...A forward thinking company like amazon.com would make a mint!
There's nothing like rounded experience in an industry, specially from all the customer/stakeholder perspectives. Both at Univeristy and ata certain jobs and while excercising other roles, I have seen what an important part music plays. Enskilling people and creating unforgetable experiences...for all the right reasons.

One mega huge obstacle that I faced was the complexity and costs of creating compilation CDs.

Perhaps my "googling" has not been too powerful, but I did struggle to find an eay example of "on demand" licensing/royalty payments.

You would have thought that by 2008 Grandma Ruth-less, and our spinster aunt Miss-Chiveous would have been in the hood releasing their own Gansta Latin rap CD...and paying out royalties "on demand" (as CDs get digitally mastered and sent out).

What I did find, was two companies that navigated the legal mires for you and offered you fixed licensing pricing based on a minimum purchase, and your album would be customized to an extent!

At Magnatune...
The example pricing, for 100 units and a full CD the cost was $600 (licensing)

Sound Promotions
Their Private Label CD Collection services had also a bunch of options and genres, including your own artwork on sleeves, different cases, etc.

Tate-the-piche... ;-) and get away with it?
It appears that the only ones who don't have to worry about this Licensing Merlakie (hey, that's the best guess for a native spanish speaker) is if you are producing a compliation cd for art's sake and are "mixing in" parody, with some "looping around..."

...hey you may get away with producing compilation cds that under other circumstances could be conceived to be violating copyrights!

At least that's what the New York Times reported on an article it titled, 'An Exhibition That Borrows Brazenly'...

Illegal Art: Freedom of Expression in the Corporate Age,'' where the potentially inflammatory CD is available free, and of its Web site, illegal-art.org.

If Amazon or an online label aggregator where to introduce dynamic compilation CD creation with automatic licensing that got sorted invisibly and whose royalties got paid in line with production-on-demand. Then...wow!

What's in it for me?
The fact that I got these ideas out of me head!...they persecute me and won't let me rest until I get them out...and maybe I have a couple of extra little ideas up my sleeve that I want to profit-share?

I would love to add Skribit to this blog...if only...
For those who haven't had a chance to check it out, Skribit is a type of widget that you can add to your blog (usually in the right side-bar. It enables your readers to suggest articles to write or issues to explore.

I would prefer to have it as a widget which could be implemented automatically at the bottom of blog posts "as a widget for the new blogger". A bit like Share This have done.

I have done some screen shots for the developer gang, and hope they take note ;-)

Skribit Passive (post footer):

Skribit Activated (post footer):

Share This

The Old & Vulnerable Fall for Reader's Digest Prize tactic?

There are mixed opinions with regards to the reader's digest prize draw! notice how I used lower case due to my disgust with the practice. Check some of these out, here, and here.

The experience in my family has been that my Dad has been bombarded with book adverts at the same time as the prize draw slips. The brain, and its power of association has ensured that a few have got books thinking that this will help their advancement. But it didn't work that way.

Reader's Digest don't stop sending out more and more mail and our rain forests suffer more for it.avalanche of marketing material from readers digest

Kassel, Germany - the practical examples of Customer delight in the real world!
It's not hard to imagine going to a restaurant on a romantic tete-a-tete with your partner on your birthday. But what is definitely astonishing is the emotional intelligence behind a manager who while monitoring on staff interaction picks-up on this fact to create an opportunity to surprise & delight!

The outcome of the female connection with emotional intelligence and feeling? I was presented with a candle lit flower arrangement and a "Plum Chiew" alcoholic beverage.It was an amazing & genuine experience, you could see it in the eyes of the female manager & owner of the Chinese restaurant, who happened to be the mother of the waiter who was entertaining us with idle chat for the evening in Kassel, Germany. It's one of those rare & genuine service experience encounters that you will treasure forever!...This was true textbook "customer delight"...why aren't more service experiences engineered like this...?...It got me thinking!

...If some forward thinking, forward looking restauranteur embraced customer delight on a regular basis and mixed it up with best practice from around the world, surely they would kick so much butt in the restaurant trade in the UK!

