Christmas Storytelling and Customer Experience: Coffee Break 18-11-16

Christmas Storytelling and Customer Experience: Coffee Break 18-11-16

Warm up with this weeks Coffee Break, where we put two retail titans head to head in the battle for this years best Christmas advert, and ask how important it is to give your customers the best brand experience while they’re on hold.

Candice, Managing Director

The magic of storytelling at Christmas

Christmas is a special time of year when people come together to share joyful moments with close family and friends. Yes, it is almost a month to go before Christmas day. How has the year flown by so quickly? I feel like I say this every year!

I am one of those that love the build up to Christmas. It’s one of my favourite times of the year. With Christmas ad’s starting to flood our tv’s, I thought I’d mention two in particular that have caught my attention so far this year.


John Lewis Christmas Advert 2016 – Buster The Boxer

If you haven’t seen it already, the John Lewis Christmas Ad came out last week. The buildup and hype to see what they have install for us had me waiting in anticipation before it came out. Over the years they have been great at storytelling – Who doesn’t remember the Monty the Penguin Christmas Ad?


I’m not sure if it was the anticipation to see this year’s ad, or if it’s because they have left us with high expectations, but I felt that I wanted more after watching Buster the Boxer.

Since last year’s Man on the Moon, they seem to have changed direction from previous campaigns, as they have always directed these campaigns into driving sales. I’m not sure what it is, the ad is very sweet and you can have a little giggle at #BusterTheBoxer, but I guess there is always next year!


Sainsbury’s Christmas advert 2016 -The Greatest Gift

I love the Sainsbury’s Christmas ad this year, as they have gone down the same direction with tapping into our way of living and our British culture. Similar to last year’s Christmas ad with Mog the family cat. We can all relate to these ads and it reflects the same theme of sharing at Christmas. Even with it being ridiculously busy, the pressure of getting the perfect gift and making it a special day, it shares the reality of what Christmas is actually all about.



It’s been said so many times that it’s powerful for brands to use storytelling as a foundation for their campaign strategies. We all grew up listening to stories and, as we grow older, we respond to tales and anecdotes. Brands need to inject the magic of storytelling into their marketing to tap into people’s emotions, which will allow them to always be remembered – and this year Sainsbury’s might have pipped John Lewis to the post.


Sian, Creative Strategist

Please Stand By: How do customers talk to your brand, and what does it say back?

The principle of 360 degree branding tells us that all touch points have an impact on brand perception. It’s a recent concept that’s seen the building blocks of brand identity shift from purely the verbal and visual, to include interactive and sensorial opportunities and experiences.

One brand touch point that’s often overlooked, that even the best logo or switching from Helvetica to Helvetica Neue won’t help fix, is customer experience. How do customers actually talk to your brand? And what does it say back?

Calling a customer help line and waiting for a long time to talk to someone won’t do much to help your brand, and if I can get through to a human quicker, and maybe listen to better on-hold music, elsewhere, chances are I’ll like that brand a lot better and go back.

Reddit users have discovered that brands like Apple are using technology to help improve the touch point of customer interaction. Get angry while on hold and shout obscenities down the phone and the system will transfer you to an operator. This is what’s called an Interactive Voice Response system, and it’s used by some brands to detect keywords that might indicate the caller is frustrated, meaning they can pick up on whether someone is having a bad time, smooth it over more quickly, and hopefully not lose the customer.

Others are taking it one step further and using data balanced with human interaction to get customer experiences right. Neil Blumenthal, co-founder and co-CEO of Warby Parker, has used technology to eliminate low value interactions, whilst amplifying high value ones.

Asking someone for their address doesn’t need to be done via a human – and in most cases we’d probably prefer to type it in ourselves on a computer – so we can use technology to eliminate that interaction and not make it as painful. Know that I like Fallout 4 through data I’ve given you and you can make sure I get put through to someone who also likes Fallout and can talk to me about playing Fallout while we wait for their computer to load my information, meaning you’ve just used tech to elevate the value of my interaction with a human, and my overall experience of your brand.



Even Fallout 4 has to consider how it keeps you on-hold while you wait for the game to load.


Considering all potential touch points is an essential part of brand building, and making divergent interventions to ensure customer experience is consistent and an enjoyable experience will not only differentiate your brand, but keep customers coming back.


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