How To Win Big in 2012: Create Exceptional Brand Experiences For Your Clients’ Customers

Allen Adamson, Managing Director of Landor’s New York office, has some thoughts to share on what brands need to succeed in 2012 and beyond.

Companies that once thought in terms of “built to last” must now think in terms of “built to change.” Creative thinking and an entrepreneurial spirit are the price of entry, and any company that doesn’t recognize change as the new normal will not have a fighting chance.

Companies that watch, ponder, and wait for conclusive evidence before launching into a new endeavor will be left in the dust. It’s time to get comfortable with calculated risk taking. Companies will need to read the playbook while on the field and feel confident enough with the knowledge they have to move forward with their plans.

In other words, Real-Time Marketing’s time is now.

I recently came across an excellent example of real-time one-to-one marketing made possible by listening on Twitter. After a long day of travel, Peter Shankman jokingly asked Morton’s to meet him at Newark (EWR) with a Porterhouse.

Because Shankman is a big fan of Morton’s and a regular customer at their locations across the U.S., the chain of high end steakhouses heard him on Twitter and decided to dispatch a tuxedo-clad waiter to EWR to meet Shankman on the curb with his requested steak.

Morton’s Hackensack is 23.5 miles away from EWR, according to Google Maps. That meant that in just under three hours, someone at Morton’s Corporate had to see my tweet, get authorization to do this stunt, get in touch with Morton’s Hackensack, and place the order. Then Morton’s Hackensack had to cook the order, get it boxed up, and get a server to get in his car, and drive to Newark Airport (never an easy task, no matter where you’re coming from) then, (and this is the part the continues to blow me away,) while all this was happening, track down my flight, where I was landing, and be there when I walked out of security!

Are you taking this all in? Because it happened to me, and I still can’t even fathom it.

Morton’s actions are a textbook case of “surprise and delight.” Morton’s created a brand experience that Shankman will never forget. And because he is an influencer, the story will be told over and over again.

I think it is time for a new category at Cannes–Best Customer Experience of the year.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Surprise and Delight is surely a great way to make a lasting impression.  It’s similar to the Give 101%, Give the Customer More Than They Expect….

    Personally, I’m on the bandwagon for, “Be Remarkable”.  Get away from being good, being excellent, being fast, being cheap, being blah.  Dare to stand out from the crowd, and though not everyone will be thrilled, those that are thrilled will be brand pundits for long into the future.

  2. I like the spirit of this effort by Morton’s but can’t get past the fact that it probably would not have happened for anyone other than “a name” like Shankman. I’ll be more impressed when a brand makes a habit of doing this kind of for its regular customers who aren’t celebrities or industry folk. The Catch-22, however, is that if a brand does this kind of thing for someone other than “a name”, we probably won’t hear about it.

    • Morton’s knew it could capitalize on Shankman’s high profile, but I think it’s also true that he got this special treatment due to being a great repeat customer. I don’t know for sure, but I think it is likely that Morton’s would do the same for another big spender, regardless of his or her follower count on Twitter.

      CRM for the win.