Experience Economy

FCNY18 & The Campus Visit: Nordstrom Men's Store

Render followers know we're fans of the Fast Company Innovation Festival. Last October, Render's Brittney Joyce and Dani Napier spent a week in NYC traversing the city to pick up lessons from the world's most innovative brands.

In the coming months, we'll be publishing a series of blog posts with lessons from #FCFestival. What did we learn that can be applied to the campus visit? First up, the new Nordstrom's Men Store!

Standing tall on W 57th Street, Nordstrom has opened it's first store dedicated to providing men a tailored (pun intended) shopping experience.

Based on their research, priorities for this store included:

  • Providing opportunities for customization and personalization
  • Making convenience and efficiency a priority
  • Elevating services to high-end amenities

Sound familiar? These are all priorities we see in research about the campus visit and anecdotal observations of family behavior during visits.

How did Nordstrom translate these priorities into a new physical space?

  • Personalization/Customization
    • Levi's Tailor Shop
    • Build-your-own-suit experience
    • Complimentary personal shopping
  • Convenience & efficiency
    • Express return (customers can process their own returns at a kiosk inside the main doors)
    • Store-to-door (free same-day delivery in NYC for online orders)
  • Elevating services
    • Shoe shine bar (serves cocktails, food)
    • Full cafe and bar in clothing area (they'll bring you a cocktail to the dressing room)
    • Tailoring services
    • Barber, shaving "shop"

TL;DR: Nordstrom is elevating on-demand services and making the shopping experience all about YOU.

Translation: What can you be doing on a daily basis that allows guest to customize their campus visit experience and make it all about them? And when they do have a request on the day of their visit, are you able to make it happen?

Uncomplicated Visitor Announcements: Butcher Paper

Can we pause to appreciate this Snickerdoodle, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, and vanilla ice cream sandwich? Drool.

Can we pause to appreciate this Snickerdoodle, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, and vanilla ice cream sandwich? Drool.

Like we always say: Everyone's favorite word is their own name. It's one of the reasons we love seeing visitors welcomed by name the day of their visit in your welcome center.

Campus visit folks welcome visitors by name in a variety of ways: monitors with a digital slideshow, dry erase boards, chalkboards, printed posters... you name it, we've seen it (and love them all equally).

But on a recent trip to The Cookie Monstah in Danvers, Massachusetts, we stumbled upon this great butcher paper installation used to display daily specials. Huh. What a great idea. It's easy to install, easy to maintain, is a fun/creative way to display names, can be used for other announcements, and more.

Butcher paper. Give it a try.

Even more in love with the branded painters tape securing the bottom to the wall.

Even more in love with the branded painters tape securing the bottom to the wall.

Three Cheers for Chalkboards

Why do displays for your Welcome Centers have to be overly designed, stuffy, and outdated the moment you print them?

Three cheers for our clients who've chosen to install chalkboards and use them in fun, purposeful ways in their daily campus visits! They're modern, timeless, and, again, FUN.

(Also included: a few of our most recent favorite chalkboards in our experience excursions!)

Lessons from Vacation: Washington D.C.

We've written in the past about how welcome centers are moving toward more static displays and the rise of sidewalk graphics for wayfinding/storytelling.

While visiting Washington, D.C. for a Spring Break trip, many examples were found of both. Check out the photos and captions below for inspiration toward a better visitor experience. 

The Newseum: floor decals at the East/West Berlin Wall exhibit. 

The Newseum: floor decals at the East/West Berlin Wall exhibit. 

The Newseum: using static displays to engage visitors in conversation. 

The Newseum: using static displays to engage visitors in conversation. 

Ford's Theatre: static display engaging visitors in conversation.

Ford's Theatre: static display engaging visitors in conversation.

Experience Economy: Yeti

You know the Render Experiences team is all about the experience. And The Experience Economy (our manifesto) tells us you can charge a premium price for a product or service as long as you're staging an experience.

