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This is a case study about a controlled quantitative experiment. The
hypothesis in this experiment was as follows:
“If we can create a customer experience through design that influences the
meanings people associate with a brand, then we can change their behavior
towards the brand.”
Now that hypothesis does not sound particularly controversial to a room full
of people invested in the topic of customer experience. On the other hand,
let’s be honest – the people invested in the topic of customer experience still
represent a minority within the typical corporate enterprise. And you have
probably learned that conversations about “brand meaning” should only be
pursued after you have verified that you’re speaking to a colleague with an
appreciation for marketing.
If you happen to work in one of those typical corporate enterprises, where
your voice is the minority voice – where “brand” is frequently misunderstood
as a logo, and where you have a challenge of convincing people to invest in
customer experience, then this case study offers you three interesting
features:
First – it comes from a credible, well-known brand. Symantec is the FOURTH
largest software maker in the world.
Second – the experiment produced not just qualitative evidence of success
but quantitative data supporting the business case for customer experience
investment.
Third - because this was an experiment, rather than a mainstream corporate
strategy, we have the opportunity to open up the creative strategy process a
little more than usual, and share the logic path and the creative method that
led to the experimental results.
I think you’ll find it is a pretty useful story.
Let’s now turn our attention to the business context for this case.
Norton is a brand that was acquired by Symantec, and one that had enough
presence in the consumer’s mind that Symantec decided to maintain Norton as a
consumer brand while aiming Symantec at B2B customers.
Many of you will be familiar with Norton’s products – a suite of anti-virus,
internet security and back-up tools that protect consumers from a myriad of
accidental or malicious threats to the preservation of their files, and the
protection of their confidential data.
Something that is interesting about this product line, is that while it is entirely
software – in other words it contains no atoms, only bits, it weighs nothing, it
takes up no physical space, it reflects no light and has no colour…you’d never
know that from the way the product has historically been represented, even at
Symantec’s on-line store.
The other key point to add here is that the product works in the
background…there is no conscious or obvious customer engagement. It’s
invisible in all behavioral respects too. What Symantec’s challenge has
been/continues to be…and was the point of this experiment…is to make the
product more meaningful and provide a platform for customers to engage with
the brand.
Great marketing today requires a blend of traditional and contemporary skill sets.
There’s the need for foundational understanding of how to connect with human
beings, position messages based on feature, benefits and values and to produce
great creative.
But, modern marketers are also now required to be highly accountable. There’s an
arsenal of supporting technologies to understand and leverage and a mandate to
produce more measurable results. Plus, the opportunities for brand engagement
are now more plentiful than ever before with the availability of numerable
channel opportunities offline and online.
To be a modern marketer, you need sound strategy, intelligent tactics and a
positive feedback loop based on measurement. And, all the while you need to
bring a high degree of courage and judgment– overall, it’s a daunting, but
incredibly exciting challenge to be a modern marketer.
And, that’s what this case is about; this case demonstrates the positive results
that can be achieved when we employ a modern marketer’s tool kit to drive the
design and delivery of an exceptional digital customer experience.
The creative strategy for marketing Norton
products for quite a long time has been based
on what advertising people call the “halitosis”
sell.
This kind of advertising has had quite a long
run of success but a question we began to ask
ourselves - a question that led to the Norton
Lounge Experiment – was whether that kind of
brand message was in fact running out of
steam among the customers abandoning the
service.
The product commuication/messaging was
always more focused on fear…and in some
cases on visuals of actual bad guy hackers
themselves. In fact…those visuals even used to
be in the lobbies of Symantec’s World HQ
buildings! Classic old school FUD sell.
A beautiful thing about the software business is how well it scales. The incremental cost for one more version of software is quite modest. What
makes the software business even more beautiful is the idea of subscription, allowing you to sell the software over and over to the same customer.
Of course all this happiness hinges on one thing: that customers keep coming back for more. And that makes “customer retention” – or churn –
depending on whether you’re a glass half full or glass half empty kind of marketer, a very salient metric in the operation of the Norton business.
Oddly though, while Symantec has tracked customer retention, and calculated its value to the business, it is relatively recently that Symantec began
to do anything in particular about it. Symantec, in fact, had a policy about not talking to customers during certain stages of the renewal calendar.
The team we were working with had a responsibility to call out this point and to start challenging conventional wisdom, working with agency partner
Quarry to help Norton make the transition from a product-focused to a customer-focused organization.
The sub-set of customers that Symantec’s project champion was responsible for was a highly profitable group who elected not to opt-out of the
annual auto-renew default on the billing page of their subscription. Symantec really wanted to retain as many of these customers as possible
because doing so creates a snowball of profits.
