Join us as we discuss how sometimes what you see isn’t necessarily wise to believe, how to create a remarkable experience in a commoditized industry, and why the sense of smell plays a huge role in brand perception.
Manipulations, Massages, and Madelines – Oh My!
[Say What] Deepfake Videos Require Everyone to Be Skeptical
Most people are familiar with the age old maxim, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” Increasingly, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence and video editing, you simply cannot believe everything you see. Deepfakes are the product of human image synthesis compiled via artificial intelligence. By combining and superimposing existing images and videos onto source images or videos, deepfakes confuse the viewer and allow for videos that aren’t “real” to appear genuine. These videos can then be used to show real people (often celebrities) doing and saying things that they never actually said or did.
Throughout 2019, deepfakes were used for entertainment and satire (fairly harmless applications), as well as political and propaganda efforts (much more problematic). Because deepfakes are designed to purposefully deceive people and spread false information, they are going to increasingly become a challenge for companies and consumers alike. The more difficult it becomes to tell the difference between what is true and what is deception, the more challenging it will be to know whether a brand experience or impression is authentic or not.
[A]s brands and companies, we need to start thinking about how deepfakes could impact our customers’ experiences. What happens if trust erodes slowly, or in the converse, is wiped away because of a major event (caused by a deepfake video)?Joey Coleman, co-host of ExperienceThis! Show podcast
Fortunately, as quickly as deepfakes are emergining in society, companies are developing artificial intelligence solutions that can help recognize deep fakes before they are widely disseminated. While it is encouraging that companies are starting to develop the technology to expose these deceptive messages, the technology to create deepfakes is improving so quickly that the videos are getting more and more difficult to evaluate.
How can you help avoid the perils of deepfakes? First, don’t trust everything you see. Make sure to be discerning with any video that comes across your screen – especially those that seem out of character. Second, start thinking about the impact a deepfake could have on your customers’ experiences. Finally, put plans in place to mitigate the damage that could potentially happen.
[Dissecting the Experience] The Best Part of Your Day – at John Robert’s Spa
Earlier this season, we heard from customer service expert John DiJulius and discussed his newest book, The Relationship Economy. One of John’s businesses, the John Robert’s Spa – a full-service salon and spa with four locations in northeast Ohio – pairs high-quality services with John’s signature customer service.
Every employee of the salon/spa is given a card they are expected to keep with them at all times. The card outlines the standards they are expected to maintain and serves as a regular reminder of their commitment. The company’s vision statement is to be the best experience in our guests’ day. By outlining ways to live up to this standard, John sets an expectation that is both understandable and achievable.
Three Pillars that John Robert’s Employees Follow:
- Mastering: John’s team strives to be the best trained and educated staff in the industry.
- Emotional Connection: John’s team uses his signature “Secret Service” to connect with clients. The specialize in collecting and utilizing customer information – specifically about their customers’ family, occupation, recreation, and dreams (FORD).
- Give More – John’s team is committed to a surprise and delight philosophy at all times.
We make them feel like the most important person in front of us and then finally give more. That’s our above and beyond pillar. Surprise and delight. Look for opportunities to go above and beyond. Be the best experience in our guest’s day – mastering, emotional connection, and give more.John DiJulius, owner of John Robert’s Spa and author of The Relationship Economy
John sets a standard that is achievable, but he also sets a standard that makes the experience memorable and remarkable. This keeps employees focused on what matters. What can you do to set a standard that is achievable and understandable and will bring your customer experience to a new level?
[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Social Media as a Customer Experience Channel
Most potential customers now turn immediately to social media when they need to research and interact with businesses. These platforms allow customers to read reviews, ask questions, and seek support for specific issues. Unfortunately, many businesses either fail to leverage social media as a CX tool or do a poor job of maintaining their CX channels.
To use social media as a CX channel, businesses should:
- Know which platforms are most popular with their target audience and focus efforts there.
- Create detailed policies and procedures specifically for social channels (What sorts of interactions will these channels support? Who will support them? What tone will the organization take in communicating with customers and prospects?)
- Observe the effectiveness of their efforts and adjust as necessary.
