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Capsule 18: Brand Moments

In celebration of turning 18 this year, the Capsule team takes a look at some of the things we have learned on our journey to adulthood.

This week, we're talking about our favorite brand moments.

We associate brand moments with all sorts of wrapped up conscious and subconscious memories. These memories wire and rewire our experiences and perceptions of a particular brand, and touch all five senses and stimulate important thoughts and emotions. These key moments are sometimes carefully designed, and sometimes a natural consequence of another repeatable experience you find yourself in with a brand.

Nevertheless, positive brand moments inherently form positive brand love.

Here's 18 of ours:

18. Did I forget something? Getting out of an Uber for the first time

Do you remember the first time you used Uber? You ordered your ride and watch as the animated little car approaches your location. You know to look for Karen, who drives a black Honda Accord. Karen pulls up, you get in, get dropped off, open the door, and you feel like you've forgotten something, touching your pocket thinking you haven't fussed around with your wallet to pay. You then remember you have paid and can simply just open the door, and walk away - ah ha. Before this brand underwent some serious flack, Uber was reinventing the "taxi" experience, and as a consequence, rewriting your memory through this series of brand moments where you now expect this convenience from all ride sharing.

17. Taking your first sip out of a Hydro Flask

A brand moment that sticks out to me is related to one of our clients – Hydro Flask. When Beth (designer) first used one of their bottles on a hot day she expected the ice to melt quickly, but vividly remembers the refreshing surprise of running out of water before out of ice.

16. Wandering Target's 'The One Spot' section

Like most Minnesotans, we have approximately 1 million reasons for loving Target. But one moment that Kayla (designer) particularly loved since they introduced is ‘The One Spot’ – the section right at the front of the store filled with home goods, toys, tech accessories and all sorts of other knickknacks. "Even though I know those $1 items add up, and that Target is essentially priming me to spend more money, I am usually so charmed by the impeccable design and affordable price tag that I don’t seem to mind. Even if I’m just running in quick to buy something boring like dish soap, I love that I can always spend a quick minute browsing through the beautifully on-trend items that Target is so good at creating." This "One-Spot" has definitely become rewired as a must-stop in the Target experience for many.

15. L'Oreal kids

If you're a daughter or mother, you probably are reminded of the watermelon aroma of L'Oreal kids shampoo and detangler spray each time you walk past it in the aisles of your local drugstore. The citrus smells take me back to the days of my mom gently combing my densely knotted thick hair, using about a spray of L'Oreal Kids Tangle Tamer per stroke. Those moments of nostalgia will forever be embedded in me and are deeply tied to the L'Oreal brand.

14. Apple unboxing

Ever notice that when you buy a new iPhone at the Apple Store, the attendant helping you will get your packaged phone from the back, unwrap the plastic, but never open the box for you? Instead, you're handed the pristine package and left to have the tactile experience of sliding off the top and be the first to touch the phone. Apple wants you, the customer to be the first to experience that unvieling moment. Apple was the first to begin this "unboxing revolution," where a customer's experience with the package was as well-designed as the product itself. Apple even employs packaging specific designers to curate this visual, tactile experience, who spend months on end practicing the simple act of unboxing, paying attention to the ease of pulling of the lid to peeling off the clasping stickers. There's something extra special about that moment that it is imprinted in our brains.

13. Your first joy ride on a Schwinn bicycle

Managing Principal, Aaron Keller fondly recalls the moment he successfully rode his Schwinn bike as a kid. "It was like taking flight, the speed felt so much faster than walking and even running. It was from this moment and memory that I traveled all over the world to bike, rode over mountains and across Iowa."

12. Pretty surprises in your Glossier package

"The first time I received my Glossier Cloud Paint and Boy Brow in the mail, I just about screamed from the pleasant surprise of extra goodies inside the box. Clean packaging with cute messages on the inside top, playful stickers to animate and customize your Glossier products, postcards and posters of edgy women, a free priming moisturizer sample, and a glistening complementary pink pouch with my makeup products awaiting inside. I always get equally excited to receive this package in the mail for the extra surprises as much as I do for the products I order. Glossier is another brand making the unboxing of their products into a larger brand experience that goes beyond the product to create moments of brand interaction." -Ellen, Marketing & New Business Intern

11. Twitter sounds

"I love the noise Twitter makes when you click the home button after unread tweets load. It sounds like a bubble being popped and makes me excited to read whatever I missed. It's something that is so simple and seemingly meaningless, but is a distinct experience I expect every time I open the app." -Maddi, Project Coordinator

10. MTV

The image of the logo hitting the screen after the debut of a Michael Jackson, Prince, or Destiny's Child music video, following the changing background inside the type and a fading to the announcer was an important brand moment for many across generations that speaks to the living, vibrant identity of MTV both then and now. "The musicians had our ears but it was this new station that had my imagination," says Aaron.