Symantec considered many ways to reinforce “customer loyalty” – including preferential pricing, exclusive access to new products, and various other
“loyalty rewards.” For each one of these considered, there always appeared to be a good reason not to pursue these tactics. Admittedly, Symantec
kind of backed into trying to achieve its goals through a digital customer experience; it was the option that remained open after perhaps more
obvious “loyalty” program ideas were crossed off the list.
Symantec had a strong motivation to drive online vs retail/manual renewals; online is more profitable and drives longer tenure/retention benefits.
The team asked: how could it engage with customers more relevantly and authentically online?
Conversations with Quarry led to the hypothesis that Symantec tested in the marketing experiment, which was called the Norton Lounge.
“By testing the value of acknowledging the status of our highest value customers - Symantec could increase retention and business value through
customer experience design.”
Here are the results of this experiment.
In a nutshell – Symantec measured the effect of the Norton lounge by redirecting a randomized sample of existing auto-renew customers who were on the
company’s e-store website and in the process of dumping their Norton subscription. “Dumping” means opting out of Auto-renewal and, effectively-for the
long-term, putting the relationship between the customer and Symantec at risk.
For the experimental population, Symantec intercepted the customer’s abandon path, and took them through a content experience called The Norton Lounge.
Symantec then compared abandonments of the control group and the experimental group, and found that the Lounge content experience, showing up while
subscribers were attempting to abandon their Norton service, influenced nearly 3% of the abandon path customers to stay with the good ship Norton.
The skeptics among you might say: was it the Lounge experience itself or a persuasive pitch to stick around, or merely the distraction of something getting in
the path of the abandon process? Well –Symantec’s experimental measurement approach controlled for all these possibilities, and the bottom line is that the
Lounge was the deciding factor – and a factor that these experimental results would project to an additional $1.5 million in incremental profit for the year,
based on influencing just this sub-set of the customer base.
Depending on how you roll, $1.5 million might look like a big number or a small number to you. But the important thing here is that Symantec has an
experimental finding with quantitative proof that experience matters – that investing in experience can improve the bottom line, and that it can keep on
mattering all the way through the customer lifecycle – even at the point where customers have decided to abandon your service.
Now, let’s discuss the creative process and strategy that went into producing this effect.
A clever chap I once had the pleasure to work
with shared with me a saying that is etched in
my mind: I like questions better than answers –
they have a longer half-life.
The Lounge strategy proved out quantitative
results, but it began with a very qualitative
kind of question: What if:
“What if the motivations we need to tap into
to promote customer retention go beyond
“safety needs” ?
In other words, is it possible that we could
improve retention if we could engage Norton
customers – especially those planning to
abandon their subscription—on the basis of
brand meanings that reside higher in a
hierarchy of needs? At the level of self-
actualization goals as opposed to safety goals?
It’s one thing to ask a question like: What if we could connect with a
different buying narrative than the one that has historically prevailed?
But, in a big corporation, it can be quite another thing to act on it.
People familiar with the laddering of benefits might find this to be a
perfectly natural question; however, in large organizations with an
entrenched idea about the brand narrative, there are many gate-
keepers and barriers to anything that might touch the brand.
This is where framing of the initiative came into play: Because this was
a controlled experiment, restricted only to those people who had
already decided to abandon the product, the organization had very
little risk - no tangible downside to contemplate apart from the cost of
creating the project. On the other hand, the upside was the ability to
both achieve an economic gain, and also learn something important
about customers and their relationship to the brand.
I think this is the kind of framing that savvy customer experience
innovators have learned to look for and apply – and it was certainly
part of getting the Lounge initiative sold through and budgeted.
The best marketing executions draw on a customer insight.
Customer insights are often answers hiding in plain sight and here was one: We live our lives on-line. At
least for many of us born before 1995 or so, the internet has been transformative in our experience, and
mostly in a positive way.
When we laddered Norton’s benefits up from “safety” by asking “why is that important” in the context
of this insight, we zeroed in on a brand meaning that we wanted to get across in every facet of this
digital experience - We phrased it this way: “Norton helps people live their on-line lives to the fullest,
confident that with Norton products and services they are well-equipped to do so.”
This was the glass half full way of thinking about internet security – because we have great tools like
Norton, we really can live lives that are enriched in many ways because of our access to the internet.
From a creative strategy standpoint, we decided: Let’s attach Norton security to this positive narrative
and see where that takes us.