Start the conversation with this question: Are we effectively using social media to support and engage customers?
To continue the conversation, go to: experienceconversations.com.
[This Just Happened] The Smell of Experience
Can you remember a time when you walked into a place that smelled particularly amazing? Or perhaps, a certain smell that triggers a fond memory of your childhood? Or the scent of a specific vacation? The sense of smell is one of the most primal senses and it ties directly to our memories – triggering emotions quickly and deeply.
The sense of smell can positively affect your customer and user experience. When you walk into a store and it smells amazing, you will have a better time at the store. You will even buy more products. You will be more relaxed, happy. But imagine you walked into the local retail shop and it smelled really bad… You will walk right back out of there!Tuli Kraus, Fresh Scents, Inc.
Is your business fully taking advantage of the sensory experience of scent? If your business has a physical presence or you offer physical products, smell should definitely be considered when designing your customer experience.
Links We Referenced
- Experience Conversations
- You Won’t Believe What Obama Says in this Video! created by Jordan Peele and Buzzfeed
- John Robert’s Spa
- Fresh Scents, Inc.
Host Contact Information
Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss
Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com
Download a transcript of the entire Episode 75 here or read it below:
Dan Gingiss: Welcome to Experience This.
Joey Coleman: Where you’ll find inspiring examples of customer experience, great stories of customer service and tips on how to make your customers love you even more.
Dan Gingiss: Always upbeat and definitely entertaining, customer attention expert Joey Coleman.
Joey Coleman: And social media expert Dan Gingiss, serve as your hosts for a weekly dose of positive customer experience.
Dan Gingiss: So hold onto your headphones, it’s time to Experience This.
Joey Coleman: Get ready for another episode of the Experience This show.
Dan Gingiss: Join us as we discuss how seeing isn’t necessarily believing, how to create a remarkable experience in a commodity industry, and why the sense of smell plays a huge role in brand perception.
Joey Coleman: Manipulations, Massages, and Mayhem. Oh my.
[Say What] Deepfakes
Joey Coleman: It’s shocking how often people use 38 words to describe something when two would do the trick. We’re looking at you lawyers and accountants. Words matter and there is no excuse for trying to hide what you mean. We explore words and messaging in this next iteration of, Say What?
Dan, I’m going to go out on a limb here. I’d like to make a bold prediction.
Dan Gingiss: Oh, boy. I love it when you do that, Joey.
Joey Coleman: All right. Now this, at initial glance, could be seen as a negative prediction, which is not my intention. I just think it’s an important topic that we’re seeing in the news more and more and I think we’re going to see it a lot more in, let’s say, the next six months to a year. Here’s my prediction. I think at least one well known brand is going to deal with a major, deep fake issue.
Dan Gingiss: Sorry, did you say deep fake? I’m not familiar with that concept.
Joey Coleman: Yes. A deep fake issue. A deep fake is a video created using artificial intelligence. The intention of the video is to show real people, often celebrities or spokespeople, people that we know, doing and saying things that they never actually did. Now that’s why we made this a Say What segment.
When it comes to deep fakes, it’s very difficult to believe what the person on the video is actually saying. Now, in the last year, we’ve seen deep fakes used for entertainment, for satire, and as both political and propaganda tools. In fact, former president Barack Obama and Jordan Peele created a deep fake video to illustrate how this works, which we’ll play for you now.
To be clear before we play it, this is not President Obama speaking. Because you can’t see the video. Although, you can see the video if you go over to our show notes at experiencethisshow.com. What you’re hearing is not President Obama actually, but it looks and sounds like him.
Jordan Peele: We’re entering an era in which our enemies can make it look like anyone is saying anything at any point in time. Even if they would never say those things. So for instance, they could have me say things like… I don’t know. Killmonger was right or Ben Carson is in the sunken place. Now you see, I would never say these things, at least not in a public address, but someone else would. Someone like Jordan Peele.
This is a dangerous time. Moving forward we need to be more vigilant with what we trust from the internet. It’s a time when we need to rely on trusted news sources. May sound basic, but how we move forward in the age of information is going to be the difference between whether we survive or whether we become some kind of dystopia.
