Truly instagrammable – Primark’s Central Perk café

Primark has started serving coffee in Manchester, but not through a standard coffee shop or franchise affair. Instead, it’s launched something rather unique for the coffee world – a Friends throwback Central Perk café. Genius idea or big let down? We got close to the customers using it to see whether the customer experience really lived up to the hype.

Unique, memory-making

‘Instagrammable’ is the one big theme that comes out about this coffee shop from customers. Yes, it’s got a good choice of food and drink, the staff come across as really friendly and happy to be there and the pricing lives up to the Primark promise, but undoubtedly it’s the Friends touches that make memories here. Everything from the coffee cups to the pieces of art, the iconic orange sofa and famous window scene create opportunities for Primark to end up on your Instagram account! “The café was different to anything I’ve been to in Manchester, off the top of my head I can’t think of a café or restaurant with such a strong theme.”

Not seen it yet? Take a look in our gallery


Supercharge your brain cells in 20 minutes with our new live webinar series

Webinar 1 – emotions win

We love to think we’re rational, but really we go with our gut. We are completely ruled by emotions and our webinar gives you a solid grounding in what this really means and why you should care

By the end you’ll know:

Why emotions rule our in-moment decisions

  • Over 80% of decisions happen instantly, in our fast-thinking mode: System 1. We reveal why this is and what it can mean commercially for brands

Why emotions predict our future choices

  • We reveal the powerful reality of how feelings impact brands we decide to return to and those we avoid in future

Who should sign up?

  • Insight professionals, designers, marketers and customer experience specialists who want a clear, powerful grounding in why emotions matter and how to think differently

When is it?

Choose one of two slots and simply fill in your details below for free access to the webinar

  • Slot 1:  Tuesday July 2 –  14:30 GMT (14:30 CET, 09:30 New York Time)
  • Slot 2:  Tuesday July 2  – 17:30 GMT (17:30 CET, 09:30 San Francisco Time)

This is a live session lasting 20 minutes including 5 minutes Q&A at the end

Who’s providing the thought-provoking thinking?

You’ll be inspired by Laura Gillespie  – leading Kokoro’s powerful work on leveraging emotions

Customers don’t care about your stuff!

Is your brand creating enough memories?

It’s really easy to forget that people aren’t that interested in what we’re trying to put in front of them most of the time, especially when you’ve poured your heart into designing it! It’s not like they hate and actively avoid your stuff. People just have other things they’re prioritising right at that split second in time. They aren’t that focused on the many features, messages and influencers that are being put in front of them. It’s a concept the book ‘Nobody wants to read your sh*t’ demonstrates so brilliantly. We forget how hard we have to work to make customers see something, feel something and create memories.

So just make more stuff?

Yet when brands aren’t hitting their targets we often see them create even more stuff to put in front of customers. They’re very efficient at churning out more services, more POS, more training checklists, more menu options, more deals, more Instagram posts, but don’t have laser focus on improving the big things that could truly transform.

Stop just asking, start seeing

80% of decisions are made on feelings – so customer comments alone won’t drive successful business actions. Here at Kokoro we’re experts at making sense of the emotional – allowing you to know what really motivates your customers. One of the ways we do this is biometric measurement. Out and about in real environments from bars to airports to homes – we see the world through customers’ eyes and measure the emotional response to brands in their real lives.

  • Eye tracking – shows us what does and doesn’t get even a millisecond glance and the time to notice it. Data is amalgamated to create heatmaps of the elements dominating attention
  • Video capture – shows us how the space is used – the natural flow and what’s causing some products/messages to get completely missed
  • GSR (galvanic skin response)  – the level of sub-conscious emotional arousal a piece of stimulus creates
  • Facial expression analysis – we harness Affectiva human perception AI to see the positive and negative emotions generated from facial patterns

Make better investment decisions

Combining this powerful biometric insight with our other emotions-led tools like 5Drivers lets you better understand what aspects of your experience are making customers feel something. So you accentuate the strong feelings, fix those that agitate and find ways to zap new life into those that are simply too flat. After all we all know feelings build memories and memories build brands.

Kokoro Cuts – best of May

A round up of the best new experiences and campaigns we’ve seen on our travels. Here’s what you need to know about in May

A creative concept that really makes memories

Check out this pick-me-up from Mellower Coffee Shanghai. It’s served with a cloud of cotton candy and rains sugar over your coffee. Irrational, but so feel-good. We know immersion is one of the most powerful aspects of customer experience. This really makes for an unforgettable experience. No doubt its helped this brand boom quickly into an international success in the cut-throat market of coffee shops.

