Customer Experience Innovation Blog with Toni Newman

Five Innovation Insights from What Not To Wear


I have a confession to make.

I watch TLC’s fashion makeover show What Not To Wear.

There.  I’ve said it out loud.

For those you who aren’t in the know about the What Not to Wear - WNTW for short –  phenomenon, for the last 10 years, TLC hosts Stacey London and Clinton Kelly have been ambushing unsuspecting guests whose friends and family have nominated them as walking fashion disasters.   As brutal as the concept may seem, once Stacey and Clinton have worked their fashion makeover magic, their guest’s transformation  – in both style on the outside and confidence on in the inside – is downright dramatic.

The reality is that many of the WTNW  “nominees” have simply gotten stuck.  They aren’t sure what story they want their clothes to tell so they are either a frantic mix of whatever they can get their hands on or they have given up on style all together.

Consider this edition of Innovation Insights as my version of the What Not to Wear ambush except that instead of a Fashion Makeover, we’re going to do a Touchpoint Makeover.

Your friends and family may not have nominated you and no – I’m not going to give you a $5000 gift card to purchase some “new” Touchpoints. However, I am going to walk you through the WNTW process so that you can see how easy it is to create your own Touchpoint Makeover.


InnovaT!on Insight

Is it time for a Touchpoint Opportunity Makeover?

Like the nominees on WTNW, many of us just get stuck.  Stuck with Customer Experience Touchpoints that tell a story that perhaps no longer accurately describes what we do.  Stuck with Touchpoints that tell a story that no longer has any interest for our ideal customers. Stuck with different stories at different Touchpoints that at best, confuse our ideal customers and that at worst, drive them into the arms of our competitors.

So, In the spirit of WNTW, here at 5 steps that you can take to create a dramatic transformation in how your business tells its ‘why you story to the world.

1.  What’s your Style?

At the beginning of every WNTW episode – just after the ambush – there is a moment where Stacey and Clinton interview their guest in an effort to try to get the heart of their guest’s life style and objectives. Why not start your Touchpoint makeover by revisiting your why you? story!  And remember, the real question that your customers are asking in each of the Attract, Keep and Engage phases is Why You and Not Them? Why you and not your very best Competitor? What makes you different from your competitors in a way that delivers strategic value to your customers?  

2. Keep it or Toss it! 

Once Stacey and Clinton know what story the clothes are supposed to tell, they go through the participant’s wardrobe and pretty much throw most of it out.  They are tough and non-negotiable. If the item in question doesn’t do the job, it gets tossed. 

So, now that you have clarified your story, it’s time to go through the Touchpoints that make up your Customer Experience with the same WNTW no nonsense attitude. If the landing page of your website is not inspiring people to stay and have a look around; if your promotional materials are not promoting the right story to the right people; if your networking conversation is more monologue than dialogue; toss it and start over.  (No need to toss everything at once.  Why not start by choosing 3 Touchpoints that are badly in need of a makeover!)

3. Shop by the Rules.

Once Stacey and Clinton have cleaned out the closet, the participant is introduced to a set of shopping rules and guidelines that will make their shopping experience as productive and successful as possible. 

When you and your team go hunting for ideas and inspiration to create your Innovative Touchpoint Experiences, what rules will you guide your shopping expedition?  Perhaps a Strategic Objective will serve as a guideline?  (How could we use the landing page of our website to drive traffic to our online store?)  Perhaps one of your rules would be industry related. (When dealing with direct mail to doctors, our pharmaceutical clients need to keep industry regulations top of mind.)  Many of our clients actually use my Five S Solution as a set of rules to guide their idea search, reminding their team members to look for ideas that are Surprising, Strategic, Seductive, Sustainable and Simple.

Whatever your rules are, sharing them with your team can result in a much more strategically successful search for ideas and inspiration.

4. Try it On!

How many times have you heard someone say “That won’t work” the minute that a new idea lands on the table?  Well, as Stacey and Clinton always say, you can’t really know how it will look until you try it on.  I’ve actually taken their advice with some additions to my wardrobe lately and now find myself with some great pieces that I would never have even tried on if I hadn’t been intentionally looking for some items that were a little out of my comfort zone.

The same holds true with ideas.  Even if that voice inside your head is screaming ,”it will never work”, sometimes you just need to try an idea on for size.  That may mean opening it up to discussion with your team just to see where it goes.  It could mean testing two different versions of an idea to see which one gets the best results.  And it could even mean committing to a disruptively innovative idea for a few months because although it scares you to bits, the idea may just be crazy enough to work.

5. The Finishing Touches.

The shopping is done but the What Not to Wear transformation is not yet complete.  After purses and pumps there is Hair and Makeup to ensure that the guest’s final look is a breathtaking wow.

Well, Touchpoint Experiences need finishing touches too.  Never overlook the possibility of adding a good hairdo and a little makeup to your ideas. They could be the perfect touch that transforms a really good idea into a breathtakingly great idea.   

And don’t forget.  An idea that hasn’t been run through the Five S Matrix  (Give your idea a score out of 5 for each of the Five S’s for a maximum score of 25) and scored at least 20 out of 25 still needs some finishing touches.

So no… I’m not going to secretly nominate you, show up with TV cameras and throw out your entire Touchpoint wardrobe but just between you and me…

Couldn’t we all use a really good makeover now and then?   

PS.  I love the before and after pictures on What Not To Wear so I have a Touchpoint Makevoer challenge for you. Send me the before and after of any of your Touchpoints that you put through a Touchpoint Opportunity Makeover and I will send you a special gift.  With your permission, I might even feature them in my upcoming book!

Imagine the Possibilities!

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