Joey Coleman: What’s troubling about this video, and deep fakes in general, is that they are designed to intentionally mislead people and spread false information. I think we’re going to see some brands deal with public backlash because of messaging that is spread via deep fake videos about those brands.
Dan Gingiss: I remember seeing some of these as well, and I can’t decide what’s worse, that this is happening more and more, or that the technology is advancing so quickly that telling the difference between real video footage and deep fake is incredibly difficult.
Joey Coleman: I agree Dan, and this isn’t just going to be a challenge for social media companies and for video hosting companies and all the copyright issues and the way they might get sued. This is going to be a challenge for companies and consumers alike.
Dan Gingiss: It does sound pretty frightening from a brand perspective. Hopefully you’re going to share with us some things we can do to mitigate this.
Joey Coleman: Absolutely. Because here on Experience This, we like to tell positive stories, we don’t want to leave you hanging by getting you anxious and afraid of this. So here’s what we do. As customers and consumers, we need to learn not to trust everything we see. Now, I know that may feel like a sad moment and a sad time in our history, but the reality is we don’t want to presume everything is fake, but we need to be more discerning with what we hold as true.
I also think that as brands or companies, we need to start thinking about how deep fakes could impact our customer’s experiences. What happens if trust erodes slowly, or in the converse, is wiped away because of a major event? Having a deep fake strategy and being ready to counter any misleading videos or messages is something that mid and large sized brands should already be thinking about if they’re not.
Dan Gingiss: The good news is that several tech companies are developing sophisticated algorithms and artificial intelligence to help recognize deep fakes. The software company Adobe has partnered with the University of California at Berkeley to train AI to recognize facial manipulation. This tool could eventually help consumers detect deep fakes and companies to spot deep fakes before they are widely disseminated.
Joey Coleman: You know, I am thrilled to hear that companies are, especially places like the University of California at Berkeley and Adobe, are working together to solve some of these problems, but I actually think in many ways the genie’s out of the bottle. This is going to be happening faster and causing bigger consequences than the average business or citizen is going to be able to keep up with or catch up too.
I think it’s just in many ways a dangerous time, and I hate that we have to teach people to be skeptical of what they see, because there’s this whole phrase that has been around since the beginning of human time almost, that seeing is believing, and now we actually are going to need to say, well, seeing isn’t believing. You need to figure out what you’re actually believing.
Dan Gingiss: Well, yeah, if we play the scenario out a little bit, let’s say that President Obama and Jordan Peele got together for another video, but this time it’s a video of president Obama speaking with the audio provided by Jordan Peele, and him talking about how he found a worm in his McDonald’s hamburger. And now all of a sudden, this is a video that gets passed around the internet and McDonald’s is dealing with a PR crisis because a former president got a worm in his burger, except it’s completely made up.
That’s the kind of thing that brands are going to have to be ready for, and their PR teams are going to at least have to have a plan for, as you say. And some of it may also be about educating the public specifically on deep fakes so that it’s not just this, don’t trust everything you see, which is amorphous, because the reality is we don’t know what we can trust in what we can’t, but maybe training the public on how to spot a deep fake. How to confirm whether something’s real or not. There are websites like Snopes that will either confirm or deny rumors spreading around the internet and consumers should be using sites like that to get the truth.
Joey Coleman: What I’d love is if most of the people on Facebook who have aunts and uncles and cousins that are on Facebook would start using Snopes, because the amount of times I see something posted, and I’m like, that’s just not true, that’s absolutely not true. I know you read on the internet that Abraham Lincoln said that the Tesla was his favorite car, but that’s just not true.
Dan Gingiss: But Joey, if it was on the internet, it has to be true.
Joey Coleman: If it’s on the internet it’s real. Yeah. Let’s see if we can maybe do our part. I know we played an audio clip earlier, folks. If you go to experiencethisshow.com, in the show notes we’re going to include video links to several examples of deep fake videos. I want to put a disclaimer out here. The majority of these thus far, the ones that have been really well done, have been done with political candidates. Which is terrifying in and of itself, so please don’t take our posting of these videos as being endorsements or critical, either way, of any of these candidates, but I think it’s useful to actually see just how professional these videos have become and just how realistic they seem. It’s actually pretty terrifying.