Source: Mellower Coffee Shanghai

Campaign with real empowerment

Natwest say if women started and grew business at the same rate as men the UK economy would be £250 billion better off. We’re excited by their ‘Back Her Business’ campaign. Our work with emotions makes it clear that real empowerment must be energising #Freedom, not just the basic #Control tools. This female-only crowdfunding initiative aims to inspire 400,000 female-led businesses by 2025.

Source: Natwest

Travel as unique as your DNA

Yet another great idea from Airbnb to link its proposition to wider trends beyond the travel sector. This time tapping into the growing quest to understand our family ancestry by teaming up with DNA testing leader 23andMe. Users can find out their heritage then plan their end-to-end heritage trip. It would be handy for our ancestry to be traced back to somewhere with a great view and a bar nearby.

Source: Airbnb and 23andMe

IKEA ‘for real families’ transports us from reality

IKEA moves what could be a really boring campaign into an immersive territory by using real IKEA products to recreate iconic rooms from hit shows ‘The Simpsons’, ‘Stranger Things’ and ‘Friends’. Giving customers #Freedom to feel like they really can achieve anything with their homes and at a decent price. Really clever campaign.

Source: Ikea

If it’s not on Insta, did it even happen?

As we exceed tipping point of peak stuff and seek to experience more, we look at the conflict of collecting souvenirs in the form of posts and likes against soaking up the moment

We’ve been talking ‘experience economy’ for ages, sounds cool, but we think it’s fake news; an epic fail. Instead, we’re in a souvenir economy and it’s a tough landscape to prosper. In our quest to open ourselves up to experiences, we think we’ve missed the point. We’ve accidentally put up new barriers and started collecting something else. No longer ‘stuff’ – we’ve moved on from that – now we’re proudly telling people, with perfectly shot, filtered and curated photos , followed by a heap of likes and glowing comments. Thank goodness for Insta Stories, where we can post pics that only score a 9/10 on beauty, wit and a ‘life to be jealous of’. We’re grateful to have a space for the things that are not quite Instagram-worthy, that don’t deserve a perfect square.

Experiences like Friends Fest, become a photo taking exercise

Instagramable products are the making of eateries, like Taiyaki NY

Striking interiors draw us into spaces like Sketch London

We’re being careless with our own version of events

Experiences are complicated. We tell ourselves, it’s about the moment – but really it’s about the memory. And our memories are very easily influenced. An enjoyable meal catching up with old friends, full of laughter and ‘we must do this more often’ is ruined by the uptight one who gets on their calculator app to squabble over a fiver. The meal itself was full of fun, but now our memory tells us different. It has been altered. We can’t help but worry that, in a time when if we forget to take a photo, we may as well not have gone out for dinner at all; likes and comments are the currency. They equate to good experiences, as our memories are validated, our souvenirs celebrated.

Ok, now we’ve really lost it

During a recent birthday celebration for a friend, a charming waiter clocked the presents, chinking glasses and delivered a free – but more importantly stunning – cocktail. The elegant drink, in a  champagne flute, transitioned from sophisticated yellow nectar to almost pink, with a subtle dry-ice smoking effect. My friend complained: “He could have warned me so I could Boomerang. I missed it, I missed all drama.” It was her birthday, so I avoided an eyebrow raise, but reflected, “Did that just happen? What is wrong with us all?!” She didn’t miss it, she saw every wonderful moment.

Brands are winning (short-term) by helping us fast forward

The rise of the Trip Advisor Instagram tours (yes the image that conjures of a photograph relay-race about a beautiful city is correct) and apps that read books for us makes it oh-so-easy for us to skip the real experience. A win in the short term – but we predict we will wake up and slow down.

Brands, which help us get a grip, will thrive

We don’t want to live in a world that’s dull! We believe brands, which help us live in the moment and create great narratives, will connect. Festivals and gigs are some of the first to open our senses and push us to watch for ourselves, not through a screen, but with blanket bans on devices. But where’s the feel-good in that? Getting kicked out for using our phones with no refund, might be a funny story at some point in the future, but it doesn’t feel-good in the moment and certainly does not fit with our personal Insta-brand. Being policed on a night out isn’t going to create good memories.  We think brands who encourage (not force!) us to live in the moment will win. Imagine a restaurant which takes your phone on arrival , charges it – so you can enjoy an immersive dinner  – then gives it back , with a full battery,  and the bill? Let’s demand more and create better products and experiences

Smart brands play up to the obsession with stunning exteriors we can’t resist posting to spread their brand buzz