Transperia Group, Inc.
Transformational Experiences That Drive Business Results

Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Creativity vs. Innovation

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

There is a difference between having an original, creative idea and truly being innovative. The two are often assumed, incorrectly, to be synonymous. There are many people, companies and organizations that have (or have had) an original, creative idea and assumed, by default, that they were “Innovators.” Not necessarily the case.

AOL gave America access to the Internet.  Microsoft made it possible for the average person to have an affordable, productive PC.  MySpace ushered in the era of social media.  They all had great, new, creative ideas that made a substantial impact on the world.  But where are they now?  I’m not suggesting these companies have nothing left to offer, or can’t eventually regain some of their original, creative greatness.  What is clear is that they have all been eclipsed by others in their respective fields that understood the importance of reinvention and true innovation.

It’s one thing to have a creative – even innovative – idea, but true Innovators continue to reinvent, design, develop and create new ideas and ways of doing things; the others often hang on to their “original” idea and try to replicate it in perpetuity. A true Innovator does not desire to hang on to one idea or way of doing things, regardless of how cool, amazing or groundbreaking it was. True Innovators are continually driven to bring about change – and change the world in the process.

Sony Walkman Project

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

Talk about a cool experience. Sony has taken a risk in promoting their latest Walkman media player.

Their website says, “The Walkman Project is an incredible musical collaboration that lets you make and share music with other people around the world.”

Sony has created a vehicle where people can collaborate on a piece of music together—each one adding his/her own part. You can sing, play or mix tracks. You then upload your contribution. Little by little, the musical piece grows, morphs and changes as each part is added. A very, very cool idea.

To promote this collaborative project (and their product), Sony created a video highlighting how even the most seemingly insignificant contribution makes an impact on the whole.

It’s brilliant.

The video features 130 musicians, all gathered in one place, performing a musical composition where each musician plays only one note at a time. The piece moves by beautifully as you watch each musician playing their one note, but the whole coming together fluidly and flawlessly.

It’s amazing.

I can’t imagine the immensity of the challenge of wrangling 240 microphones, handling 130 sensitive artist egos and juggling the logistics of such an endeavor.

Watch the video. It will blow your mind (at least it did mine).

Sony could have just done a regular product launch for their new Walkman. But instead, they created an experience for people to jump into, and also created a cool experience for the 130 musicians who played on the video, and then shared that experience with us.

Sony reminds us of the need to break the mold on our status quo events, projects or media. How about you? Is it business as usual, or are you creating an experience that will involve and impact your audience and not soon be forgotten?

Thrilling Your Customers (Apple Does it Again)

Friday, September 5th, 2008

The experience we create for our customers goes beyond the time they are at our events, on our sales floors or using our products.

To foster customer loyalty and even build a cult-like following, you have to thrill the customer—even after the sale, or your obligation, is done.

I’m a huge Apple fan.  I’ve been using Macs for over 20 years.  I’m already in the fold—it’s a done deal—but yesterday I got another HUGE reminder of why I love Apple.  They extended my customer experience by thrilling me.  Here’s what happened:

On Tuesday of this week, I sent my almost three-year-old PowerBook G4 in to Apple to get some repairs done.  Being an Apple Care member (their extended warranty program), I had about 2 more months left before the warranty expired.  I decided to send the laptop in to get some final repairs while I still could.  Among the things I needed fixed was a flaky monitor.

Yesterday afternoon, I got a call from Frank, at Apple Care.

He said, “Well, we have a little problem with your computer.  The screen is so bad, it can’t be repaired.  It needs to be replaced”.

“Yeah…” I said, a little hesitantly.

“Well, this might sound weird, but we currently don’t have any monitors…and it will take a month for us to get any”, he said.

“You’re kidding.  I can’t wait that long.”  I replied.

“No.  But I think I have another solution for you.”  He said.

“Okay…”  I said, and braced myself for some pain.  Frank then made a statement that shocked me.

“We’d like to send you a brand new MacBook Pro to replace this one”.  He said.

“…Uh…What?”  I replied, quite eloquently.

“We’d like to send you a brand new 2.4 GHz MacBook Pro with 2 gigs of RAM and a 200 gig hard drive.  As far as your current machine goes, we’ll either fix & try to resell it, or use it for parts”,  He told me.  “The new MacBook Pro is yours to keep.”

“Am I on Candid Camera?”  I asked.

“No”, he laughed.  “You’ve had some trouble with this machine and it’s still under its Apple Care warranty, so we’d like to give you a new one”.

I explained to him that my machine was almost 3 years old and was even an older generation (PowerBook) than the computer they wanted to send to me.  He said they realized that, then asked if it was okay for them to send me a new machine.

Once I finished picking myself up off the floor, I thanked Frank and then asked how often he gets to make these kinds of phone calls.

He said, “It’s my job to call people up and tell them they’re getting a new computer.  They call me Santa Claus around here” (now that’s what I call a great job).

I told him he was my new best friend.

Apple gets it.  They didn’t have to do anything more than replace my monitor.  They didn’t even have to give me a refurbished version of the computer I already had.  But they went above and beyond (way beyond) and offered me a better solution than I ever would have dreamed of.