As I said at the beginning of this segment, our intention in discussing deep fakes is not to upset people or to speak negatively. Rather, our goal is to make our listeners aware of a growing problem so that they can A, be vigilant in their own video watching and B, start to think about how a deep fake would impact their customer’s experiences and what can be done now to set in place response scripts to mitigate that impact.
Sometimes a remarkable experience deserves deeper investigation. We dive into the nitty gritty of customer interactions and dissect how and why they happen. Join us while we’re dissecting the experience.
Dan Gingiss: Earlier this season we heard from customer service expert John DiJulius, and talked about his new book, The Relationship Economy. Today we’re going to discuss one of John’s businesses, the John Roberts Spa, a full service salon and spa with four locations in Northeast Ohio. Started in 1993, the salons offer a combination of high quality services and John’s unmatched superior customer service. We’re going to dig into one of the many aspects which makes John Robert Spa so successful.
DiJulius hands out a card to every employee that they’re expected to carry around with them to remind them of the company’s purpose, customer service vision statement, some non-negotiable standards, and what he calls the nevers and always. Here’s John DiJulius to explain.
John DiJulius: I would like to share with you the John Roberts Spa customer service vision statement, pillars, and nevers and always. Every employee carries around a credo card with all of this on it. So our customer service vision statement, which I like to call the action statement, what we have to do every time we come in contact with anyone, be it 10 seconds or 90 minutes, it is to be the best experience in our guest’s day. Be the best part of our guest’s day. And why is that so important? Because our guests are dealing with craziness, chaos in their life, and we might be that one escape. They’re giving and giving and giving, and they come to us for a massage, hair cut, facial, pedicure, and most of all to be rejuvenated, to be refilled, so they can go back on and be Superman or Superwoman. What we’re all trying to be.
So to be the best experience in our guest’s day, that’s the what we have to do. The how is from the three pillars, mastering, emotional connection, and give more. The mastering pillar is to be operationally excellent. No one should be better at their jobs than we are. That can be the person answering the phones booking your appointment, the concierge hostess that’s greeting upon arrival, to the technician, hairdresser, esthetician, massage therapist.
The second pillar, emotional connection. We utilize our customer intelligence to personalize every experience. We collect and utilize Ford, F-O-R-D, family, occupation, recreation, and dreams. We make them feel like the most important person in front of us.
And then finally, give more. That’s our above and beyond pillar. Surprise and delight. The answer is always yes, regardless of the question. And whatever, whenever. Make their day. If it’s raining outside and they just got their hair done, ask them for their keys, pull the car around, walk them out with an umbrella, give them a John Roberts Spa umbrella, and they’ll bring it back the next time. Look for opportunities to go above and beyond. Be the best experience in our guest’s day, mastering, emotional connection, and give more.
Dan Gingiss: Pretty cool, huh Joey?
Joey Coleman: That is cool. And there’s so many pieces of that that we could dissect, but I got to say the one that really jumps out at me is that idea of wanting this to be the best part of their day. Wanting their experience at the spa to be the best part of the day. Because I think that sets a standard that is easily achievable and understandable by the staff and something that can be renewed every time that the customer comes back to the spa.
It allows you to not think, I have to create the best experience they’ve ever had in their entire life. You’re just trying to make it the best of the day, which I think is a great way to keep employees focused on what really matters.
Dan Gingiss: Yeah. And it’s also training them to keep their eyes open. It obviously doesn’t rain every day, so they don’t need an umbrella every single time. But it is great that the employees recognize that somebody who just got their hair done doesn’t want to walk out into the rain. A problem I don’t tend to have very often, but I can at least-
Joey Coleman: See folks, Dan made that one on his own, I was going to let that go, but he made it.
Dan Gingiss: Yes, I can empathize. One of the things I thinks really cool is this list of nevers and always. John here lists 10 things that employees should never do and then a corresponding 10 things that they should always do, instead. Let’s take another listen.
