Storytelling – really connect with your customers.

Behind some of the greats in the business, there’s often an origin story. Richard Branson started his first business out of a public phone booth, known in the creative world as ‘the hero’s journey’. These stories have gripped us since mankind first huddled around the fire, telling engaging, potentially life-saving tales of the tribe.  We are all storytelling creatures.

Hollywood screenwriting instructor Robert McKee argues that stories “fulfil a profound human need to grasp the patterns of living — not merely as an intellectual exercise, but within a very personal, emotional experience.” Creating an immersive experience that tells the origin story of a product – and where it’s heading – can be an effective way to engage with customers on a deeper level than more traditional marketing methods. The key to making them work – the same as Hollywood blockbusters and tales around the campfire – is memorable, instructional storytelling that resonates with the audience.

Experiential marketing is still working. Developments such as the €16m expansion plan for the Guinness Storehouse (Ireland’s most popular visitor attraction), Disney’s Star Wars Hotel and Urban Adventure, a new concept we are currently developing. Urban Adventures, a unique, immersive, adrenaline-fuelled, extreme sports activity entertainment concept. Building on all the guest’s senses to create F&B that is a core part of its DNA.

These days, companies are more likely to use immersive experiences to reach new and existing customers via pop up that showcase brand innovations. Even for celebrities, institutions and IP-based products, telling the story of the brand now need to be more engaging than a few boards of old photographs, a shelf of ‘packaging through the ages’ and behind-the-scenes How-It’s-Done videos.  Even when your product is well established, how can the story go deeper?

That’s where sensation comes into the picture – at Cadbury World, the Heath Robinson-style gurgling, purple ‘chocolate machine gives visitors a taste of what’s in store,

Of course, it’s a good idea to make sure the story you’re telling isn’t a Tall Tale.  Consumers are only ever a few clicks away from a deep dive into a company’s public profile. Visitor attractions ought not only to reflect the sensations you want your brand to conjure up with loyal and new customers but also be able to go through the ups and downs in the history of your organisation and pluck out the tales that demonstrate what the company is really like and what the brand stands for. And it’s OK to admit to mistakes (short-lived changes in brand recipes that caused a public outcry, for example) – that makes you more relatable; more human.

When brands get it right, their visitor attractions morph into something beyond a marketing exercise and become tourist destinations in their own right. Places like the Jamison Distillery and Legoland ask their audiences to travel and pay for a brand experience.

Harrison is obsessed with telling beautiful stories for brands simply designed for people.

Creatively driven. Passionate. Provocative.

It’s your story. It’s yours to tell. Find an honest, engaging way to show people not only what or how, but why your company does what it does they will feel connected to your brand. That’s human nature. We specialise in storytelling and creating brands that are underpinned by the hero’s journey, why no drop us a line or email us.  www.harrison.hn

 

Harrison Expands Middle East Business

Harrison is off to a flying start in 2016 with the expansion of its UAE business, the addition of two new senior designers and a strengthening pipeline of local projects.

Joining the company’s Middle East operation, located in the heart of Dubai’s leisure hospitality district, are Harrison UK bar and restaurant senior designer Kerrie Gray and hotel hospitality designer Jim Rankin, who arrives as Head of Design (UAE).

The duo will be working alongside technical director Warwick Snelling and Harrison design director and UAE head Jon Bentley – both of whom have worked in the UAE for a number of years. They will spearhead new projects from clients such as Meraas Holdings, Al Tayer Group, Meraki, Jumeirah Group and Food Fund International.

Latest Dubai openings for Harrison’s UAE design team include the uniquely quirky Bikes ‘n’ Bites at Boxpark, renowned head chef Neil Witney’s South American-themed restaurant Poco Loco at The Beach on JBR, Food Fund International’s second Eat Greek at the Mall of the Emirates and Jumeirah’s Italian-themed Trattoria Toscana and modern Chinese restaurant Zheng He’s at Souk Madinat and Mina A’Salam respectively.

Projects currently underway include the design and rollout of one of New York City’s most iconic restaurants, Serendipity 3, at Dubai Festival City and City Walk for Al Tayer Group and a third Eat Greek at The Dubai Mall.

Commenting on Harrison’s UAE success and ongoing design investment, Jon Bentley said: “This is a tremendously exciting time for us here in the Middle East as local operators focus increasingly on our international experience with large, multi-unit projects.

“Since establishing a business and a full design team here in Dubai, our workload has more than tripled and is growing well. This is why we are continuing to invest in our talent and our infrastructure.

“Our new team members, Kerrie and Jim, have vast international experience in both multiple and one-off concepts covering late night venues, restaurants and hotel projects.

They will provide our clients with fresh, creative, on-trend designs which will work effectively on an operational level and inspire the ever-maturing Dubai market.”

Debenhams unveil the new Chi Kitchen Concept

Harrison is the hospitality design name behind Chi Kitchen, the newly-opened pan-Asian restaurant located on the third floor of Debenhams at the Bullring Shopping Centre, Birmingham, UK.

Working alongside renowned restaurateur Eddie Lim, owner of the highly regarded Mango Tree Thai restaurant in Belgravia, Harrison’s Andrew Kirk has ensured that Chi Kitchen’s design is as stylish and tasteful as its menu.

“The overall scheme is relaxed, with a purposefully limited palette of quality finishes”, Andrew explains. “Marble, concrete, copper, oak and leather provide decoration in varying textures and simple forms, spiriting diners away from the hustle and bustle of central Birmingham.”

With 118 covers, Chi Kitchen has a range of seating options, from deep, upholstered window booths offering views of the surrounding city, to high stools at the dining counter and bar allowing customers to participate in the theatre of the restaurant.

Andrew continues: “Flexibility of layout encompasses all dining occasions, while a bespoke and intelligent lighting scheme guides the restaurant through different parts of the day and creates an intimate dining experience for customers.

“There is a sushi bar to deliver freshly-prepared sushi and sashimi, while an open-plan robata grill is a focal point, giving guests a measured glimpse into the excitement of the kitchen’s live cooking. A ‘grab & go’ pop-up counter is provided as a satellite offer in the basement lobby area, offering drinks such as bubble tea, and prepared sushi, pan-Asian wraps and snacks.”