The Miele Inspirience Centre
Miele brings its brand to life by placing Scala at the heart of its first Inspirience Centre in Vianen, The Netherlands
Background Miele quite literally means durability, reliability, security and peace of mind. It is this promise of quality that Miele strives to fulfill by providing customers with appliances of the highest quality and tested durability to make their lives more comfortable.
Founded in 1899, Miele’s aim has been to manufacture the highest-quality domestic appliances and commercial equipment in the world and to be seen by markets worldwide as providing a premium-quality household product.
Given the quality promise of the brand and having furthered their global reputation for modernity, innovation and efficiency, Miele sought to engage customers and dealers with a different approach that enabled everyone see, hear, feel and smell the quality of the product in an environment that placed the products into a relevant context. The combined experience of these senses is enhanced with the opportunity to taste food prepared on-site using the appropriate combination of Miele equipment.
To provide this experience, Miele first created Galleries, or “shop in shop” concepts in stores in key cities across the world to showcase their brand and their products. The newest of this form of customer engagement is at their Dutch headquarters in Vianen where Miele has created an “Inspirience Centre”.
This is an exclusive showroom which presents a selection of Miele products and provides an ideal opportunity to inform and educate visitors by providing an enhanced retail experience that emphasizes all of the key brand attributes Miele has crafted into its products for many years.
Miele’s Inspirience Centre in Holland is first and foremost an environment within which visitors can gather information and obtain expert knowledge from sales staff and/or electronic mobile sales support devices (interactive Apple iPod Touch application) to enhance their enjoyment of their visit. The Inspirience Centre regularly offers events including cooking seminars and demonstrations whereupon Miele’s business partners and resellers plus members of the public can participate in private cooking courses at the Miele Culinary Institute.
Traditional Merchandising and Marketing Failed to Provide a Sensory Experience
Miele recognized some time ago that most dealers who sold their products did so as part of their overall categoryled strategy. This meant that Miele products were dispersed across the store by category whereby washing machines were located in their own cluster away from vacuums and so forth. Consequently, customers didn’t see the products merchandised together as part of a coherent brand and therefore opportunities were being missed to provide customers with a view on the whole range.
In a typical reseller store, products were also often not demonstrated to their fullest potential and customers were not able to place the products into the appropriate domestic context. Other communications mechanisms had been used to help educate and inform customers in the store or elsewhere and while they appealed to a visual sense (Web sites/leaflets/brochures), they provided little real sense of tactile quality, and none were capable of providing a sensory experience. Adding interactivity at the customers’ initiative also increases the communication effectiveness.
The Multisensory Solution
Given that Miele’s products are used for a wide variety of household tasks such as washing, chilling, warming, baking, cooking and freezing, the process is very much experiential.
It therefore became clear to Miele that traditional marketing channels would not deliver the brand experience they were looking to generate for customers and dealers. The goal was therefore to design a two-way marketing and communication system to help understand customers better and to provide customers with an enhanced experience.
For example, the aroma of a fresh cup of coffee elicits a particular response, as does the sound of it percolating. The warmth given off by an oven and the sound of a vacuum cleaner also promote specific responses, in many instances unique to the user.
Given that Miele’s products elicit these tangible responses, it became clear that the user experience relating to these household tasks was as important as the machine or device used to process them. After all, you can’t interact with, smell or taste the products or result of using those products via a Web site or a brochure.
Next to a truly cross-media brand communications strategy, a “multisensory” visitor experience was put in place to enable customers and dealers to experience Miele products in the context of a digitally enhanced living environment.
House of Media Experience BV and Troades, two leading cross-media and multisensory experience design agencies, were chosen by Miele to assist in the concept design, implementation and management of these centers. Scala was chosen as the core operating platform to manage the overall digital experience including visual content, sound, vision, light scenes and scent.
The Store Environment
At over 3000 m2, (32,000 ft²), Miele’s Inspirience Centre has been carefully designed to encompass a wide range of traditional and digital events. Particular spaces are used to demonstrate products and provide relaxation areas and multiple touchpoints to help guide visitors through their experience.