During our recent travels, we were able to experience the new Yeti flagship store in Austin, TX, which is thriving due in large part to their incorporation of many tenets of The Experience Economy.

Three things you should know about this space:

  1. It is the only place (physical or online) in the country where you can customize your Yeti cooler and products with your choice of buckles and latches.

  2. They don't just want to sell you a cooler but also the lifestyle of owning one of their coolers (the bar, cornhole, boat, etc).

  3. In a world where technology is difficult to manage and maintain, they threw people at their customers. Lots of staff around to help chat with you about their products and help you customize your experience.

Biggest missed opportunity: They didn't set expectations about how to best experience the store or why we should explore all the experiential pieces.

Memory we'll have forever: We overheard them tell a customer from Illinois that if he were to customize his Yeti cooler, he'd only be 1 out of about 20 people in the entire state of Illinois to own a customized Yeti. Talk about captializing on the values of discovery and provenance!

Marketing While Caffeinating: Coffee Sleeves

Every Render team member agrees: Coffee is important. Crucial, in fact. We pay a lot of attention to our coffee, especially when it is served in a standout cup or environment. 

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More and more, we're seeing the introduction of custom coffee sleeves. It's a great way to get a message out to guests. Use an everyday item that will surely be seen by lots of folks. You want your morning caffeine? You'll need to take a glance at our message first. 

Two examples: 

First, our Associate Dani Napier spotted custom coffee sleeves at her local coffee shop. The sleeves were used to market the new exhibit at the nearby Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida. 

Second, custom sleeves caught the eye of our Principal Jeff Kallay on a recent visit to the University of Richmond. These sleeves featured stories about current students. 

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Messages on wooden stir sticks? Fast facts about your institution on sugar packets? What everyday items are your guests using that can be used for more marketing and branding? 

Sidewalks: Not Just for Walking

Let's face it: our faces point down when walking these days. Mostly because we're all walking with a supercomputer in our hands. 

So why do we keep putting up expensive wayfinding on signage? Many businesses and colleges are moving to sidewalk graphics and paint to make announcements and get visitors where they need to be. 

Can you start using your sidewalks more?

Putting "X" in Visitor Experience: Texas Wesleyan University

We love a good photo opp. And we love traveling in Texas. Everything is bigger - including opportunities for guest interaction. 

On a recent visit to our client Texas Wesleyan University, our campus tour led us to one of the most instagrammable moments of our 2018 travels. 

With a goal to have students use "TxWes" more, this installation helps build school spirit and support their marketing campaign. Brilliant, memorable, and fun. 
 

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Lobby Conversation Starters

Ever sat in the lobby of a doctor's office? Us too. It's quiet, uncomfortable, and the only noise you typically hear is the shuffling of magazines and papers.

Breaking this quiet is tough. Music, good furniture, ambassadors and staff floating in the lobby, and good hospitality can all help. But getting families to converse with each other/breaking the ice is the toughest part.

Recently, we were at a restaurant where conversation starters were stamped right into the table. They were provocative, funny, and definitely broke the ice.

What can you do to help start conversations between families?

Yes, I'll have a side of feelings with my burger. 

Yes, I'll have a side of feelings with my burger. 

Disrupt Your Campus Visit Experience

Who is visiting campus? What do they want from the campus visit? 

The answers to these questions have changed in recent years, and we have found that too many institutions are not adjusting their visit to correspond with those changes. In the latest issue of OctaneenrollmentFUEL's quarterly magazine, Jeff Kallay responds and offers up a solution to those struggling to keep the attention of visiting families. Disrupt Your Campus Visit Experience makes the case for flexible tours and relevant content tailored to the GenX parent and Gen Z student now in the college search process. 

The article provides the basics of what families are asking while on campus and includes three best practice examples from our clients that have "disrupted" their campus visit to better suit prospective families.  

Is your campus visit relevant to today's audience?