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Recharge your brand

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

Even when air travel goes as planned, it seems inevitable that our laptop, cellphone or iPod will need a charge at some point during the trip. Seems like it shouldn’t be a problem right? You have your charger, appropriate adapters and now all you need is an outlet.

Easy enough, right?

Well, Not so fast.

As you take inventory of your charging/power opportunities in a gate designed to hold several hundred passengers, you realize there are only 3 plugs. All of which are either in use, under an occupied bench or on wall adjacent to a busy walkway. An easy charge has now turned into a painful journey that is sure to be inconvenient.

Luckily, Samsung has come to the rescue … at least in the Minneapolis/St. Paul International airport. In one gate area in the Minneapolis airport, there were several of these charging stations offering free convenient charging. Samsung’s unique piece is a creative solution that makes use of airports inherent design flaws and successfully parlays them into a useful retail and branding opportunity.

On the surface, Samsung’s piece could be seen as a new use for digital signage, but that fails to mention the true significance of this piece. That’s just the beginning of the story.

We live in a world and retail environment where everyone wants to play, but the price of admission is becoming increasingly challenging and elusive. Are the days of plastering your logo and message on any surface you can find becoming a thing of the past?

As media continues to be diversified, the larger question seems to be, how do brands earn the right to play in the first place? Moreover, how do they not only earn the right, but how do they create a platform where interaction is ensured?

The significance of the Samsung piece isn’t the design, or message, but the fact that it is beneficial exchange between the brand and the user. Similarly, Delta Airlines has begun installing recharging booths (above) and outlet seating clusters (below) into their own gates that charge both standard voltage and USB, recognizing travelers’ increasing use of iPods and other handheld devices. We are seeing similar charging consoles popping up in airports throughout the United States. With traveling as difficult as it is, a little goodwill can go a long way.

As brands and retailers continue to create advertising space anywhere possible in an already cluttered environment, we encourage marketers to follow Samsung’s lead. When marketing is able to offer something memorable or useful, something beyond the hard-sell messaging we are accustomed to, people are bound to take note.

– Contributed by Garrett Davis

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