For those of you involved directly in the conception and creation of digital customer experience
you may be familiar with the idea of “concept models.” These are metaphors that can be used
to sharpen your digital experience design strategy. (If you want to follow-up on this idea
further, visit http://www.quarry.com/experiencedesign for some literature on the use of this
heuristic).
The concept model we struck upon was a “frequent flyer lounge.”
Air travel is crowded, dehumanizing, and given over to utilitarian values and goals. But, the
frequent flyer lounge is un-crowded, people address you by your name, and sometimes a
lounge even has some artwork on the walls or an interior design that stands in deliberate
contrast to the monumentalist aesthetic of the typical airport.
Arriving at this metaphor early helped us frame subsequent creative decisions according to these axioms:
• We’ll make visitors feel as if they are being treated as the exception to the rule
• We’ll emphasize recognition, as opposed to rewards
• We’ll recognize their status as valued customers, without projecting any of our own assumptions about “loyalty”
• We’ll personalize what is often impersonal, and humanize what is often mechanical
• We’ll tailor the experience to the browsing platform of choice (not so widespread at the time of this initiative.)
• We’ll cultivate the impression of a premium brand experience through the aesthetics of the site
If I can go meta for a moment to address the experience designers viewing this presentation: do you see here just how
generative a single metaphor can be in guiding a coherent design? This can be a really powerful creative method.
Going back to the strategic business objective for the experience we were creating – we were interested in reducing abandonment
from existing customers.
People abandoning a service have made a judgment about value. Given that Norton has competitors and substitutes that are
cheaper, and in some cases free, we felt the site experience should reinforce the idea that Norton is a premium brand. How do you
do that?
One way is to invoke associations with high culture. Go to the symphony, the opera, an art gallery, the ballet, a performance of
Shakespeare—and you’re bound to find premium brands lurking in the program. It’s no accident – those associations with high
culture add to the status of the brand – and make that status accessible for transfer to the identity of the consumer.
The visual arts – photography, painting, sculpture –are all employed in this way too. So we knew that it was consistent with our
strategy to create a non-utilitarian look – one that emphasized aesthetics, and leveraged visual content in an artistic way.
The next step was then to curate a selection of photographs that conveyed this deeper message about premium brand, while also
conveying a more direct metaphorical association with the customer benefit of Norton ”Well equipped to live your digital life full-
out.”
When we saw the little guy with the helmet catching mad air – we knew we had hit upon something. The next step was to run it up
the flagpole.
Now, those of you who work inside big corporations might recognize that swapping out a decade-old habit of featuring a product
box on every web page and replacing it with pictures of little kids on skis, kayakers, mountain bikers etc. might provoke a bit of a
reaction – and I’d be lying if I told you this passed without notice. Fortunately, we had two great client champions who had a
combination of courage, persuasiveness and marketing know-how that ensured this idea survived intact through all the influencers
and filters that stand between an innovation initiative and the corporate website and brand.
This was the inaugural version of the Norton
Lounge – Symantec’s first responsively-
designed website that delivered a consistent
and meaningful brand experience regardless of
the screen size it was displayed on – desktop,
tablet or smartphone.
A content technique we employed to bring to life the benefit association of “living your digital life on-line” and doing it well –
was a set of profiles.
This, admittedly was not a new idea – it was a remix based on a strategy we have seen leveraged over the years to great
success in consumer magazine campaigns by brands such as American Express and Dewars Scotch.
The remix of this idea seemed appropriate for the some of the same reasons--to give customers some profiles to identify with,
and to make the brand, and its benefits something to identify around. And, in a social media world, this remix had a slightly
different twist. Rather than the profiles depending upon the existing fame of the individuals profiled, the site created a
platform for individuals to extend their social footprint, while at the same time providing site visitors examples of how really
interesting digital lives were being lived. It’s sort of American Express’s Do you recognize me?” meets Andy Warhol’s 15
minutes of fame.
Because the motives were aligned all around, this content feature was designed in such a way that it could have been
sustainable indefinitely.
One of the important strategies we were
pursuing with the Lounge—aligned with
treating these highly valued customers as
‘exceptional’—was a curation strategy. By that,
I mean, our goal was to assemble interesting
and appealing content (e.g. articles, reports,
videos) as well as offers that we anticipated
our target customers would respond to.
While the site was not built to offer
‘rewards’—rather recognition—we did,
nevertheless, work-in exclusive offers for this
group so that we could reinforce the idea that
being in the Auto-renewal program had
exclusive value and privilege to it.