John DiJulius: And then finally on our credo card, we have nevers and always. I’ll give you some examples. Something that no one in our staff represent our brand would never do or they will always do if the situation presents itself. Never points, always show them. That could be obviously face to face, someone asks you where the restroom is, or where the spa is, but that’s also over the phone. If someone calls up and asks for something, pointing would be saying, you can get that off our website. Showing them we’d be sending them a link.
Never say no. You cannot use that word. Now the always isn’t always say yes. Sometimes that’s not possible. The always is just focus on what you can do. Never say no problem. Always say certainly my pleasure, absolutely.
Some other ones never overshare. Always take care of it. Never show frustration publicly. Be a duck. Always be a duck. I want a duck. A duck is the most graceful, beautiful thing gliding across the water. What no one sees or knows is it’s paddling like hell underneath.
That is our credo cards. We go over this every day in appreciative title. One thing from it every day. So it’s always new. We can get probably 20 to 25 days out of a credo card without repeating it. That is our service vision pillars and nevers and always.
Dan Gingiss: I really like some of these and I think we’ve all experienced them with different companies that we do business with. This idea of when you’re in a really large home improvement store and you ask, hey, where are the nails? I’ve literally gotten this answer before, well you need to go down to aisle six, then turn left, then go past three different sections, then turn right, then you’ll see the washing machines, then head straight and then turn left and you’ll get there. And it’s like, yeah, I already forgot those instructions.
Joey Coleman: Can instead I follow the breadcrumbs, sir?
Dan Gingiss: And he’s saying, walk them there. Don’t point, just walk them there. And it’s such a big difference when somebody does that.
Joey Coleman: It really is. And at the risk of sounding old fashioned, it’s a return to grace and etiquette. When we were growing up, I don’t know about you guys, we were taught some of these things that I don’t think are taught as much anymore today. But that whole idea of being polite, calling people Mr. Smith, or Mrs. Smith, or Ms. Smith, and what we think of as the polite way to go through life, is not the normal way to go through life anymore.
In our effort to be more convenient and be more efficient, we’ve actually become more rude. And what I love is that John has this credo card that reminds his employees that at least when they’re there working in his shop, it’s about grace. It’s about politeness. It’s about really showing the customer the way, to deliver them that remarkable customer experience.
Dan Gingiss: The other thing I really liked, because you know I love language so much, is that he really focuses in on specific words that make a difference. John DiJulius has been saying for years that people should never say no problem in a customer service engagement. And the reason for that is that when a customer asks for something and you tell them no problem, you’ve now suggested to them that what they were asking for might have been a problem. And of course from their perspective it’s not a problem, it’s just something that they want.
It is also taking a negative word no, in front of problem, and turning it into a positive word, yes, or sure, or I’d be glad to, and I think this stuff does make a difference. You may not notice it in every interaction, but again, over time as you interact with the employees at John Robert Spa, you’re going to notice something different about them and you’re going to notice that they are more polite, that they are more graceful, that they’re using niceties, and you walk out of there feeling like you got more than just a haircut or a massage.
Joey Coleman: I also really liked his analogy to the duck. All too often I find myself in a business establishment where it’s clear that the staff is frustrated about something that has nothing to do with me. I walked into this environment. And while I wouldn’t want to suggest that folks shouldn’t be able to feel the emotions that they’re feeling and experience their emotions, there’s a difference between doing that on display for all of your customers to see, and doing it in more of a private setting or scenario. I think that standard for the team to look, we’re going to look graceful, we’re going to be elegant, even if it means underneath the system we’re running as fast as we can, is a great ideal to set for the staff.
Dan Gingiss: Never let them see you sweat, as the commercial used to say. The last thing I love about this is that, let’s face it, a salon is a commodity industry. I know in my hometown alone, there’s probably 10 choices that I could have if I wanted to go and get a massage. And so standing out with customer experience is absolutely critical because competing on price is a loser’s game and they’re essentially selling the same product. So the takeaway is when you properly train and prepare your employees to create a superior consistent experience and then show them how, you can develop the same reputation as John Roberts Spa of having a superior customer experience even in what is a commodity industry.
Joey Coleman: Sometimes all it takes is a single question to get your company thinking about an improved customer experience. Here’s an idea for how you can Start the Conversation.
