Friday, 22 June 2007

Things with which I have done 3: Attack of the phones

This brief was quite a difficult one for me, as although in other briefs I have often looked to adjusting things in-store to fit a brand, this was the first time it had been the only objective.

My task, individually this time, was to reinvent Virgin Mobile stores, to make them as fresh, technologically advanced and exciting as the likes of Apple and Urban Outfitters.

Having already done a brief for Virgin Bingo, I had a good idea of what the virgin brand as a whole stood for, but further research into Virgin Mobile on it's own lead me to the brand values that my new store would focus on.


#100% Human


These suggested that Virgin Mobile wanted their customers to be able to see how every part of the business was honest and trustworthy, because you could see it was all run by people like them, trying to do their best.

But, what better way to show the customers the store is run by people like them, than to let them design it. This also fitted in with research I had done on phone features, which suggested photos and music were the most used of the latest additions to mobiles.

And so, 'Your Virgin Mobile Store' was born. Customers will create the artwork for everything from in store posters to top-up cards, depending on the resolution of their phone cameras. The only rule was that the picture has to have a phone on it somewhere. Photo's can then be transferred to the in-store phones for appraisal.

Research into the stores Virgin mobile wanted to be like led to further improvemtns to my idea. The strong use of music in Urban Outfitters could be adjusted to suite Virgin Mobile, by allowing users to send their favourite songs to the in store phones, ready to be played in the shop once they've been approved.

Apple is famous for it's in-store tutorials, and this ethic has been further expanded on by Virgin Mobile. As well as having people able to show customers how to use phone functions and even photoshop to help with their pictures, the store will also encourage experimentation with the latest features of phones.

My research found that many of the latest features are just to complicated for many consumers to grasp. Therefore, to encourage this experimentaion without them having to spent money, the in store phones will be used to solve mystery puzzles. Hidden away in the test phones emails, videos, favourite WAP sites etc. are clues to a secret celebrity, who will come to a virgin Mobile store that month.

People who solve the mysteries will then get the chance to meet the celebrity and photograph them for use in Virgin's promotions. This follows on from the extensive use of celebrities in Virgin Mobiles recent campaigns and provides a real encouragement for experimentaion with phones.

To help all these features really draw in the technology hungry customers Virgin Mobile are aiming for, the limited window space available to the stores will showcase the customer photos and music in a very original way.

State of the art touch screen and speaker technology will mean that the window display will come alive, as passers by are able to change how the store front looks by touching the window and changing the photos being shown. Not only that, but they can also change the music being played, which will burst out the window as the glass is transformed into a giant speaker.

Together, I hope these features would not only attract these technology hungry young people, but also keep them coming back to see what's changed and keep them experimenting with the phones and interacting with the brand. (Without the use of YouTube :D)

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