Recognizing that people are incredibly time-
strapped and often benefit from a
brand/company assembling interesting and
relevant stories and articles on their behalf, we
created a section for the Lounge called ‘Living
well online’. Here, we posted relevant blog
articles, re-published articles from other
Norton sites and shared relevant videos such
as ‘tip and tricks’ and how-to’s related to living
your life online.
The Norton Lounge also included its own blog
entitled ‘Digitally Speaking’, which not
surprisingly, was all about discussing topics
related to living life in a digital world.
Let’s summarize features of this project as a digital customer experience design solution.
1. We started with a question – a potentially disruptive, but necessary one: What if the things that we think are important about the brand are not as
important as they used to be? What if there are different customer needs that can be activated in association with the brand?
2. We developed a customer insight: We, increasingly, live our lives on-line
3. We connected that insight with a brand benefit – laddering up from functional to self-actualization benefits
4. We leveraged a metaphor – a concept model that lent a coherence to the design and created a framework of design axioms
5. We found a visual theme that invoked the premium brand associations of a visual art form
6. We remixed a classic advertising theme in customer profiles – providing a basis for identification around brand values
7. We implemented technically with a responsive web design – so that the exceptional customer experience applied regardless of the browsing
platform
8. To reduce internal barriers, we framed an innovative initiative as a measurable experiment – with tightly limited downside – and a highly
measurable upside.
Those of you who share a deep background in traditional branding and creative strategy might say: “there is a great deal herethat is familiar…”
Those of you who have devoted their entire career to digital media innovation might say: “the emphasis on measurement, the leveraging of a
responsive code-development process to enhance the customer experience and the linkage of the content strategy to social communities makes it a
very digital project.”
And you’d both be right. I think that goes some way to addressing our earlier question about what it means to be a modern marketer. All the symbolic
skills required to do traditional marketing well remain relevant, but a new arsenal of tools is sitting here waiting for us to leverage in order to build and
measure brand engagement. And the case of the Lounge provides some proof that when these come together, they can make an impact both on the
bottom line, and as Symantec will tell you– on organizational learning and direction too.
So, what became of Norton Lounge?
As an experiment the Lounge did its job, but it
created a problem as well as an opportunity. A
bold new vision of the digital brand was being
expressed, but it was sharply different from
the main web experience.
Eventually Symantec rationalized this with a
redo of Norton.com. As you compare the
“Before” picture here…
With the ‘After’ picture here, you might discern that some of the strategic insight achieved in the Lounge has been woven into the DNA of the new site. And, you’d be
right.
In fact, not only did Symantec redesign its flagship website Norton.com around the strategic insight that drove the Lounge, but even the approach to Norton products
has been informed by the work of the Lounge. In September 2014, Symantec introduced a radically simplified Norton product suite (collapsing 9 products into a single
one).
Customer Experience has been the core driver of recent and radical changes to create a different, more compelling user interface and customer experience.
At Symantec, the journey from a product-centric to a customer-centric brand appeal has been engaged…and there is a developing “religion” around customer lifetime
value – overtaking some of the earlier emphasis on quarter-by-quarter product sales.
There are four key learnings from this case:
1. If you're innovating, don't ignore measurement, but defer the business of proof to measurements that can be done in pilots and experiments. By framing the
Lounge as a contained measurable experiment, we were able to overcome barriers.
2. Don’t grieve a pilot that gets killed - the value (in learning) persists – Sometimes it’s easier to make big change by starting with smaller changes. One of the realities
at Symantec was that, in the end, the company chose to avoid rewards and loyalty programs. Symantec did not want the Lounge to be exclusive. What Symantec
will be doing in future is extending the experience of the Lounge and the new product across a broader set of products and segments.
3. Customer experience matters – it’s measurable – and you can take it to the bank. If you’re still dealing with colleagues that don’t believe in it, you can run
experiments like this one in your environment to prove it to them. Norton is a service brand/offering. The experience becomes an even more important
differentiator for a ‘background/enabling’ technology. There has to be humanity in what you do…because it persists as an attribute of the brand. Fear does not
motivate a lifetime relationship.
4. And, coming back to the question of what it means to be a modern marketer, all the skills of classic brand-meaning making came into play in this case, but they
were layered up with an understanding of measurement, analytics, social channels, digital user experience and so on. It may not be easy to find all this in one
person or one team, but when you can find a crew that can bring all this together in one project – you can do some exciting and worthwhile work.
The insights of the Lounge experiment were
employed to informing a Symantec corporate
rebrand: Do It All.
If you want to craft a winning strategy for
delivering an exceptional experience online,
download Quarry’s publication: The Savvy
Marketer’s Guide to Digital Experience Design
Strategy at
www.quarry.com/experiencedesign.