Tips discovered while reading books, third-party research, social-psychology & experiencing cuisine across 3 continents and at least 10 countries:
>Amazing tasty food that will make your customers rave!...people only talk about delightful or disgusting experiences, if you're in the middle you're dying. I just experienced my best Indian Restaurant ever (Frankfurt, Germany) and my best ever Chinese (Kassel, Germany)
>Do your staff have faces for a mortuary or a friendly tourist office?...get friendly, approachable, amicable smiley and attentive staff (that take reliable orders)!
>Don't delay customers with their orders, if you do, make sure they get something in return, learn from Wendy's!!!
>Make sure everything in that restaurant is fresh & clean: from ingredients, to the smell of those toilets!
>Customer loyalty?...What's my reward?....My local Indian gives me free papadoms, my Italian free Masala!
>Is your decor & ambiance building or breaking your image?...remember, perception is reality. If customer's think you're cutting corners on the decor & toilet paper...then...mmmm....
>Travel the continents to pick up on best practice - right from your PC! Top English speaking newspapers around the world have a web-presence and corresponding email subscriptions - some free that cover restaurants!
>Stay abreast with free research from top Universities, milk the power of google with the use of the appropriate keywords to find trends, etc.
>Get inspiration from the hotel sector, see what they are doing as many offer cuisine as part of their offering!....there's tons of free stuff online.

But our experience of customer delight when beyond food ;)
Our accommodation was with a German couple with a newborn. When they took our details, the wife remembered that the day we were leaving Kassel Germany, to go to Frankfurt was the morning of my birthday!....I had a candle next to my side of the table & happy birthday decoration....when I came in for breakfast in the morning. A nice touch ;) ...they had our money, we will be unlikely to return until the next documenta in 5 years, so the gesture was purely in the giving and caring!...when service is provided because you enjoy providing excellent service, attention to detail shows!

How this quest to experience customer delight started....
My education and work experience has enabled me to travel across 3 continents and at least 10 countries. This has allowed me to experience the delivery of products and services across many cultures and within diverse situations. From the essential "Food, Glorious Food!!!"...and some not so glorious ;) as Oliver Twist would put it to accommodation, through to accommodation and tourist information, I have been on the receiving side of a wide spectrum of products and services, with little to talk about, but the excellent exceptions and the awful, which in retrospect make me smile in a cringing way ;)

I have always kept a mental log of these experiences, and share the corresponding stories to amazed and bewildered people who accompany for some instances in my life-journey.

Funny when examples of your business reading are experience in the real world
It's funny how extraordinary serendipity can sometimes use your daily & mundane experience to provide real-life examples related to the business books you are reading at the time!...the intellectual recipe I was digesting was quite rich: emotional intelligence (audio & reading), Mirror Neurons (which have a social dimension), The Starbucks experience, various papers related to "atmospherics" in virtual & real settings (within the services & retail industries) and two books on innovation from one of the world's best industrial & product design agencies, IDEO: The Ten Faces of Innovation and The art of innovation-Success Through Innovation the IDEO Way.

Take the cuisine experience
When overseas I alway like to evaluate and contrast the restaurant experience with that in the UK, and I try to see how close the experience gets to my ideal restaurant experience. The cuisine experience which I manifested in its full beauty in my mind?...An extreme cuisine experience where the food was the ultimate I ever tasted, the staff the most friendly & gifted when it came to rapport building/emotional intelligence, a setting that could transport me to the food's place of origin, and an atmosphere that would keep me hypnotised until I could not squeeze another morsel through my teeth and which would end with the "sound of the remote pin-machine" awaiting my four digit input!

The "practical reality of my customer delight" experience was to unfold before my very eyes in the real-world before me during my holidays!....wow, what better way to consolidate your understanding of learned concepts while being relaxed and filling up your belly ;)

Germany 1 - England 0 (Experience of Chinese & Indian restaurants)
My wife and had gone to Kassel, Germany for the Famous Documenta 12, the mother of all contemporary art exhibitions, which takes place every five years and had gone on in that city for exactly 60years.
I thought that it would be an excellent time & opportunity to engage my two passions; the arts & to catch up on my business reading: "The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary (by Joseph Michelli)" and Harvard Business Review's September OnPoint (European Edition):...it also provided me with the opportunity to digest "The Ten Faces of Innovation" , specifically chapter 7: the experience architect (pp 165-192). The other nine "faces of innovation" also encompass human qualities & attitudes that for me make the best of leveraging the logical brain's analytical qualities and filtering these through the right-brain's emotional intelligence. Again, very much in-line with the development of emotive products and in-line with my interest in the brain (emotional intelligence & mirror neurons) and its shaping of consumer behaviour.

Focusing on the restaurant experience, I must admit that in the evening I was exposed to some of the best food I have had during my current existence, but what is even more amazing was that only two restaurants got most customer experience factors I have examined, studies and learned about, but only one managed to truly delight me in a memorable way, even though the food was average!..an Indian restaurant & two Chinese restaurants.

