BMW, British Airways and Grokker: which offers the best brand experience? | DMA

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BMW, British Airways and Grokker: which offers the best brand experience?

In June, members of the DMA’s Brand Activation Council paid a visit to a Taste of London – the capital’s biggest annual festival of food – to find what kind of experience some of the world’s biggest brands offer to consumers. Here’s part 2 of their report…

BMW in the driving seat
We know and admire BMW as an exciting, aspirational and highly technologically savvy brand. They deliver the Ultimate Driving Machine, typically bought by a demographic who already use apps to clean their teeth and gesture-operated TVs as pillows.

BMW provided a car showcase area as people entered the Taste of London site, and offered a competition to win a car and test drive. Although, surprisingly for a high technical brand, we were left with a pen and paper in the rain to fill out a form and post it in the drop box. Disappointing.

British Airways: the height of taste
The big brands at Taste of London tried hard to make their presence unique and engaging, and a high point of the festival was the ‘Height Cuisine’ experience from British Airways.

The mock fuselage installation, located within the BA Height Cuisine garden area, was initially eye catching. And, from then on, the engagement felt like a true airline experience – except that it was all free! Yes, absolutely no money (nor ‘Crowns’ – the crafty tender of the Festival) required; making it a truly unique food and drink experience for standard ticket holders at Taste of London 2013.

To start the experience, we queued with over 20 others to book a Masterclass seat. The only one available was for Afternoon Tea presented by Twinings – so, yes, we missed tasting a preview of the new British Airways A380 food and wine menu. Boo.

At the desk, the uniformed BA staff took our names in return for Boarding Passed for our numbered seats - a nice experiential touch. When we returned later, for the experience, we were warmly welcomed by BA cabin crew, shown to our seats and given headphones to help with the commentary.

All passengers were encouraged, by the Twinings tea expert, to enjoy the sandwiches and cakes in front of us, while he took us through tastings of two teas and two infusions. All was good, but, a little surprisingly, there was no sign of the British Airways signature blend.

During the ‘flight’, tea-related questions were encouraged, and some were rewarded with a little limited edition gift. And, before disembarking, every passenger received a box of Twinings samples and a BA flight toiletries bag.

If we were being picky, there were a few brand experience extras that we felt could have been inexpensively added to make for a more immersive flight. Plus, we would have been willing to share personal data and answer questions, even complete a survey (good grief!), in return for the enjoyable Height Cuisine experience – in fact, we were surprised that no data was captured, at all, by BA nor Twinings.

Despite some typical visitor journey steps missing, this ‘High Tea’ Height Cuisine experience was the stand-out experiential offering for us at Taste of London 2013. The Height Cuisine offer changed through the day and different sessions scheduled a Tasting Menu, Korean Menu and Cheese & Wine, as well as the High Tea. With introductions from Mark Tazzioli, BA’s chief exec, and his colleagues, it was a great experience that allowed us mere mortals to step into the epicurial world of the First Class and Club World Traveller.

Grokker: best of the best
Grokker are a small new brand which only launched in April 2013. We were stopped on our way around by a representative from Grokker who had an iPad and asked us to sign up to a foodie website offering tips and advice on all things food related, recipies, ingredients etc.

You could either sign up using your Facebook or simply enter your first name, surname and email address into the application. In return for signing up we were given a choice of three brownies.

Immediately after signing up we received the below email and were asked to choose a homemade brownie as a ‘reward’ for signing up. We clicked on the link to confirm and were prompted to enter a name and create a password. On entering the site we were then asked to enter preferences in terms of food; Asian, Italian etc.

This subsequently gave us full access to the site which has three core areas of information: cooking, yoga and fitness. We subsequently received a follow-up email which contains information that is relevant to the choices we made initially when registering.

Overall, we found Grokker’s activity simple but very effective: the use of mobile devices and integration with social media was good; the staff were friendly and engaging and explained the process fully; the immediacy of the registration email coming through was impactful; and the relevance of the communication we received after the initial registration is relevant to the choices we made, therefore using data gathered intelligently. However, while the first registration email was personalised the follow-up email was not.

That said, while Grokker is a small brand, of all the brands we saw it was the only one we encountered with a fully integrated approach.

By guest bloggers from the DMA Brand Activation Council

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