You can reach Glen Drummond, Chief
Innovation Officer at Quarry at:
gdrummond@quarry.com
@gdrummond
519.664.2999

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Case study: How Symantec built engagement through design

  • 1. This is a case study about a controlled quantitative experiment. The hypothesis in this experiment was as follows: “If we can create a customer experience through design that influences the meanings people associate with a brand, then we can change their behavior towards the brand.” Now that hypothesis does not sound particularly controversial to a room full of people invested in the topic of customer experience. On the other hand, let’s be honest – the people invested in the topic of customer experience still represent a minority within the typical corporate enterprise. And you have probably learned that conversations about “brand meaning” should only be pursued after you have verified that you’re speaking to a colleague with an appreciation for marketing. If you happen to work in one of those typical corporate enterprises, where your voice is the minority voice – where “brand” is frequently misunderstood as a logo, and where you have a challenge of convincing people to invest in customer experience, then this case study offers you three interesting features: First – it comes from a credible, well-known brand. Symantec is the FOURTH largest software maker in the world. Second – the experiment produced not just qualitative evidence of success but quantitative data supporting the business case for customer experience investment. Third - because this was an experiment, rather than a mainstream corporate strategy, we have the opportunity to open up the creative strategy process a little more than usual, and share the logic path and the creative method that led to the experimental results. I think you’ll find it is a pretty useful story.
  • 2. Let’s now turn our attention to the business context for this case. Norton is a brand that was acquired by Symantec, and one that had enough presence in the consumer’s mind that Symantec decided to maintain Norton as a consumer brand while aiming Symantec at B2B customers. Many of you will be familiar with Norton’s products – a suite of anti-virus, internet security and back-up tools that protect consumers from a myriad of accidental or malicious threats to the preservation of their files, and the protection of their confidential data. Something that is interesting about this product line, is that while it is entirely software – in other words it contains no atoms, only bits, it weighs nothing, it takes up no physical space, it reflects no light and has no colour…you’d never know that from the way the product has historically been represented, even at Symantec’s on-line store. The other key point to add here is that the product works in the background…there is no conscious or obvious customer engagement. It’s invisible in all behavioral respects too. What Symantec’s challenge has been/continues to be…and was the point of this experiment…is to make the product more meaningful and provide a platform for customers to engage with the brand.
  • 3. Great marketing today requires a blend of traditional and contemporary skill sets. There’s the need for foundational understanding of how to connect with human beings, position messages based on feature, benefits and values and to produce great creative. But, modern marketers are also now required to be highly accountable. There’s an arsenal of supporting technologies to understand and leverage and a mandate to produce more measurable results. Plus, the opportunities for brand engagement are now more plentiful than ever before with the availability of numerable channel opportunities offline and online. To be a modern marketer, you need sound strategy, intelligent tactics and a positive feedback loop based on measurement. And, all the while you need to bring a high degree of courage and judgment– overall, it’s a daunting, but incredibly exciting challenge to be a modern marketer. And, that’s what this case is about; this case demonstrates the positive results that can be achieved when we employ a modern marketer’s tool kit to drive the design and delivery of an exceptional digital customer experience.
  • 4. The creative strategy for marketing Norton products for quite a long time has been based on what advertising people call the “halitosis” sell. This kind of advertising has had quite a long run of success but a question we began to ask ourselves - a question that led to the Norton Lounge Experiment – was whether that kind of brand message was in fact running out of steam among the customers abandoning the service. The product commuication/messaging was always more focused on fear…and in some cases on visuals of actual bad guy hackers themselves. In fact…those visuals even used to be in the lobbies of Symantec’s World HQ buildings! Classic old school FUD sell.
