5 ways to build a brand experience.
Now, and more than ever, there is a demand to create authentic experiences for customers. Customers are becoming dissatisfied with mass produced goods and services and instead want to experience something personal that they will remember and share with their family and friends.
This leads us on to the concept of ‘experience thinking’, a concept many companies are implementing into their business models. Here we explain five key approaches to experience thinking that businesses need to be adopting.
1. Create marketing experiences
Long gone are the days when traditional marketing would get you the sales you want, it’s now all about creating an experience for your customer. Apple successfully embedded marketing experience into its business model through introducing Apple stores, although many were sceptical when Steve Jobs first announced that Apple – traditionally classified as a manufacturer – would go into retail. By creating a portfolio of places that enabled consumers to directly experience all of its devices the store concept became the number one retailer in the world, achieving over $5,000 in sales per square foot in the US in 2015.
2. Think about how you operate
Operations management, designing and directing the interactions that customers have with the company and its workers is an approach that can have a huge impact on your customer’s experience. For example, Robert Stephens founded the computer repair company ‘Geek Squad’ in 1994. Robert costumed his Geek Squad as agents in white shirts with clip-on black ties, black pants and shoes, and white socks, and had them drive around in ‘Geek mobiles’. Who better to fix computer crashes and banish malware than geeks, especially when dressed to look like FBI agents?
3. Let your customers experience ‘joy!’
Another approach to incorporating experiences into business models is through technology, where the focus is on what’s called the “user experience”. User experience (UX) is a term coined by famous user-cantered design advocate Donald Norman, who is now the director of The Design Lab at the University of California, San Diego. Donald highlights that the digital user experience should meet “the exact needs of the customer without fuss or bother”. Customers should experience joy when interacting with your product. An example of this is the pleasure Apple devotees get from their devices which can indeed go beyond their expected satisfaction and in return creates an engaging experience.
4. Charge for the experience
Charging people for an experience? Surely not! But doing this can in fact create a distinct economic offering for a business. Businesses must recognize that in a world saturated with largely undifferentiated goods and services, staging experiences offers an untapped opportunity for value creation. Companies must design a business model that involves charging for the time customers spend engaging with the business, an example of this is pay-to-play technological experiences include gaming (EVE Online), music listening (Spotify), and movie downloading (Netflix). If a company charges for the time its customers spend with it, then and only then is it economically in the experience business.
5. Create a transforming experience
What do your customers want to become? How can you help them? Some companies now promise a ’transforming experience’ that changes customers in some fundamental way. Many businesses routinely provide customer-changing experiences – think of fitness centres, healthcare institutions, coaches and consultants, wealth management firms, and so forth. Companies with a transformational business model are able to charge for the demonstrated outcomes customers achieve. For example, companies may charge for financial consultancy where the key measurement would be their client achieving their portfolio-growth targets.
Read the research paper ‘Integrating experiences into your business model: five approaches’ published in Strategy & Leadership (Vol. 44.1) to find out more about how experiences can impact your brand.
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Content Communications Executive