The store contains a complete range of custom furniture, lighting, brand-enhancing visuals, signposting, information channels, sounds and scents all collaborating in a centrally managed way to provide visitors with a seamless total sense experience. For example, there are over 100 screens of different formats and aspects providing over 40 channels of customized Miele content at full HD quality. Content is either running dynamically (triggered automatically based upon predefined rules) or is controlled by human interaction.
Furthermore, the sophistication of the technology behind the experience provided Miele with the opportunity to deliver customer-specific experiences based on the customer’s unique set of preferences provided to Miele as part of their induction to the Inspirience Centre. By adding context information the experience becomes relevant, timely and fits the customer’s expectations.
The Visitor Experience
1. Knowing the audience
To ensure the customer experience at a Miele center is personalized and relevant, customers and dealers are requested to register before they enter the store. This could be via the Web, call center or at the Inspirience Centre. This process provides Miele basic information on the customer (gender, demographics, lifestyle, historic Miele purchases, etc.) but it also does much more.
2. Touch me (know me)
Visitor information is fed into the store’s “decision engine” by the Web site or by a custom-made system set up by Troades which analyses the data and creates a real-time message format for each visitor. The visitor can use an Apple iPod Touch which contains the visitor’s name, preferences and profile so that visitors opt into the service and information can flow both ways, a classic permission-based marketing approach.
The iPod Touch can be used to call up information on the store (such as a floor plan), explore information on Miele products and services in more detail or request advice and recommendations from the iPod Touch system. The system’s response is based on the user’s unique preferences and profile. Information requested and received can be collated by the iPod Touch into PDFs, providing the customer with the choice of taking away this personalized information either by printing it out at the event center’s InfoPoint or emailing it to a personal address.
3. Track me (for relevancy)
The store is equipped throughout with indoor GPS technology. Each visitor’s iPod Touch has a unique identifier and is equipped with a GPS transmitter that pinpoints the location of the device at any point within the store and references its location in relation to the 50 cm square floor tiles which are laid throughout the store and are also linked to the system.
This means that at any time throughout a visitor’s journey through the store, the store’s integrated management system knows where each visitor is to the closest 50 cm. In being able to plot progress through the store, the system can map routes, hotspots and dwell times to help develop the digital experience to further enhance the experience.
4. Trigger me (for an experience)
As a visitor walks through the store, the decision engine constantly analyses the relationship between the visitor, the zone they are in (product category proximity relevant), the tile they are standing on and the media around them that can adapt to better suit their preferences.
So advanced is this process that at any point in the store, the system can adjust local lighting, aroma dispersal, audio type and levels, and the digital content that appears on screens close to the customer, all within a matter of a few seconds.
Like the smell of fresh linen? If you said yes to that question and you walk through the laundry zone, the system will know and it will dispense that aroma as soon as you enter that zone. If your partner, however, has allergies that the system is aware of, it will decide not to dispense that smell in order not to create a negative experience for that visitor.
In case both of you are standing in the zone next to the vacuum cleaners, a special 5 x 1 tower of portrait-mode installed displays working together as one large screen will display “medicare” products that have special filters to reduce the response to allergies at home. This enhances a positive response and guards against a negative response.
This sophistication is based on decisions made by the system which in turn are based on a wide range of profiles and variables built in to provide an enhanced experience for different visitor types.
The functionality of the system is facilitated by Scala, which manages the coordination of these changes and physically applies the rules from the decision engine to the zone environment, from increasing or decreasing lighting brightness to the scheduling and dispersal of aromas to the creation and scheduling of content for the more than 100 Apple and Philips screens installed throughout the store. These run multiple channels of content and provide interactive services through both the 3 x 2 Z-shaped screens and the 3 x 3 Orion borderless video screens displayed as a video wall.
“Troades wanted a software platform that could plug into their Decision Engine and facilitate the delivery of a complete digitally based environmental management service, more akin in many ways to theater production than to a retail store. Scala is more than capable of managing multiple channels, devices and touchpoints, and we were only too pleased to be able to show through this work the diversity of the Scala service.”
- Helge Haarig, Strategic Account Manager, Scala BV
This is done with the explicit intention of delivering an experience that is always relevant to visitors’ interests, desires and needs. The objective of this is to tailor each customer’s experience to the point whereupon Miele is relevant to all customers based on the sophisticated nature of delivering dynamic content to them at the right time in their journey through the store. This means that for each visitor with a unique set of preferences and profiles, it is possible to get close to offering unique experiences.