  • 5. A beautiful thing about the software business is how well it scales. The incremental cost for one more version of software is quite modest. What makes the software business even more beautiful is the idea of subscription, allowing you to sell the software over and over to the same customer. Of course all this happiness hinges on one thing: that customers keep coming back for more. And that makes “customer retention” – or churn – depending on whether you’re a glass half full or glass half empty kind of marketer, a very salient metric in the operation of the Norton business. Oddly though, while Symantec has tracked customer retention, and calculated its value to the business, it is relatively recently that Symantec began to do anything in particular about it. Symantec, in fact, had a policy about not talking to customers during certain stages of the renewal calendar. The team we were working with had a responsibility to call out this point and to start challenging conventional wisdom, working with agency partner Quarry to help Norton make the transition from a product-focused to a customer-focused organization. The sub-set of customers that Symantec’s project champion was responsible for was a highly profitable group who elected not to opt-out of the annual auto-renew default on the billing page of their subscription. Symantec really wanted to retain as many of these customers as possible because doing so creates a snowball of profits. Symantec considered many ways to reinforce “customer loyalty” – including preferential pricing, exclusive access to new products, and various other “loyalty rewards.” For each one of these considered, there always appeared to be a good reason not to pursue these tactics. Admittedly, Symantec kind of backed into trying to achieve its goals through a digital customer experience; it was the option that remained open after perhaps more obvious “loyalty” program ideas were crossed off the list. Symantec had a strong motivation to drive online vs retail/manual renewals; online is more profitable and drives longer tenure/retention benefits. The team asked: how could it engage with customers more relevantly and authentically online? Conversations with Quarry led to the hypothesis that Symantec tested in the marketing experiment, which was called the Norton Lounge. “By testing the value of acknowledging the status of our highest value customers - Symantec could increase retention and business value through customer experience design.”
  • 6. Here are the results of this experiment. In a nutshell – Symantec measured the effect of the Norton lounge by redirecting a randomized sample of existing auto-renew customers who were on the company’s e-store website and in the process of dumping their Norton subscription. “Dumping” means opting out of Auto-renewal and, effectively-for the long-term, putting the relationship between the customer and Symantec at risk. For the experimental population, Symantec intercepted the customer’s abandon path, and took them through a content experience called The Norton Lounge. Symantec then compared abandonments of the control group and the experimental group, and found that the Lounge content experience, showing up while subscribers were attempting to abandon their Norton service, influenced nearly 3% of the abandon path customers to stay with the good ship Norton. The skeptics among you might say: was it the Lounge experience itself or a persuasive pitch to stick around, or merely the distraction of something getting in the path of the abandon process? Well –Symantec’s experimental measurement approach controlled for all these possibilities, and the bottom line is that the Lounge was the deciding factor – and a factor that these experimental results would project to an additional $1.5 million in incremental profit for the year, based on influencing just this sub-set of the customer base. Depending on how you roll, $1.5 million might look like a big number or a small number to you. But the important thing here is that Symantec has an experimental finding with quantitative proof that experience matters – that investing in experience can improve the bottom line, and that it can keep on mattering all the way through the customer lifecycle – even at the point where customers have decided to abandon your service. Now, let’s discuss the creative process and strategy that went into producing this effect.
  • 7. A clever chap I once had the pleasure to work with shared with me a saying that is etched in my mind: I like questions better than answers – they have a longer half-life. The Lounge strategy proved out quantitative results, but it began with a very qualitative kind of question: What if: “What if the motivations we need to tap into to promote customer retention go beyond “safety needs” ? In other words, is it possible that we could improve retention if we could engage Norton customers – especially those planning to abandon their subscription—on the basis of brand meanings that reside higher in a hierarchy of needs? At the level of self- actualization goals as opposed to safety goals?
  • 8. It’s one thing to ask a question like: What if we could connect with a different buying narrative than the one that has historically prevailed? But, in a big corporation, it can be quite another thing to act on it. People familiar with the laddering of benefits might find this to be a perfectly natural question; however, in large organizations with an entrenched idea about the brand narrative, there are many gate- keepers and barriers to anything that might touch the brand. This is where framing of the initiative came into play: Because this was a controlled experiment, restricted only to those people who had already decided to abandon the product, the organization had very little risk - no tangible downside to contemplate apart from the cost of creating the project. On the other hand, the upside was the ability to both achieve an economic gain, and also learn something important about customers and their relationship to the brand. I think this is the kind of framing that savvy customer experience innovators have learned to look for and apply – and it was certainly part of getting the Lounge initiative sold through and budgeted.
  • 9. The best marketing executions draw on a customer insight. Customer insights are often answers hiding in plain sight and here was one: We live our lives on-line. At least for many of us born before 1995 or so, the internet has been transformative in our experience, and mostly in a positive way. When we laddered Norton’s benefits up from “safety” by asking “why is that important” in the context of this insight, we zeroed in on a brand meaning that we wanted to get across in every facet of this digital experience - We phrased it this way: “Norton helps people live their on-line lives to the fullest, confident that with Norton products and services they are well-equipped to do so.” This was the glass half full way of thinking about internet security – because we have great tools like Norton, we really can live lives that are enriched in many ways because of our access to the internet. From a creative strategy standpoint, we decided: Let’s attach Norton security to this positive narrative and see where that takes us.
