20+ years ago, B. Joseph Pine II wrote about our entry into the experience economy—an economy in which growth strategies including the orchestration of events and experiences drive product value beyond the functional value of the product itself.
But what is it about experiences that enable a company to attract and retain customers over time? This question is particularly important to us at KERN, as most of our work is response oriented, with the intent to acquire and retain customers for our clients.
If they are orchestrated well, we think experiences can do two fundamental things to elicit an emotional response.
with elements of
Create Lasting Impressions
Reinforce Functional Value
It’s these two things on which successful brands participating in the experience economy focus particularly well. A lasting impression will help a consumer feel something about your brand and product over time, long after the event. If the experience pairs emotional and rational elements, the functional value of the product has a greater chance of being accepted and recalled. And the science on this has been out for some time.
Rational + Emotional =
(Smart Insights, 2014)
Emotion in marketing =
Stickiness and Response
Emotionally Charged Events =
(Advertising Psychology, 2017)
Here are two great examples we’ve recently come across which we feel are worth sharing:
An active experience currently in market is from Nike and its Kyrie 4 Cereal Sneaker Pack. If you can get your hands on a pair, the unboxing experience alone is immersive, nostalgic and executed in a way that drives relevance and timeliness. For shoes that are already perceived as a high performer, providing this experience adds other attributes to the product that enhance its appeal.
A passive experience we like comes from Domino’s Paving Pizza campaign. Their stock is killing it and they’ve somehow transformed into a technology company, but have you seen what they are doing on the road? If you happen to live in Burbank, you may have seen a Domino’s branded repair truck patching up potholes to provide pizza drivers a smoother ride, creating lasting impressions that are associated with the product. This is certainly experiential at the core. You can also make the case that the free media is worth it, even if measuring performance (i.e., revenue generated) may be challenging; however, the impressions it’s provided have been positive thus far… and, about that stock price!
Driving Functional Value in the Experience Economy is dependent on several variables. Soon we’ll share how one of these variables—trust—may be changing in the U.S. and what that means for companies looking to acquire and retain customers.
To recap, we live in an experience economy and no matter how functionally superior your product may be, aligning that functionality with experiences that elicit a motion-centric response can drive both current and long-term performance. The experience doesn’t have to be as innovative as the ones we’ve shared—just consider what the target audience is being asked to do and what they are being set up to think and, hopefully, feel.