In a recent conversation with a chief technology officer, he asserted all digital technology changes in his organisation were being led by IT and not by marketing. It made me wonder: How long a marketing function like this could survive?
Australian vitamin and supplement company, Blackmores, has launched a new neuroscience-based platform to track customer’s mindfulness as part of its efforts to enhance engagement in its new flagship store.
Designed by digital agency, Holler, the new ‘Mindful Ocean’ technology detects brain-waves activity from an EEG headband. In the four-minute session of wearing the device, the technology platform reflects how the customer’s mind interacts between levels of relaxation and calm verses active thinking by way of some simple, stylized ocean wave patterns on a screen.
The technology is on display at Blackmore’s new flagship store in in Westfield Bondi Junction in Sydney.
Blackmores Australia and New Zealand managing director, David Fenlon, claimed the new ‘Mindful Ocean’ technology gives consumers the opportunity to assess their ability to find mindfulness, and as a result, begin to take control of their cognitive wellbeing.
“Our new flagship store will provide a personalised experience for our customers to take control of and further invest in their health,” he said. “Featuring human, digital and tactile experiences, the new flagship store is a unique prototype that takes retail into a new health space, offering the next-gen of interactive retailing whereby consumers are treated to an integrated offering of service and product.”
Holler CEO, Mike Hill, said the technology is designed to show what an active brain looks like, as opposed to a brain at ease.
“I don’t believe there has ever been that immediate feedback before, which I personally find pretty exciting,” he told CMO. “It does collect data as well and show your results, so as with anything, feedback breeds a better response.”
But he stressed brands need to be careful as to how they use this new type of technology.
“It definitely is a hot topic and if brands are not too careful, they may veer into pseudo-science,” he said. “One of the important things to realise is this is not a medical tool but just a wellbeing tool. And it certainly cannot read your mind. It can’t access thoughts or anything like that. But what it does show is the potential for future technology.
“However for the time being, we’re just showing people in a visual and real-time way that their mind and body are connected. So the outtake of that is that a healthy mind equals a healthy body.”
Blackmores CEO, Christine Holgate, said the aim is to provide consumers with the opportunity to experience the brand first-hand.
“This is about listening to our consumers and learning, so that we’re able to develop more products and more services, to better suit their needs,” she told attendees at the store's launch. “We hope that this will be the first step on our journey.”
The ‘Mindful Ocean’ technology is a Blackmores-only initiative in the new Bondi Junction store. The store will also feature zones for personalised conversations and advice, including an interactive ‘B Bottle activation’ with weekly wellbeing questions for customers to physically answer, and a Wellbeing Bar for customers to sample food products, starting with the newly launched Blackmores’ Superfoods range.