  • 10. For those of you involved directly in the conception and creation of digital customer experience you may be familiar with the idea of “concept models.” These are metaphors that can be used to sharpen your digital experience design strategy. (If you want to follow-up on this idea further, visit http://www.quarry.com/experiencedesign for some literature on the use of this heuristic). The concept model we struck upon was a “frequent flyer lounge.” Air travel is crowded, dehumanizing, and given over to utilitarian values and goals. But, the frequent flyer lounge is un-crowded, people address you by your name, and sometimes a lounge even has some artwork on the walls or an interior design that stands in deliberate contrast to the monumentalist aesthetic of the typical airport.
  • 11. Arriving at this metaphor early helped us frame subsequent creative decisions according to these axioms: • We’ll make visitors feel as if they are being treated as the exception to the rule • We’ll emphasize recognition, as opposed to rewards • We’ll recognize their status as valued customers, without projecting any of our own assumptions about “loyalty” • We’ll personalize what is often impersonal, and humanize what is often mechanical • We’ll tailor the experience to the browsing platform of choice (not so widespread at the time of this initiative.) • We’ll cultivate the impression of a premium brand experience through the aesthetics of the site If I can go meta for a moment to address the experience designers viewing this presentation: do you see here just how generative a single metaphor can be in guiding a coherent design? This can be a really powerful creative method.
  • 12. Going back to the strategic business objective for the experience we were creating – we were interested in reducing abandonment from existing customers. People abandoning a service have made a judgment about value. Given that Norton has competitors and substitutes that are cheaper, and in some cases free, we felt the site experience should reinforce the idea that Norton is a premium brand. How do you do that? One way is to invoke associations with high culture. Go to the symphony, the opera, an art gallery, the ballet, a performance of Shakespeare—and you’re bound to find premium brands lurking in the program. It’s no accident – those associations with high culture add to the status of the brand – and make that status accessible for transfer to the identity of the consumer. The visual arts – photography, painting, sculpture –are all employed in this way too. So we knew that it was consistent with our strategy to create a non-utilitarian look – one that emphasized aesthetics, and leveraged visual content in an artistic way. The next step was then to curate a selection of photographs that conveyed this deeper message about premium brand, while also conveying a more direct metaphorical association with the customer benefit of Norton ”Well equipped to live your digital life full- out.” When we saw the little guy with the helmet catching mad air – we knew we had hit upon something. The next step was to run it up the flagpole. Now, those of you who work inside big corporations might recognize that swapping out a decade-old habit of featuring a product box on every web page and replacing it with pictures of little kids on skis, kayakers, mountain bikers etc. might provoke a bit of a reaction – and I’d be lying if I told you this passed without notice. Fortunately, we had two great client champions who had a combination of courage, persuasiveness and marketing know-how that ensured this idea survived intact through all the influencers and filters that stand between an innovation initiative and the corporate website and brand.
  • 13. This was the inaugural version of the Norton Lounge – Symantec’s first responsively- designed website that delivered a consistent and meaningful brand experience regardless of the screen size it was displayed on – desktop, tablet or smartphone.
  • 14. A content technique we employed to bring to life the benefit association of “living your digital life on-line” and doing it well – was a set of profiles. This, admittedly was not a new idea – it was a remix based on a strategy we have seen leveraged over the years to great success in consumer magazine campaigns by brands such as American Express and Dewars Scotch. The remix of this idea seemed appropriate for the some of the same reasons--to give customers some profiles to identify with, and to make the brand, and its benefits something to identify around. And, in a social media world, this remix had a slightly different twist. Rather than the profiles depending upon the existing fame of the individuals profiled, the site created a platform for individuals to extend their social footprint, while at the same time providing site visitors examples of how really interesting digital lives were being lived. It’s sort of American Express’s Do you recognize me?” meets Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame. Because the motives were aligned all around, this content feature was designed in such a way that it could have been sustainable indefinitely.
  • 15. One of the important strategies we were pursuing with the Lounge—aligned with treating these highly valued customers as ‘exceptional’—was a curation strategy. By that, I mean, our goal was to assemble interesting and appealing content (e.g. articles, reports, videos) as well as offers that we anticipated our target customers would respond to. While the site was not built to offer ‘rewards’—rather recognition—we did, nevertheless, work-in exclusive offers for this group so that we could reinforce the idea that being in the Auto-renewal program had exclusive value and privilege to it.
  • 16. Recognizing that people are incredibly time- strapped and often benefit from a brand/company assembling interesting and relevant stories and articles on their behalf, we created a section for the Lounge called ‘Living well online’. Here, we posted relevant blog articles, re-published articles from other Norton sites and shared relevant videos such as ‘tip and tricks’ and how-to’s related to living your life online.