The Motel One Experience - Consistent branding with a mile of a smile ;)
Our experience of Motel One gave us another opportunity to experience customer delight...Free WIFI in the Lobby!...and what a lobby!!!

While plenty of the hotels I have been to charge you to the hilt with every little luxury they can, Motel One was refreshing with the fact that you could connect to their WIFI for free at the Lobby. No time limit or anything!...If you wanted WIFI in your room, then you paid for it!...but who wanted to in such a chilled out and wicked lobby anyway?

We were more than Happy to surf the web on our Nokia's check our emails and social networks!
And the rooms?...out of this world and impeccable....just check out the images ;)

All in all, customer delight is about those surprises that are included as part of the services without boasting about it or trying to coerce you in any psychological way. It is that human touch, that detail that makes you smile and want to talk about it, and in turn transforms you into a brand evangelist -a.k.a. a word of mouth recommended fanatic ;)Some of the following reading, research and resources provide some of the elements behind engineering customer delight and experiences (experience marketing):

Ben and Jerry's Double-dip: Lead with Your Values and Make Money Too (Paperback)
by Ben R. Cohen and Jerry Greenfield

Building Great Customer Experiences (Hardcover), by Colin Shaw and John Ivens

Connected Marketing: The Viral, Buzz and Word of Mouth Revolution (Paperback)
by Justin Kirby (Editor) and Paul Marsden (Editor)

Emotion Marketing: The Hallmark Way of Winning Customers for Life by Scott Robinette and Claire Brand (Hardcover - 1 Jan 2001)

Gung Ho!: Turn on the People in Any Organization (One Minute Manager) (Paperback)
by Kenneth H. Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles

Raving Fans: Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service (One Minute Manager) (Paperback)
by Kenneth H. Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles

The DNA of Customer Experience: How Emotions Drive Value by Colin Shaw (Hardcover - 11 May 2007)

Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable (Paperback) , Seth Godin

99-cows, Seth Godin's- Free eBook- (wordbiz)

Squidoo: Customer Service Psychology (collection of resoruces & links)

The Best-Practice Hamburger: How Wendy's Enhances Performance with its BSC, Harvard Business Review, Digital Download (PDF), 3pp. $ 9.50

The Anatomy of Buzz: How to Create Word of Mouth Marketing (Paperback) by Emanuel Rosen

The Art of Innovation: Success Through Innovation the IDEO Way by Thomas Kelley (Paperback - 4 Mar 2002)

The Secrets of Word-of-Mouth Marketing: How to Trigger Exponential Sales Through Runaway Word-of-Mouth: How to Trigger Exponential Sales Through Runaway Word of Mouth (Paperback) by Silverman

The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary (Hardcover), by Joseph Michelli

The Ten Faces of Innovation: Strategies for Heightening Creativity by Tom Kelley and Jonathan Littman (Paperback - 3 Aug 2006)

Measuring customer satisfaction in the fast food industry: a cross-national approach, G. Ronald Gilbert, Cleopatra Veloutsou, Mark M.H. Goode, Luiz Moutinho, Journal of Services Marketing, ISSN: 0887-6045, volume: 18, Issue: 5, Page: 371 - 383, 2004 (available digital download via emerald insight) - £14.50

Fresh business thinking: Fast Company (magazine, US), with search-able digital archive

More Fresh business thinking: Business 2.0 (magazine, US), with search-able digital archive

Explore and learn about: Neuroeconomics, which combines neuroscience, economics, and psychology to study how we make choices. check out Neuroeconmics in Wikipedia, or another of my articles that looks at emotion & choice, and has further interesting references.

emotional brain and buying behaviourLogical consumer & current buying behaviour school of thought...selling us short?
The current textbook approach to consumer purchasing behaviour and the corresponding purchasing process may be providing an inaccurate picture.

Researchers have been deploying functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) with interview elicitation techniques to: monitor, visually represent and match brain activity to how humans manage decisions. These decisions are framed in the short & long term and these have been shown to be tied to conscious and unconscious thinking...to arrive at a purchasing decision.

buying seen as cold and calculating process

Distinction of conscious & unconscious thinking within the buying process...minus the philosophy
Thinking about buying a new car while directing attention at potential candidates and their attributes is said to constitute conscious thought.

Take the same scenario, but this time Thinking about buying a new car while your attention may be engaged during various intervals at other things or activities has been cited to be unconscious thought.

[Ap Dijksterhuis, 2006]

Experiments & Quantitative research: demonstrates a significant relationship between the conscious and unconscious

Research experiments with students demonstrated that within certain products conscious thinking was the dominating mode for some, while for other products it was unconscious.