In short, they thrilled me…to say the least.

My Fellow Americans…Vote for Me

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

Okay, I know this is going to come across a little narcissistic, but when I saw this, I couldn’t help but laugh.  I never thought I’d get into politics, but hey, you never know where the path of life might lead you.

–Your humble servant, Mark Bennardo.

Seriously, though, I think this is brilliant. And, you can try it yourself (it’s fun and it’s free–see below for link).

The real brilliance is in how the company PalTalk has apparently created this viral marketing tool to promote their instant message & video chat business. What a great way to create and use something that is fun, engaging and highly shareable to create some buzz for your product.

Also notice the subtle, almost subliminal product placement for PalTalk in the video.  Fantastic.

Well done, PalTalk!

PS: To try it out and throw your own hat in the ring, go here!

Windows, Seinfeld & Image Control

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

Jerry SeinfeldMicrosoft has recently teamed with Jerry Seinfeld to create an ad campaign for Windows, reports Fox News.

While Microsoft owns the PC market in America (a reported 90%), it seems the popular, “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” adds have not only been effective at raising Apple’s market share (up 32% in the last year—and climbing), but have done even more to effectively damage Microsoft’s already stodgy image.

Microsoft is hoping to create a younger, “hipper” image with ads featuring the likes of Jerry Seinfeld (who, incidentally is 54 years old—so much for “young”) and others to the tune of $300 million.

It’s ironic that in the early days of the Seinfeld show, Jerry had a series of Macs on the desk in his apartment. I guess money talks—(his take in this deal is a reported $10 million)—“not that there’s anything wrong with that”.

Here’s the deal, though: Microsoft has a product that provides solid basics (arguably). The Mac, on the other hand, has always focused on creating an amazing user experience. Over the years, Apple’s customers have become cult-like and crazy-loyal because of the experience Apple has given them.

Clever advertising is helpful, but what Microsoft still doesn’t seem to understand is that their image is flawed, not because of their advertising, but because of their products.

My old friend, John Carlson, recently made the following comment, which I think bears repeating:

“Perhaps if Microsoft put $300 million into
• Better software engineers
• Better product development and
• Innovation, with the idea of actually making a better product,
they wouldn’t have to work so hard to compete with Apple.”

Well said, John.

The user’s experience is what ultimately makes the difference. Not the level of your celebrity.

Help Me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re My Only Hope.

Friday, August 1st, 2008

Ever since I saw Star Wars as a kid, I wanted to be a hologram. Or, I wanted to be projected as a hologram. Princess Leia’s desperate plea for help to Obi-Wan was too cool back in 1977.

Well, it looks like the wait just might be over. I came across this technology and thought it was absolutely amazing. It seems a company in the U.K. called Musion has been doing hologram projection and communication for a while now.

Not only that, but there can be two-way communication using this technology. It also appears the subject can be:
• Live
• Pre-recorded
• Graphic or
• Virtual

If you haven’t seen it yet, you’ve got to check out this video (click here) where they used holograms on-stage at a live event for Cisco. The live on-stage presenter actually had an interactive conversation with the “hologram guys”—live.

The implications for special events, virtual presentation, advertising and entertainment are staggering. The only limitations are the imaginations of the people using this technology.

Amazing.

There are several other clips of how Musion has used their technology on their site. I especially liked the clip from the FIFPro XI World Player Awards. Click around their site a bit and see if it doesn’t knock your socks off. I know it did mine.

In The Beginning…

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

Earth from SpaceOur world changes at a rate that’s no longer possible to measure or adequately describe (“speed of sound”, “speed of light”, etc. don’t seem to cut it anymore). And it’s becoming more and more difficult to distinguish our message and products in a culture/marketplace/business environment that is constantly in flux.

The competition for our attention and affections is getting tougher by the minute. More and more, what is required to differentiate a product, event or service is the experience that we create for people.

It used to be that our offerings would stand out if they were of excellent quality, were highly creative, or unique in some way. No longer. Today’s economy requires us to go beyond these expected qualities and provide an experience for people that transcends the status quo, engages them personally, excites their senses and becomes, in a word, memorable.

The Art of Experience is an ongoing dialogue in how to create experiences for our audiences (customers, employees, conference attendees…) that will not only engage them, but also change and transform them, and bring about the outcomes we’re hoping for.

Transperia Group (the sponsor of this forum) gets its very name from the concept of creating “transformational experiences” to drive the results we are after.

So, what creates a “transformational experience”? What does it take to move beyond the status quo and enter the realm of “experience”? That’s what we’re hoping to discuss in this blog. Some categories that we’ll cover are:

  • Creativity
  • Innovation
  • Communication
  • Technology

The topics may vary, but in general, we’re looking for things that will help us move beyond the normal and mundane, and will inspire us in the art of creating effective experiences.

Of course, we want this to be a multi-way conversation. Please join in. If you have new ideas to add, great. If you disagree with opinions stated here, great. If you want to share your experiences with “experience”, great. We’d love to have you join in the fun.

Thanks for dropping by. Here’s to some stimulating conversation.

Mark T. Bennardo
Transperia Group, Inc.