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If you like to keep up on the latest and greatest in branding, customer experience design, research methodologies, Stone Mantel happenings, industry insights and more, Brand Experience Insider, is a must in your e-newsletter library.

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Stone Mantel Blog

How Jx4 Growth can help you maintain a durable competitive advantage

Posted by Dave Norton

As Ted Leavitt and Clayton Christensen have shown, businesses fail to grow because they focus on selling product rather than identifying new customer needs that customers will hire them to do. Almost all companies want to be customer centric. The whole purpose of experience strategy is to be customer centric. But customer-centric businesses must do more than retain customers. They must grow. Market forces have never been quite so competitive; and, the rate of innovation continues to dramatically increase. What’s more: because of mobility many new solutions can be invented and delivered for the price of an app, eliminating all boundaries and many traditional business models.

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Big Data, Little Wisdom

 

Posted by Joe Pine

Big Data is all the rage. We can now collect massive amounts of data, store it at amazingly (or is it Amazoningly?) low cost, and analyze it over and over again to see what pockets of insight might be gained. To what end? All to better sell what we already made.

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Deluxe's Knowledge Exchange Collaborative
Building a Profitable Future by Creating Demand

Posted by Lizzie Pine

For the past eight years, Stone Mantel has been working with Deluxe Corporation on staging its yearly Knowledge Exchange Collaboratives which bring financial industry leaders − often competitors − together to discuss and solve a shared problem. The eleven people in this year’s Collaborative were handpicked from separate financial institutions ranging from large banks, such as Fifth Third, to community credit unions, such as BECU. These members were charged with the task of conducting research within their own companies.

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What's the Big Deal about Big Data?

Posted by Irene Sibaja

You can’t go very far in business these days without hearing the words “Big Data.” Just exactly what does “Big Data” mean? What power does it yield and how? “Big Data” refers to the massive volumes of data that companies are collecting across a wide variety of platforms. From retail transactions to call center data to clickstream data from the web - it seems that everything we do is providing information that is being collected, analyzed and socialized.

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 Is Your Customer Journey Strategy Commoditizing Your Product?

Posted by Dave Norton

It is astounding to us at Stone Mantel how quickly the world is coalescing around customer experience.  And it’s a little concerning, because most experience strategists seem to be focused on customer retention, and sometimes acquisition. With more and more companies employing the exact same approach to customer journey work, the concern is that all experience begins to look the same. And that commoditizes the product. 

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Embracing the Drama

Posted by Joe Pine

My favorite new framework in the Updated Edition of The Experience Economy is the one Jim Gilmore, my partner at Strategic Horizons LLP, and I did not even come up with ourselves. And it’s over a hundred years old – a sterling precedent for us, as we sincerely hope that the core framework in our book, the Progression of Economic Value, is still studied, understood and applied a hundred years from now!

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Design Marketing Experiences Before Marketing Campaigns

Posted by Michael Baskin

It’s a curious thing. Marketers spend inordinate amounts of time conducting research to find a relevant, differentiating insight about their brands, products and services. Then they typically ask their in-house team or outside communications agency to create an integrated marketing campaign to support that insight. Maybe the campaign includes a Microsite, online ads, print ads, brochures, or even an online promotion with a social network. Unfortunately, most of those campaigns won’t do the one thing that matters most—make a meaningful, memorable connection with the intended audience. Now you may wonder how we can confidently make that statement. It stems from our belief that to create a real connection with your audience you need to understand and innovate around the customer experience before you create an integrated marketing campaign. In today’s ultra-competitive marketing environment it’s a strategy that can make a big difference to the success or failure of your brand.  

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First Impressions

Posted by Lizzie Pine

When you meet someone for the first time, you judge them based on what you already know of them and what you observe within the first five minutes.

Imagine your friend introduces you to John. You shake his hand. Is his grip firm? Are his hands clammy? He tells you his name. Does his voice command attention or is it quiet? He has a suit on. One button? Two? Double-breasted? Are his shoes polished or scuffed? What does his watch say about him? 

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Retailing Loses Its Status as Second Moment of Truth


Posted by Dave Norton

Recently I was catching up with a friend, named Irene, who works for a major U.S. food manufacturer.  (You have at least thirty of their products in your pantry as you read this, I’m pretty sure.) I was telling her a little about some things we have been working on this year, and I mentioned to her one project that we were preparing for that had to do with a major clothing retailer. We’ve been spending some time in stores, doing a little observing. 

