Holiday or new TV? Toaster or toasting tournament? Karaoke bar or steel bar? Ok, the last one is not a fair contest, but the point is more and more people are valuing experiences over material goods. In fact, a 2018 Expedia study found that three-quarters of people prioritise experiences over products, while a 2019 TrendWatching report claimed that “Asian consumers are obsessed with experiences”. But, what does this mean from a marketing perspective and how can brands take advantage of the new experience tide?
The ‘Experience Age’
From the rampant materialism of the 20th century, we have entered the age of experience. In the wake of World War II, the emphasis of aspiration was on owning things: a car, a house, a fridge, perhaps even a brand new lawnmower to show off to the neighbourhood. Owning material goods felt good. They provided well-needed stability after so much instability.
Now, ask someone what they’re saving up for and chances are it’s a holiday. Next paycheck? A weekend away. Pubs, bars, restaurants and theatres have all seen footfall surges in recent years as people prefer to spend their hard earned dollars on having a good time and creating great memories. It’s the experience economy and it’s here to stay.
What does this mean for marketers?
With the emergence of the internet, we have never had so much access to information. We can look up any question from anywhere in the world. We can buy almost anything at the touch of a button. We can’t, however, relive a live experience.
Brands have had to change their offering to quench this experience thirst. Brick and mortar shopping centres, for example, have reinvented themselves as experience centres. Shops can’t compete with the internet in terms of price and ease, but you can visit them. As such, an increasing number of stores are using their physical spaces in innovative ways to enhance customer experience and build consumer relationships. Oo La Lab, for example, puts on workshops where customers craft their own fragrance.
Euromonitor, the global market research company, named ‘experience more’ as one of its eight megatrends for 2030 with spending on experiences expected to rise to $8 trillion (USD). Those are figures that brands can’t ignore and therefore marketers need to be experience-focused not only to attract attention and remain relevant, but because there is so much opportunity.
What a great experience can do for a brand?
According to marketing author Allan Dib, brands are the “personality of the business” and events help you get to know that personality; become friends even. They are an opportunity for businesses to build great relationships between the brand and consumer. By cultivating human contact and real-life interaction, consumers can connect and form a bond with the brand and like friendship, begin to value and trust that brand. It’s also a great way to ‘wow’ consumers: they can use your product anywhere in the world, but it’s not often they’re invited into the cockpit of a private jet.
No matter whether it’s a workshop, a sampling, a talk or a tour, real-life experiences are tangible, unique and impactful with 74% of people saying they have a better opinion of a brand after an event. After Rebel & Soul’s ‘Jade’ event series for HSBC, for example, a whopping 95% of attendees felt more favourably about HSBC.
However, their USP is memorability. Experiences are second to none when it comes to triggering emotions and making memories. In the digital age, real-life experiential marketing campaigns provide an incredible opportunity for brands to create significant, long-lasting impressions on consumers. Especially, if done correctly.
How to create a great experience
Not all experiences are created equal: in order to inspire, motivate and intrigue consumers, they must be new, unexpected and vivid. They must be organised to perfection and run like clockwork. They must grab our attention, toy with our imagination and create emotional attachment. They must be neuroexperiences.
At Rebel & Soul, making great experiences is what we’re known for. Using our knowledge of neuroscience and our INVOLVE™ methodology, we create neuroexperiences that enchant and delight consumers and help forge a closer bond between them and the brand.
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