Products where conscious thinking dominated in the experiments...
conscious thinking as the most dominating mode of thinking when it came to buying:

  • Toothpaste
  • Shampoo
  • a CD
  • Shoes
Products where subconscious thinking dominated int he experiments...
Unconscious thinking as the most dominating mode of thinking when it came to buying:
  • Airline Ticket
  • Camera
  • Hotel room
  • Car
Influence of short term gain Vs long term...enter neuroeconomics
Neuro research is examining the symbiosis between our rational & irrational behaviour by linking in "time" into the buying & decision making process and highlighting how "time makes us behave inconsistently"...due to the perceived risks, rewards and our in-built loss-aversion.

Our hard-wired fear of loss and personality adds the complexity of emotion and personality-type to the mix...

Researchers set up experiments where scenarios of loss could be created, such as winning & losing money. Rsearchers discovered that the subjective, negative feeling of loss was much more
intense for people than the buzz gained by winning. Other researdch andstudies suggest that losses may have twice the psychological impact of equivalent gains (Schwartz, 2004). Add to this mix, the personality element (satisficer - happy with what you can get, and maximizer, a perfectionist who only wants the best). Therefore the fear of loss as a result of a wrong decision may be abhored and felt more my maximizers than satisficers....hence the term "loss aversion."
[Barry Schwartz is the Author of "The Paradox of Choice - Why more is less - Winner of BusinessWeek's top ten book of the Year ]

According to Harvard University's David Laibson, Professor of Economics, we can be trapped by our primitive brain when it comes to the issue of consumption or to delay its gratification (an appeal to the hedonic part of our makeup?). We therefore tend to behave primitively...like a chimp after his banana. Laibson coined "quasi-hyperbolic discounting" to describe the behavior. The link intervention and between our Dr. Jeckel & Mr. Hyde part of our brains in terms of primitive (linked to instinct, survival and primordial needs), conscious-logical and the resulting behaviour in an economic setting (resulting in a choice & corresponding decision) is being examined and explored by what has been coined as "Neuroeconomics".

Smart companies are engineering "emotion" eliciting & engaging products & services
Donald Norman, Cognitive Science professor at the University of California, and author of the books "The Psychology of Design", and "Emotional Design", has examined our tribal and historical relationship with objects & artifacts throughout our millennia. By bringing the elements of beauty, aesthetics and design into products companies are tapping into the subconscious and emotional part of the brain. Thus they are able to move gravitate away from the commoditization of goods (in a hyper-competitive market space). Products have become "experiential" through sleek contours and functional tactile materials that evoke thoughts and emotions. The Japanese have been doing it for years in the car market, by going down to the level of the sound a car-door makes when closing, to how the headlights & grill should be interpreted as an abstract character: smiling, friendly, etc...And this has been extended from the high end to the "affordable elements of products"...the engineered "cuteness" embedded into these lower-cost products (that appeal to our emotions). These are known as "Cutensils" (Time article: The redesigning of America)...also check out this article on cute plastic objects.

By engineering characteristics into products and services that bring a smile to our face on top of the expected level of quality & functionality, we are able to deliver greater experiences to our prospective customers...thus turning customer wow's into customer wows!

...but eliciting the subconscious perceptions a customer has about an existing product or services in order to map these and hence build an engaging and persuasive purchasing experience is a challenge which current market research techniques fall short on!

Useful reading & references
How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market (Hardcover)
by Gerald Zaltman (amazon associates - TinyURL)

Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things (Paperback)
by Donald A. Norman
(amazon associates - TinyURL)

The Design of Everyday Things (Paperback) by Donald A. Norman
(amazon associates - TinyURL)

Emotion and Adaptation (Paperback) by Richard S. Lazarus
"Emotions play a central role in the significant events of out lives ..."
(amazon associates - TinyURL)

The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less (Paperback) by Barry Schwartz
(amazon associates - TinyURL)

Why Logic Often Takes A Backseat
The study of neuroeconomics may topple the notion of rational decision-making

Mind Reading
The new science of decision making. It's not as rational as you think

Neuroeconomics: How Neuroscience Can Inform Economics


The Hidden Economy of Esteem
On Making the Right Choice: The Deliberation-Without-Attention Effect
Ap Dijksterhuis, et al. Science 311, 1005 (2006); DOI: 10.1126/science.1121629
(multiple product choice illustration based on this article)

Neuro-science primer

FMri Primer for congnitive neuroscientists


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