Be more Vegas

Should your brand be more like Sin City? Ash Bendelow certainly thinks so. Bendelow is the Managing Director of Brave, one of the fastest growing independent ad agencies in London. According to Bendelow, brands have a lot to learn from the entertainment giants of Las Vegas when it comes to anticipating their customers’ needs.

The difference between casinos in Vegas and other brands, of course, is that Vegas wants you to have problems. “If you glide through your Vegas experience,” says Bendelow, “then there is no cognitive trigger to hold on to that experience.” However, whenever a customer in Vegas has a problem, Vegas often also has the solution, thanks to something Bendelow calls “divine data.”

Many hotels in Vegas will encourage you upon check-in to sign up for a loyalty card, enabling them to build a model of your betting personality, your tolerance for loss, your dining preferences, and your average spend outside of gaming. Using this model, the casino can determine how much an individual is willing to lose before a positive experience becomes a negative experience, and manage things like loss tolerance in real-time. For instance, a casino might send in a floor manager to offer a guest dinner on the house after a hard day on the tables, effectively rescuing that experience.

“This is the exciting part,” says Bendelow. “It’s the importance of divine data, not big data, because it reports, analyses, and creates an actionable delivery in real-time, converging the digital world with the physical world.”

Some Vegas takeaways for brands:

People who are winning love you. People who are losing hate you. Both are opportunities. In the same way that a customer who is losing at the roulette table will no doubt curse the casino, a customer who has received bad customer service will be unhappy with the brand. But if you, as a casino or a brand, know that customer, then there is still a chance to turn their experience around.

A hotel with 100% occupancy is badly managed. When you understand the impulsive nature of your most valued guests, you will make sure you always have vacancies. Flexibility is key to anticipating the needs of your customers.

Everyone is a VIP. Vegas is happy to give everyone attention, claims Bendelow, citing the hotel which recreated scenes from The Hangover for a guest’s 40th birthday, complete with a tiger in their suite and Mike Tyson on the piano.

Vegas manages the balance between creativity and consumer science. “Einstein said that creativity is intelligence having fun,” says Bendelow. “If that is the case, then entrepreneurship is business having fun.”

Essentially, Vegas knows you better than you know yourself. Bendelow was joined on stage by magician Dynamo, who performed a series of stunning “is this your card?”-style illusions which further proved that none of us are quite as spontaneous in our behaviour as we might like to think.

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