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If in doubt, remove friction

That was one of the simple messages behind Contagious’ seminar in Cannes.  Co-founder Paul Kemp-Robinson and consultants Will Samson and Katrina Dodd walked us through a number of case studies from around the world that highlighted what people (not consumers) are beginning to expect from the brands they choose to interact with.

The overall message was simple – create emotional and practical value and you’ll reap the rewards. After all, people want deeper meaning, they want to become stakeholders in your brand, and they’re willing to do so as long as they get something beneficial in return.

One of Will’s points that resonated with me was the fact that agencies often put the latest technology trend ahead of their customers’ needs – people don’t care if you’re using ‘a world first in augmented reality’, they just want you to make their lives better in some way. In order to build lasting relationships and not just one-off transactions, we need to take a good look at the various customer journeys out there and map out the areas where they need help. Then we can use the latest technologies in an appropriate way to remove any friction.

Take the Red Tomato fridge magnet for instance. It’s a pizza delivery button on your fridge. You set up your favourite pizza online and then when you feel like one, you simply press the button and it gets delivered to your door. All the smart stuff (i.e. the button connecting to your phone, placing the order and paying for it) happens in the background.

Brands are no longer just badges, they have a role to play in creating a better world and it’s up to us as their agencies to help them become more creatively generous.