Posted by Catherine McGavin ● Jan 16, 2018 12:01:00 AM

Retail Moments of Truth, Part 6

Retail Moment of Truth - Ultimate Moment of Truth

“Shared experiences are the new search. The Ultimate Moment of Truth represents the future of discoverability, branding, and influence.” (Brian Solis, Altimeter Group)



The last, and perhaps most critical “Retail Moment of Truth” involves shared consumer experience—and how it affects your reputation.

In his 2015 book, X: The Experience When Business Meets Design, technology futurist Brian Solis defines the Ultimate Moment of Truth (UMOT) as the time when a consumer shares his or her experience after using a product.  How do marketers make a product shareable beyond the purchase transaction?  Successful brands invite customers to become advocates by helping them share their product experience with family, friends, and social groups.

ShareaCoke.jpgThere are plenty of examples involving product packaging. In the now-famous “Share a Coke” campaign, by replacing the Coca Cola logo on its label with popular names, customized names, or themes, Coke invited its customers to share its product in a very personal way. As a result, the campaign has become one of its most successful marketing initiatives.

Earlier this year Coca-Cola added music to its invitation. Share a Coke and a Song features popular song titles and lyrics on its packaging, which prompted @CokeMusic Manager Yuri Pereira to start a love affair with emerging music duo High Dive Heart.  After @CokeMusic tweeted a shout-out to the duo’s new hit EP “Vintage”, Pereira’s team sent them a gift: bottles of Coke with custom High Dive Heart labels.

To say thanks, Jason Reeves and Nelly Joy of High Dive Heart didn’t just tweet back.  They returned the love by remaking a special Coke music video version of “Vintage,” and even used the custom-printed Coke cans and bottles as percussion instruments in the song.  Says Pereira, “We didn’t ask them to do it… it was so unexpected. I’ve never seen an influencer as passionate about our brand.”

Google’s Jim Lecinski summarized the essence of the Ultimate Moment of Truth. “For many shoppers in many categories, the single most powerful impetus to buy is someone else’s endorsement.” UMOT sharing events require effort and are sparked by passion. Solis reminds us that the user’s intent to share comes from a high-octane impulse:

  • A desire to inform others
  • A drive for self-expression
  • An opportunity for a special experience


The passion of UMOT is double-edged: a 2014 Altimeter Group study found that 55% of its respondents were willing to recommend a company for its outstanding service, while 79% had shared details of a bad experience. UMOT can happen online or offline:

  • A social post shared with friends and connections
  • A product review on Amazon, Yelp, or other sites
  • A verbal rave to colleagues during a shared experience
  • A gift to someone important


Perhaps the biggest value of UMOT is when it stimulates a future customer’s search, and fuels a new Zero Moment of Truth. In its survey of 21,000 consumers, Social Media Link’s annual Social Recommendations Index reports that 92% of 2015 respondents were influenced to purchase by peer reviews. 

As a simple idea with strong emotional appeal, the Share a Coke campaign invited customers to become brand ambassadors during all of the moments that matter to them. Coca-Cola discovered that using packaging to combine physical and digital sharing opportunities fuels the success of both.

Give your fans—and their peeps—plenty of reasons to love your product “more today than yesterday,” (to borrow the song lyric from High Dive Heart’s Vintage.)  With the EMERALD PACKAGE PLANNER, you can plan a packaging strategy that starts a love affair with your best customers.

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Topics: Retail Packaging, Retail Merchandizing, Packaging As Marketing, Retail Moments of Truth

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