In a World of Options, Creating Customized Experiences is Key to Becoming the Preferred Choice

Insights from Washington Ideas 2017

What do a boutique fitness brand, a rapidly expanding pizza chain and a leading global pharmaceutical giant have in common? They’ve figured out how to hold our attention during a time when consumers have an unprecedented number of options at their fingertips.

From what people are eating, how people are moving and the daily ways they stay healthy, the need for a customized, interactive experience is linked to what keeps these brands growing and thriving at a time when our attention is so easily divided.

This week’s Washington Ideas took a broader view and spanned a larger DC footprint than previous years. From morning meditation sessions to evening film screenings, the range of offerings also echoed a key theme in many of the speaker’s remarks, the need to reach your audience exactly where they are and offer lots of options around the ways that they engage individually and as a group.

&Pizza founder, Michael Lastoria, started his career in marketing and realized by being on the line at his first &Pizza location that they were offering a new way to approach the age-old pizza parlor experience. He pointed out that “pizza has always been customizable to an extent, we just looked for a way to make it more visual, interactive and aligned with a larger purpose.”  &Pizza looks to better support their employees, called Tribe Members, and also seeks out what he called “little giants” – emerging entrepreneurs &Pizza engages as suppliers. &Pizza is looking to be the option that delivers the customizable experience that customers crave that keeps them coming back to indulge in a guilty pleasure without the guilt.

SoulCycle CEO, Melanie Whelan’s, mission includes getting people moving and offering added “soul” through her corps of instructors at 82 locations that are given “freedom within a framework” to tailor a SoulCycle class and make it their own. She commented that people come to SoulCycle for the workout and stay for the community. At a time when most fitness brands focus on memberships, SoulCycle uses a pay-per-class model to “hold themselves accountable” to every class experience. While cycling studio competition is certainly growing, Whelan shared that “what we’re really competing with is people’s time and we need to deliver great value through an immersive experience.”

Time and 24/7 connectivity also resonated with Pfizer’s Global President Inflammation and Immunology, Angela Hwang, who spoke of the need for true “You” focused care that considers the empowered patient who comes to their physician with more individualized knowledge than ever before – from their step count and sleep quality to their genetic code – advocating for health and access to clinicians on their own time, in-person or virtually.

As you look to 2018 and plans for maximizing communications impact on your overall goals, we would welcome the opportunity to brainstorm how to better individualize your audiences’ experience with your brand. Whether you’re looking to attract and retain members or increase engagement with your cause, leveraging every touch point will make a difference in scaling and spreading your messages in 2018 and beyond.

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