The Experience Economy* is well and truly with us and is infiltrating the success of established brands.

March 4, 2014

A brand is what exactly?

 

A logo, a strapline, the advertising and resulting imagery? A stylised presentation to the customer about your values, your difference and why you should be considered?

 

For some categories – fmcg especially – this is still generally the case. Brands of baked beans, soft drinks or razors are pretty much ‘static’ in terms of marketing sophistication. The product speaks for itself and is consumed regularly and is chosen habitually. Sales are increasingly manipulated via price promotion and the brand is kept top of mind through media spend. Interruption is almost impossible unless you have something completely new.

 

Other categories which are more irregular in nature also rely on the traditional push/pull model of marketing. Consumer durables, automobiles or electricals tend to fall into this category – products like fridges, cars, coffee makers or tablets are generally bought with brand, price and features as the dominant consideration set.

 

However, these purchases usually involve an online comparison as part of the purchase journey. That journey may mean a visit to the brands website. (And it may well happen on a mobile phone). Whilst the brand values and imagery may be perfectly presented on either, visitors will be measuring the brand on their experience when using the website.

 

These are some of the questions visitors will be asking themselves about the experience (and in brackets we’ve highlighted the laddering of internal thought processes):

 

  • Is it quick (are they competent)?

  • Is it written well (are they trustworthy)?

  • Is it modern (am I getting the best product)?

  • Can I navigate it easily (will the product be this clever)?

  • Are the search results intuitive (do they really understand me)?

  • Are all the details of my product here (how well can I justify the price)?

  • How does it compare to that other brand’s website (are they more impressive)?

 

These issues form part of the questioning in research that we carry out for clients. Whilst the questions we ask about the experience are pretty simple, the interpretation is more important in measuring the likelihood of a successful impression being made.

 

That’s because brand values are shifting from logo’s to experiences, and increasingly a brands online experience will be the unwritten measure of success.

 

* The term Experience Economy was firstly introduced in 1998 by the two American business consultants B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore in their Harvard Business Review article “Welcome to the Experience Economy”.

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