Staging experiences in a highly connected world.
As consumer experience continues to grow as a key driver for a consumer’s purchase decision, many brands are waking up to the fact they are tremendously far behind this trend. As we’re seeing in the marketplace, the most valuable companies and the fastest growing companies are building their brands and businesses around the consumer’s experience. This gives them a major competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Simply put, a brand’s consumer experience is creating a loop where the brand promise will not only be communicated correctly, but will be fulfilled at key moments of interaction. Looking at the holistic consumer journey from unawareness, through shopping and purchase and into ownership, you can quickly see the moments of interaction where your brand promise can be fulfilled.
This mindset isn’t just good for the consumer, it’s really good for business. In their book The Experience Economy, Pine and Gilmore build a case for the progression of economic value as brands start to “stage experiences” for their consumers. As brands begin to implement this mindset as a competitive advantage, they will create opportunities to fully differentiate from their competition, while demanding a premium price for their products and services. Not to mention, consumers are becoming more loyal to brand’s that offer a compelling and engaging consumer experience - ever increasing the lifetime value of each consumer relationship.
Implementing the idea of “staging experiences” in today’s marketplace, doesn’t necessarily mean a one off experiential moment, but ongoing moments of brand fulfillment. This could include a more streamlined shopping experience, a celebratory purchase process, a retail experience that doesn’t suck or even a post purchase cadence for onboarding. Each interaction throughout the consumer’s journey has the ability to become a memorable experience that can fulfill the brand’s promise.
Consumer Journey Mapping
The first thing to look at when embarking on consumer experience strategies to drive business growth, is the consumer journey itself. Mapping out the current journey a consumer takes to buy from you, or products like yours, can be pretty eye-opening. As businesses have been built over the last 50 years, we’ve continued to add complexity to drive incremental revenue, with no regard to the consumer or consumer experience. Just try buying a car or a mattress and you’ll see how we’ve become accustomed to forcing the consumer to react to our business versus the other way around. Mapping the consumer journey allows us to find the moments of pain and the moments of excitement for a consumer. It gives us the opportunity to look at these very important moments to find ways to fulfill our brand promise. Having this view and empathy for the consumer alone will make business and brand decisions more effective and connected.
Speaking of connected, did you know that by 2020, it is estimated that 92.8 percent of U.S. mobile phone users will own and use a smartphone. This penetration of smart devices creates a massive opportunity to leverage shared equity of technology and the behaviors that consumers are already taking. This permeation of technology creates shared opportunities versus the expense of building custom experiences. And with the evolution of 5G and expanded IoT connectivity, the ability to stage more immersive experience will become easier and more effective. These technologies along with the connected consumer can drastically evolve the moments that matter. Looking at business leaders and trendsetters like Nike and Story, we can see how the connected consumer can create new consumer experiences.
Chores & Cherish
Mashing together the consumer journey map and the connected consumer, we can start to chart a new path forward in creating our consumer experience strategies that drive business growth. Not only do we know what our consumers like or don’t like about the current experience, but we know how consumers are interacting at these core moments. The way to make the biggest impact in your business growth is to reduce or remove the chores the consumer has to take to buy from you and celebrate or enhance the moments of cherish - all while using these moments to fulfill your brand promise.
Casper didn’t make a better mattress, they removed the chore of shopping for and buying a mattress.
Apple didn’t become the most valuable company in the world by simply making hardware, they have continuously made it easier to connect an individual to their interests and their devices together for easier onboarding.
Delta has completely changed air travel. Not by having faster planes, but by creating an app that continually reduces the chores of air travel. Checking in, going through security, even in-flight entertainment have all been streamlined and enhanced by their app.
By understanding these moments of chores and cherish in the consumer journey, you can quickly create a consumer experience roadmap to remove chores and enhance the cherish in a way that only your brand can.
So what’s next? The evolution of the consumer experience driven economy will be the ability to craft, curate and progressively maintain a relationship with the consumer. As expectations will continue to rise, the idea of a personalized experience, services and products will become more and more valuable for the consumer - pushing the brand to get even more intimate with the consumer. However, this evolution needs to start now. The ability to capture first-party consumer data, interaction data and preferences will become the foundation of personalization. This begins with the consumer experience.
How is your brand fulfilling its promise throughout the experience? Let’s chat.