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Time Well Spent


Posted by Joe Pine

One of the things I’ve learned from Dave Norton in our years of working together is the notion of “time well spent.” We even wrote an article on it together: “Unique Experiences: disruptive innovations offer customers more ‘time well spent’” in Strategy & Leadership (available for a fee here, or let us know if you would like to see it). As the sub-title suggests, it takes off on Clayton Christensen’s insightful notion of disruptive innovation – where a business faces competition from a low-end competitor that seems non-threatening, but it’s different technological trajectory eventually overwhelms the company’s offerings (think personal computers over minicomputers, mobile phones over landlines, internet ads over classifieds, etc.).

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Be the Customer


Posted by Bryan Searing

Years ago I worked as Catalog Manager for specialty papers company, PaperDirect. They were pretty big with small business owners several years back when color printers and offset printing were cost prohibitive. You may remember their products—professional preprinted designs on papers to be used as letterhead, brochures, postcards, etc. 

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Scan and Seek


Posted by Jaclyn DuPont

QR codes (Quick Response codes) have been around for quite a few years and recently have become increasingly popular. In fact many businesses are just scratching the surface on how to effectively utilize them.

Ineffective QR codes often point you to a standard website that does nothing but give details about a product or service that may or may not be mobile friendly. In these cases there is no payoff for the user.  Too much is promised and too little is delivered.   But when used effectively and creatively, QR codes can help create memorable and unique moments along the customer journey with fun and engaging use of the technology. 

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Learn About Delighting Customers at our DMI Seminar


Posted by Doug Parker

The right strategy is not a monster in the closet, nor the 800-pound gorilla that can’t be wrestled to the ground.  Delighting customers today comes from strategy that can be taught…a process that can be followed…with principles that can be understood.  Many organizations shy away from tackling the issue because it’s daunting, but we’ve found that a systems-based thinking approach can be successfully employed in designing effective business strategy that results in customer delight.  And that means better loyalty, repeat business, and share-of-customer profitability.  

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The CMO as Chief Alignment Officer


Posted by Dave Norton

Last month I facilitated a roundtable discussion with six CMOs of major banking institutions around the country. The question at hand was, “Are CMOs becoming the chief alignment officers for their companies?” The consensus was yes and we spent most of our time talking about the concept of customer journey.

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The Job Police


Posted by Bryan Searing

One of the most important solutions we deliver to our clients at Stone Mantel is helping them figure out what jobs their customers need them to do.  It speaks to the heart of value, and figuring out those jobs can literally mean the difference between success and failure.  A great example of this follows.  

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Ethnography Gets to the "Why" of Consumer Behavior


Posted by Lizzie Pine

The best offerings are solutions to problems, but companies don’t always define the problems and needs of consumers correctly. One way to pinpoint a consumer’s need is through ethnography. Ethnography is a discipline of anthropology; it answers the “why” of consumer behavior through insights in behavior and culture. 

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Three Moves to Business Strategy Design


Posted by Dave Norton

Companies today with legacy goods, services, and experiences are constantly challenged to develop new solutions that create real value.  But the reason most  struggle is because they focus on old jobs-to-do and build business strategy based on legacy thinking. There are three steps that any company can take to break out of the same-old “industry business strategy” doldrums. 

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Unique Boutiques
  

Posted by Joe Pine

I often point to the rise of boutique hotels as one of the markers on the global journey from the Service to the Experience Economy. They are, after all, functionally inferior from a service perspective. They generally provide smaller (sometimes tiny) rooms, with quirky fixtures and idiosyncratic furniture that all too often do not fit our needs (or our bodies). They often do not have such amenities we expect from modern hotels such as 24-hour room service, fitness centers, and large conference rooms. And what really bugs me is that many of my favorites – such as The Library Hotel in Manhattan, a frequent stop on our Meaningful Experiences Tour – are so often booked when I want to stay there!

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Experiences That Matter 

 

Posted by Jaclyn DuPont

Through all of my travels I am often asked for my favorite place to visit.  I am usually stumped for what to say. I could say an expected favorite such as the Great Wall of China or the Pyramids in Egypt but that doesn’t actually constitute a favorite.  Don’t get me wrong, I don't want to take anything away from the awe and wonder of those locations.  They are places I will remember forever.  But that’s just it, they are just places.  A great attraction somewhere in the world.  A must see so to speak.

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