Dan Gingiss: This week’s Start the Conversation topic is social media as a customer experience channel. Social media has become a preferred channel for customers to research and interact with businesses. These platforms allow customers to read reviews, ask questions, and seek support for specific issues. Unfortunately, many businesses either fail to leverage social media as a CX tool or do a poor job of maintaining their CX channels.
Joey Coleman: To use social as a CX channel, I talked to Dan and the folks at Avtechs because let’s be candid, I’m not really on social channels. But what businesses should do is number one, know which platforms are most popular with their target audience and focus efforts there. Number two, create detailed policies and procedures specifically for social channels. What sorts of interactions will these channels support? Who will support them? What tone will the organization take in communicating with customers and prospects? And number three, observe the effectiveness of their efforts and adjust as necessary.
Dan Gingiss: Well you’re right, Joey, this is a topic that is near and dear to my heart, because I literally wrote the book on the topic, which is called Winning at Social Customer Care and it will show you how to do those things that Joey just listed.
A couple of things that I want to point out here is it’s really important to be where your customers are in social media. I often get asked, especially after speeches, what social media channels should I be in? And my answer, which may not be as fulfilling as you might hope, is with another question, which is, which channels are your customers in?
When I worked at Humana and we were selling to seniors, it was not that important that we were in Snapchat, but it was very important that we were on Facebook. I also always suggest to people to respond to everyone, people who are complaining, people who are asking questions, and people who are complimenting you.
Joey Coleman: And now for this week’s question about social media as a customer experience channel, are we effectively using social media to support and engage customers? We encourage you to start the conversation within your own organization and then continue it with Avtechs at experienceconversations.com. That’s www.experienceconversations.com.
We love telling stories and sharing key insights you can implement or avoid based on our experiences. Can you believe that this just happened?
Dan Gingiss: I recently got the opportunity to speak at Inbound, one of the largest marketing conferences in the country, and I was invited to a networking dinner where I got to sit next to Naftuly Kraus, who goes by Tuli. His LinkedIn profile describes him as, The Scent Guy, because he works for a company called Fresh Scents Inc., which is a leader in the ambient marketing industry. The company provides nursing homes, schools, hospitals, gyms, office buildings, and more with, and I’m quoting, “scenting solutions” that are controlled by scent machines connected to mobile apps. The company’s website says, “With our sense of smell is so closely linked to memory, a pleasing aroma experience, or a bad one, can have lasting effects on a businesses bottom line.” I asked to Tuli to tell us a little bit more about the power of smell.
Tuli Kraus: Today I want to talk about how much of the sense of smell can positively affect your customer and user experience. When you walk into a store and it smells amazing, you will have a better time at the store. You might even buy more products. You will be more relaxed, happy. But imagine you walked into the local retail shop and it smelled really bad. You will walk right back out of there. You might’ve even tell your friends how bad your experience was.
Here’s a cool study that the Wheeling Jesuit University did. They had volunteers smell peppermint oil every two hours over the course of five days and when the study was over, they realized that these volunteers actually consumed 3,500 calories less, which was incredible.
There is a reason why these big hotel chains use great fragrances in the public areas, the common areas. I have friends that have come to me and said, “Tuli, have you ever been to this hotel in, for example, Colorado?” I said, “No,” and they tell me, “they have this amazing fragrance and it smells so good,” and I’m like, “Do you go there often?” They’re like, “I was there once a couple of years ago.” Just this just gives you an example how far deep in your brain the sense of smell can be stuck if it’s a good fragrance. Anyways, thanks for having me on the podcast. All the best guys.
Dan Gingiss: I don’t know about you Joey, but I found this to be absolutely fascinating, so I decided to research it a little bit more. According to Psychology Today, olfaction, which is also known as the sense of smell, is the most primal of our six senses. Throughout human evolution, the sense of smell has been key to our survival. A negative smell, such as a dead animal can trigger an instantaneous reflex to take flight, whereas a positive smell, such as burning wood or baking cookies, can trigger a sense of security. Smell directly ties to memories in a way that no other sense can. Humans are capable of distinguishing thousands of unique odors. So maybe The Rock was actually onto something when he yelled his signature question as a professional wrestler, “Do you smell what The Rock is cooking?”
