Ring Lesson #1: Identifying and Designing Your Moment in Space and Time

Wait a minute. Give me a minute. A New York minute. Minute by minute. Yep, we focus a lot on minutes, or lack thereof. Time is precious and one of our most valuable assets. Therefore, many barriers exist in earning a slice of people’s time. With this daily battle in mind, how often do you think about your brand’s secret weapon – the designed moment - that moment when you have an opportunity to make an impression, to make a friend for life?

We all know the importance of focusing on what makes us different. The goal though is to identify and capitalize on what makes us distinct; the components of our brand that we can authentically own. The moments that only we, the brand owners, can design to have maximum impact. So, I ask again, have you identified your most impactful moments? More importantly, have you designed them? Following my suggestion to shed the gloves and fight back in the quest for brand loyalty, this is my ring lesson #1.

P&G coined the phrase “the moment of truth” as that most critical place and time for engagement between the beloved customer and a brand. The moment when a person is standing in front of a product within the retail aisle, considering a purchase. But this philosophy does not only apply to consumer packaged goods. The moment of truth also exists for brands that thrive within other spaces and time.

Here’s an off-the-wall example: I had Lasik surgery recently. After years of deliberating, I finally decided the time was right. Was I terrified? Damn right. Even though all my research and the proliferation of marketing messages confirmed the process was safe and effective, at the end of the day, I was voluntarily allowing someone to shoot lasers into my eyes. Pretty big deal.

I went into the experience expecting the normal nuisance of going to the eye doctor. It was a medical procedure, right? Normal. Sit in the waiting room. Wait for them to call my name, “Kathryn” instead of “Kitty” because they only know me by reading my file. But what I encountered was anything but normal. Kitty was cared for as a human being from the moment I stepped in for my first consultation, not exam. The physical environment was highly designed for comfort and luxury. After all, this wasn’t a necessary procedure. Let’s admit, vanity sends most of us under the laser-knife.

My consultation visit was a few days before the scheduled procedure and the waiting became torture. Surprisingly, while I’d gone to the initial visit with great anxiety, I now anxiously awaited the procedure date with butterflies of excitement. I couldn't wait! How’d they do that? Was there something in that fancy bottle of water they provided while I was watching the “Meet Dr. Whiting” video? Well, no. But they did design every single moment they had with me inside their studio. The most impactful moment during this courting phase? I was given an opportunity to complete a preferences list in advance of the day of my procedure. Much like celebrities request certain artifacts, dietary preferences or down right over-the-top obnoxious demands, I was asked to select two very specific sensory components. I could request a specific genre of music or artist and the actual color inside the laser studio. Wait, what? Yes, I could dictate the color hue of my procedure room.

Cool! I had some decisions to make as I was sent home feeling cared for, pampered even. My concerns had vanished. And not only was I willing and ready, I was excited and curious about how they would pull this off.

The big day did not disappoint. In fact, the day I shed my goggles was the day they created one more loyal fan for their brand. The team delivered on every promise. When I walked into the laser studio for the moment of truth, not only was Adele crooning away as I had requested, but she was belting out the one song I wanted to hear. The temperature of the room was cool but I was comfortable because they had told me in advance to wear a sweater. The space was delicately lit offering a soft and calming ambiance. The perfectly pink hue I had selected was doing its thing, making me feel like a princess. Honestly, I didn’t want the experience to end.

As someone immersed in the branding world day in and day out, it takes a lot to surprise and delight me. And like a lot of people today, I’m not very trusting of the messages brands put out. But the team at this clinic nailed it 100%. We are less inclined to believe what someone says but likely to trust how someone makes us feel, right? That’s exactly how this brand engaged me. They identified the few precise moments that are most important within the context of what they deliver. Once identified, they designed with intention, considering the sensitivities that make us human beings; sight, sound, comfort and security to name just a few.

I have spoken about this Lasik experience now countless times. I refer them whenever possible and tell their story with passion. And here’s the kicker, even though I won’t likely need Lasik again, I am putting this brand in my 27% of brands I can’t live without. Yep. Because my precious peepers deserve the very best annual checkups. Sure, I could go to the little clinic right by my house that costs half as much, but they’ve done nothing to design their experience for me. There’s no way I could ever go anywhere else.

This brand is successful because they identified and designed their most important moments in time and space. Every brand has them. What are yours?

See you at FUSE!

About The Author

Kitty Hart

I am the HartofCapsule, caring for our clients, friends, colleagues and partners. When I’m not deep in strategy and design thought, I dream of belting out Diana Krall tunes in the blue haze of a nightclub. Until that dream is realized, I help Capsule’s clients understand and rise above business challenges through designed conversations. Within Capsule's blog, I write about general observations and occasional oddities of our designed world.


* indicates required