May 05, 2010

The Digital Brand Experience: Making Life Easier

So much of our association with brands is now happening in the digital world that it is time to consider how this is affecting our quality of life. Services that are typically provided offline are being offset and augmented by their digital counterparts. Without even getting into augmented reality, I'd like to look at how some simple interactions have changed in recent months.

Back in February, I used my first completely digital boarding pass on my iPhone for a Delta flight heading to Boston.The process was extremely smooth and allowed me to breeze through check-in without the normal hassles of lines at the kiosk or a crumpled piece of paper in my pocket. I've really come to detest paper for meaningless functions like this...not to mention that I always end up wrinkling boarding passes almost beyond recognition and receive the strangest looks from the airline agents. When will this kind of thinking work for airline security? My phone and my license were all that I needed. Beautiful.

Another example is Starbucks. I am truly, madly, and deeply a Chai latte addict. Although, I do switch to a "Grande No-Whip Chai Creme Frappuccino" when the temperature is above seventy degrees. (I have no idea when or where they trained me to say such things as "Grande No-Whip Chai Creme Frappuccino."). But I can't remember when I didn't have the Starbucks app on my iPhone. I can check my balance and reload my card with funds before the person at the counter can tell me there is no more money on my card. Beautiful. Elegant. This is what technology was meant for. To make MY life easier. To enhance MY lifestyle. The life I was already living is improved by my use of technology to make mundane tasks more bearable and even enjoyable because it works. It really works. Except that now I spend even more money with Starbucks. And now they are rolling out the phone scanning ability so I won't even have to carry the card around anymore. Love it.

I recognize that I embrace technology more readily than many others (writing this post on an iPad), but for the technology that really works I see no problems with adoption by the masses. Utilizing digital to improve our lifestyle is what it is all about. Of course, digital strategy, brand strategy, beautiful interfaces, and experience are paramount to this all working well. We'll save the failures to talk about another time.


[Post contributed by Emily Carroll]