360 Live Media CEO Don Neal suggests most brands don’t realize the business they’re really in

The longtime events pro offers an algorithm to calculate value, a new way think about "THEME" and a model that shows how destinies are determined

There’s nothing that says “chore” quite like building a box for kitty litter, but when Don Neal assembled one recently he realized that even this was an opportunity for customer experience innovation too good to waste.

First, as he began flipping through the instructions, was a little drawing of a cat with a suggestion to “think outside the litter box,” that made him smile. Next was a page on the right tools, where a screwdriver was shown at its actual size and a hammer, the instructions emphasized, was not.

There was also an image of a drill with a circle and a line going through it. “Skip the power trip,” it said underneath.

“Somebody designing a 40-page instruction manual for something I didn’t want to do made it interesting and engaging and experiential for me,” Neal, CEO of 360 Live Media, pointed out during his keynote earlier this week at the American Marketing Association’s Experience Design virtual conference.

Neal has been involved with some of the world’s best-known events, including the Aspen Ideas Festival and SXSW, and he had been talking about high-impact experiential marketing campaigns with the likes of Adidas.

“Most of your don’t have Adidas budgets,” he admitted, but he suggested that what’s more important is how brands create experiences based on using a particular time and place to have an impact.

“(An experience) must leave some trace of emotional residue,” he said. “It has to touch our hearts, influence our minds and ultimately they impact behaviour.”

Neal offered a number different constructs to make this easier for marketers. His full session is available on-demand for free and is well worth viewing, but if you don’t have time to watch, subscribe or log in to learn:

  • How to meet customers where they are — no matter where they are
  • A “life orientation model” that can help identify what customers need
  • The key to defining what business you’re really in

What Changes Customer Behaviour

As the world stays in amid the novel Coronavirus outbreak, toilet paper has been at a premium for most consumers. It makes it particularly timely, therefore, that Neal offered a story about Charmin.

He recalled, for instance, an

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