- If a visitor is more likely to make a purchase decision based on a washing machine’s energy efficiency than simply price, a digital screen may feature a piece relating to appropriate data on liters of water used and cleaning efficiency at low temperatures. If on the other hand the customer has a large family and speed is crucial, then overall cycle length and size may be critical purchase requirements.
- If a dealer visits rather than a consumer visitor, the screens may be able to show pertinent sales information including key points of difference, features and benefits, and measures that may assist in a sale such as lifetime reliability, environmental efficiency and the recommended retail price.
In each case, the presentation of content (both dynamic and interactive) can be tailored to match a user profile, as can recommendations, tips and advice which can be sent to the iPod Touch proactively or at the request of the visitor.
In adopting this sophisticated approach, Miele, House of Media Experience BV, Troades and Scala, working close together with the architects and constructors, have provided a platform that gets close to offering visitors a unique experience through the store and through the brand both in terms of ambiance and in terms of their interaction with Miele’s product range.
The event center provides a multi-dimensional “brand touchpoint” which also provides a tactile brand environment where all five core values can be harmoniously selected to reinforce the brand’s value by placing it into the most appropriate context, your home.
As a brand touchpoint for dealers, Miele has also provided a template for dealers to create their own “Miele Innovation Centres,” which are beginning to appear in concessions within resellers’ dealerships which help bridge the gap between the old style of presentation by category and the Miele Experience Centre itself.
“We wanted the visitor to have a 360-degree experience, not only to experience the Miele brand, but also to enjoy their time with Miele. We would hope that visitors will recall that experience when they next consider the purchase of a domestic or commercial appliance. Digital signage is not only about sound and vision, but is enhanced by adding other human sense triggers. The recollection of their experience and of Miele will be individual to them and as long as the experience was meaningful, helpful, timely and relevant, I’m convinced that this will build brand loyalty and that over time, that recollection and loyalty will be evidenced through referrals and purchases.”
- Luc Heijnen, Concept Design Multisensory Experience, Troades
Communication is both targeted and sensitive to each individual customer, providing both one-way, dynamic information as well as two-way, interactive communication through the use of iPod Touch devices to recall and retrieve information for the visitor. When this is married to the power of triggered media content courtesy of the indoor GPS technology, it provides an almost unique experience for the visitor, ensuring that information presented and received is always relevant to their requirements, which means the brand is perceived as helpful at all times. Of course, the same process applies to Miele employees and dealers who also benefit from having a customized training and development facility to use.
This relevancy, informed by the proprietary decision engine process matching visitors to profiles, enabled Scala to then control not only screen content but building services and environmental variables to create a powerful immersive experience for the visitor and a complementary statement by Miele to its customers and its resellers.
“The Miele Inspirience Centre is so much more advanced in terms of its form and function than most existing implementations in retail that you could argue that one day, all retailers will have to embrace experiential marketing in some form in-store if it means we can make the experience more relevant and more helpful for that customer. I am delighted Scala was chosen to play a part in this cutting-edge retail media project and look forward to working with House of Media Experience BV, Troades and Miele to further advance the proposition in the coming months.”
- Oscar Elizaga, VP EMEA, Scala
About House of Media Experience BV
Our team of professionals works daily creating television programs, multi-platform content productions and digital signage projects (point of decision and event centres). Since 2007, we focus on cross-media concepts gathering all required disciplines under one roof (in-house). Also within the group is a print team (brochures, magazines, books, publications, etc.). We see digital signage projects as an integrated part of the overall marketing communication mix, not just putting up some screens and repeating TV ads. It’s a new medium that offers the opportunity to fine-tune content and create the right message for the right people at the right time and place. Next to Web 2.0, digital signage creates for the first time the opportunity for marketers to interact with their audience.
More information available at www.houseofmediaexperience.nl/.
Troades is a consulting and marketing research company specialized in the digital arena. We look at the customer from a multisensory experience view. Helping you to provide timely and relevant information to your captive audience and “creating the fittest cross-media experience through experience.” Troades is a Member of the Elevator Group. More information available at www.hybridesignage.com.
For further information on Miele, visit www.miele.nl