Joey Coleman: Wow. I’m mostly stunned at this point because we are deep into four seasons of this podcast before we get our first professional wrestling reference in the show. Well done, Dan. Big fan of The Rock. I like it.
Well, if I may, let’s counter that with a literary reference that may play to another segment of our listeners. My wife Barrett is a voracious reader and early on in our relationship she introduced me to a fantastic book, In Remembrance of Things Past, and in this book, Marcel Proust illustrates how smell is linked to the earliest life experience and it’s stored in our memory and specific neural networks.
In this story, Proust describes very vividly how some forgotten childhood memories rocket back into the consciousness with the original intensity they had from the time, when a protagonist in the story that he’s writing about dips a Madeline Biscuit into a cup of tea.
First of all, honey, that one’s for you. Second of all, this concept is not new, thanks to The Rock. This is as, Dan noted out, primal in our existence as human beings, and I think a lot of businesses overlook the power of smell.
I have some good friends and clients, Steve and Katisha Weaver, who run a company in Ohio called Candle Lab, where you can actually go into their store, choose different scents, and then they mix them into candles or lotions. It’s actually a really unique and different experience because I don’t know about you, I’ve been gifted, shall I say, some of those scented candles that find their way being gifted right into a landfill somewhere as soon as I receive them.
Dan Gingiss: Or re-gifted.
Joey Coleman: Or re-gifted. But I actually try not to re-gift them because I’m like, why would anybody want this? But the thought of making my own was really fun.
And that’s where I think Tuli’s work as well as Steve and Katisha Weaver’s work is also a fantastic way to think about scent in your brand.
Dan Gingiss: For sure. And I just want to note for the record that while Proust was definitely onto something more than 100 years ago, The Rock clearly made smell cool again.
Joey Coleman: Oh, maybe that’s what it was.
Dan Gingiss: Tuli actually gave me a small vial of a scent that is absolutely recognizable as being from a major high end hotel chain. I can’t tell you which one because it’s one of his clients, but it was absolutely incredible because as soon as I smelled it, I could identify with that brand. And it turns out they’re not the only hotel chain that has their own smell. What I love about this is we often talk about how every interaction with the brand affects the overall customer experience, but rarely have we ever talked about an olfactory interaction.
I’ll tell you where I notice it the most. The first, and we have talked about this, is when I get into an Uber or Lyft and the car has a really heavy air freshener smell and I’ve got to immediately roll down the windows. That’s a negative connotation.
But on the positive side, I believe that every time I walk into a Starbucks I get that same pleasant smell that’s really comforting. It’s the smell of coffee, coffee beans, and usually some sort of baked goods combined. I believe that if I walked into a Starbucks blindfolded, I could probably tell you that I was in a Starbucks.
Joey Coleman: Well, and it’s interesting, so many smells are associated with specific industries. When we think about going into an open house in a real estate setting and looking at a home that you might buy, invariably they’re baking bread or chocolate chip cookies because they know those smells are really well received by the majority of people.
Or when you think about going into a hospital, often it smells like antiseptic cleaner and it has that more, yes, we’re glad it’s clean, but it feels a little on the chemically side and so automatically that’s creating emotions of fear, uncertainty, and angst in the patients that are coming to the hospital.
So I think the key takeaways here are that while smell may not be a part of every company’s customer experience, it should at least be something that you’re considering, especially if you are a business that has a physical presence. What are you doing to make sure that your brand not only looks good, but smells good?
Wow, thanks for joining us for another episode of Experience. This.
Dan Gingiss: We know there are tons of podcasts to listen to, magazines and books to read, reality TV to watch. We don’t take for granted that you’ve decided to spend some quality time listening to the two of us.
Joey Coleman: We hope you enjoyed our discussions, and if you do, we’d love to hear about it. Come on over to we experiencethisshow.com and let us know what segments you enjoyed, what new segments you’d like to hear. This show is all about experience and we want you to be part of the Experience This show.
Dan Gingiss: Thanks again for your time and we’ll see you next week. For more…
Joey Coleman: Experience This.