From The Big D

Image of stadium inside

I was staying across the street from AT&T HQ in downtown Dallas last week.  I was awake early Friday, enjoying my first cup of coffee and decided to step outside the hotel lobby to catch a little Texas morning sun.

I immediately noticed the long line forming down Ackard Street outside of the AT&T retail store.  The Apple enthusiasts were out early to get their hands on the eagerly anticipated iPhone5. 5 million sales in 3 days from launch wasn’t about 5 million people that needed a phone. People are obsessed over the next iteration of the iLife experience.  I wanted to get my hands on the experience right then and there but I didn’t want to miss my first meeting.

I arrived for that meeting early and decided to grab a Pumpkin Spice Latte and a good seat outside. This Starbucks set up perfectly for our morning meeting and I ended up staying into the lunch hour.  I love Starbucks as the road office and that has little to do with my desire for a good cup of coffee.  I want their exceptional, consistent experience as my third place.  The Starbucks I am typing from right now in Bismarck, ND delivers the same outstanding Pumpkin Spice Latte. That works for me and if I happen to prefer that my beverage of choice be available year round, well, they would be more than happy to hear about My Starbucks Idea.  They know that business works better when it’s social.

With the business week winding down I knew part of our weekend agenda would include working out.  With the younger brother that also means a little competition. Unfortunately, I had forgotten my shoes.  So there we stood on Friday night in a local Sporting Goods store eying up a wall of athletic shoe options.  I hesitated and he immediately chimed in, “Dude, you have to go Nike Free.”  I was done. Power of peer influence. I didn’t need to be Steve Prefontaine, but I knew I couldn’t let the kid have an edge with lighter, better, faster shoes. I suppose it wasn’t about the shoes.  It was about winning, after all, that is the Nike experience and absolutely worth my $100.

{Performance Report: the shoes are terrific….he ran me into the ground.  Rematch in December}.

On Sunday morning I entered Cowboys Stadium expecting a special experience.  I am a casual NFL fan at best but I can appreciate just about any solid sporting event.  America’s Team delivers a Sunday afternoon unlike anything I have ever experienced.  Football is also included.  Take the tour of what a billion dollar venue offers in entertainment.  They are the second most valuable franchise in sports for a reason.  How bout that Cowboys experience!

Brand Experience counts.  Its adds up to big business.  But large or small there are valuable lessons learned from even a casual observation of these category leading brands.

Theses brands win by creating something we didn’t know we wanted until we experienced it.  They connect emotionally and compel us to come back for more.  It isn’t just about what they do but largely about how they are doing business.

They don’t stop short at fulfilling a need.  That is a crowded, largely cost driven place.  They elevate to compete in an entirely different category of experience.

What unique, remarkable experience do you own and deliver consistently that your customers (or colleagues) simply won’t live without?

Worth considering.

Is how you do business or deliver your work product special?

Worth knowing.  Go ask a customer today.

{TIP:  If it is special they are already talking to other people about you.}

I want the WOW experience.  So often, I didn’t know I wanted it at first.  Great brands reset expectations.

There is a big marketplace, full of abundant opportunity for wow.

Good enough simply isn’t anymore.  Average is over.  For everyone.

The good news is now is pretty good time to Rethink Possible.

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