  • 17. The Norton Lounge also included its own blog entitled ‘Digitally Speaking’, which not surprisingly, was all about discussing topics related to living life in a digital world.
  • 18. Let’s summarize features of this project as a digital customer experience design solution. 1. We started with a question – a potentially disruptive, but necessary one: What if the things that we think are important about the brand are not as important as they used to be? What if there are different customer needs that can be activated in association with the brand? 2. We developed a customer insight: We, increasingly, live our lives on-line 3. We connected that insight with a brand benefit – laddering up from functional to self-actualization benefits 4. We leveraged a metaphor – a concept model that lent a coherence to the design and created a framework of design axioms 5. We found a visual theme that invoked the premium brand associations of a visual art form 6. We remixed a classic advertising theme in customer profiles – providing a basis for identification around brand values 7. We implemented technically with a responsive web design – so that the exceptional customer experience applied regardless of the browsing platform 8. To reduce internal barriers, we framed an innovative initiative as a measurable experiment – with tightly limited downside – and a highly measurable upside. Those of you who share a deep background in traditional branding and creative strategy might say: “there is a great deal herethat is familiar…” Those of you who have devoted their entire career to digital media innovation might say: “the emphasis on measurement, the leveraging of a responsive code-development process to enhance the customer experience and the linkage of the content strategy to social communities makes it a very digital project.” And you’d both be right. I think that goes some way to addressing our earlier question about what it means to be a modern marketer. All the symbolic skills required to do traditional marketing well remain relevant, but a new arsenal of tools is sitting here waiting for us to leverage in order to build and measure brand engagement. And the case of the Lounge provides some proof that when these come together, they can make an impact both on the bottom line, and as Symantec will tell you– on organizational learning and direction too.
  • 19. So, what became of Norton Lounge? As an experiment the Lounge did its job, but it created a problem as well as an opportunity. A bold new vision of the digital brand was being expressed, but it was sharply different from the main web experience. Eventually Symantec rationalized this with a redo of Norton.com. As you compare the “Before” picture here…
  • 20. With the ‘After’ picture here, you might discern that some of the strategic insight achieved in the Lounge has been woven into the DNA of the new site. And, you’d be right. In fact, not only did Symantec redesign its flagship website Norton.com around the strategic insight that drove the Lounge, but even the approach to Norton products has been informed by the work of the Lounge. In September 2014, Symantec introduced a radically simplified Norton product suite (collapsing 9 products into a single one). Customer Experience has been the core driver of recent and radical changes to create a different, more compelling user interface and customer experience. At Symantec, the journey from a product-centric to a customer-centric brand appeal has been engaged…and there is a developing “religion” around customer lifetime value – overtaking some of the earlier emphasis on quarter-by-quarter product sales. There are four key learnings from this case: 1. If you're innovating, don't ignore measurement, but defer the business of proof to measurements that can be done in pilots and experiments. By framing the Lounge as a contained measurable experiment, we were able to overcome barriers. 2. Don’t grieve a pilot that gets killed - the value (in learning) persists – Sometimes it’s easier to make big change by starting with smaller changes. One of the realities at Symantec was that, in the end, the company chose to avoid rewards and loyalty programs. Symantec did not want the Lounge to be exclusive. What Symantec will be doing in future is extending the experience of the Lounge and the new product across a broader set of products and segments. 3. Customer experience matters – it’s measurable – and you can take it to the bank. If you’re still dealing with colleagues that don’t believe in it, you can run experiments like this one in your environment to prove it to them. Norton is a service brand/offering. The experience becomes an even more important differentiator for a ‘background/enabling’ technology. There has to be humanity in what you do…because it persists as an attribute of the brand. Fear does not motivate a lifetime relationship. 4. And, coming back to the question of what it means to be a modern marketer, all the skills of classic brand-meaning making came into play in this case, but they were layered up with an understanding of measurement, analytics, social channels, digital user experience and so on. It may not be easy to find all this in one person or one team, but when you can find a crew that can bring all this together in one project – you can do some exciting and worthwhile work.
  • 21. The insights of the Lounge experiment were employed to informing a Symantec corporate rebrand: Do It All.
  • 22. If you want to craft a winning strategy for delivering an exceptional experience online, download Quarry’s publication: The Savvy Marketer’s Guide to Digital Experience Design Strategy at www.quarry.com/experiencedesign.
  • 23. You can reach Glen Drummond, Chief Innovation Officer at Quarry at: gdrummond@quarry.com @gdrummond 519.664.2999