9. DiGiorno - No cheese left behind

Sometimes a brand will solve a problem you didn’t even realize you had – for Kayla, that problem was the little bits of shredded cheese that always fall off the frozen pizza when you take it out of the plastic shrink wrap. "I never thought of it as a huge deal, but it meant I always had a small mess on my counter after preparing my pizza. One day I opened a Digiorno frozen pizza, and it was wrapped in a slightly different plastic sleeve than I was used to. I was able to peel off the top, then simply lift the pizza out of the remaining plastic tray. All the loose cheese was contained in the packaging – it took what was already the simplest meal to prepare, and made it even simpler." Obviously Digiornos isn’t changing the world with this moment, but as a pizza-lover it's an important moment of pleasant surprise rewriting your expectations for your next frozen pizza.

8. Amazon's 1-Click Buy

The experience with Amazon’s 1-Click buy has changed the way we interact and shop with Amazon. It's a firm brand moment for account manager, Rachel. "Being able to now buy things with one tap has saved me tons of time (and money) and has changed the way I purchase things. The first time I tried 1-click buy was definitely a 'lightbulb' moment for me. I try to support retail when I can, but my seamless experience track record with Amazon keeps me coming back to them."

7. Matchbox

"Racing cars on construction orange plastic tracks until parents called us up for a meal. Looping around, launching these small metal cars feet into the air and watching them crash had to inspire many future NASCAR drivers. The weight of the cars in your hand felt like they were to scale, in every way. Details had to matter to the designers, just as much as the full size car designers." - Aaron, Managing Principal

6. The hidden details of Harry's

Harry’s is one of those brands that has beautifully designed moments all over the place. Little packaging details like this wooly mammoth hidden under one of the tabs offer pleasant surprise with every unboxing.

5. Ms. Pac-Man

The first and numerous times when your quarter fell from grasp to signal the “single player” sound on the video game console. This little character chomped around under our control and for hours upon hours of play with friends.

4. The sweet smells of Lush

Lush Cosmetics is worth the trip to a brick and mortar store. Their products are a feast for the senses and consistently deliver on a great experience when shopping at their stores. You can read more about Rachel, our account manager's experience with Lush and brand moments here.

3. Schroeder milk mustaches every day of grade school

Aaron's grade school Grade AA 1% milk was a staple item for his small town school lunch. This carton of milk brand was repeatedly burned into his memory as the drink of choice paired perfectly with the cafeteria food he had no idea was mediocre quality.

2. Getting your gear repaired at Patagonia's Worn Wear Pop Up

We love the Worn Wear truck here at Capsule, and not just because we worked on a packaging project for the well-known outdoor brand. The Patagonia people traveling with the truck will repair any gear, whether it’s Patagonia or another brand, to promote reuse of clothing and gear. They’ll even show you how to repair your item yourself and let you use their sewing machine. Some of our Capsule team recently went down to the brand's latest pop up at Tattersall Distillery in Minneapolis to patch up a few holes of their own gear while enjoying food and drinks. Account manager, Dave continually revisits this brand moment, "Patagonia’s ecumenical approach to repair is indicative of their ethos, using gear longer means using less which means more for the environment. It encourages people to take good care of their gear, regardless of the brand, and encourage people to invest in gear that lasts."

1. Try before you buy at Sephora

As a retailer of higher-end cosmetics, Sephora’s entire in-store experience encourages shoppers to test out the makeup before they buy. The stations with disposable applicators, makeup remover, tissues and cotton balls are particularly staple pieces of the retailer– all accompanied by a mirror that is clearly visible so you can quickly locate the closest station. This crafted makeup application station signals to customers that you don't have to sneakily try on that berry lipstick in the aisle.

For more of our favorite brand moments, check out The Physics of Brand.

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