The Experience Economy is here and with it, a new norm for advertisers. Consumers are in the driver’s seat and have high expectations and demands of brands. They have redefined what is considered table stakes and as a result, the future success of any company relies on their ability to properly deliver a fully connected brand experience. Companies of all sizes (and within all industries) must now understand the expectations of consumers and how technology can better influence their brand interactions.
Succeeding in the Experience Economy can be both quite simple and quite complex. There are standards, best practices, and sensibilities that must be honored however, at its root, success starts with proper investigation and empathy. No matter how you slice it, it’s time to accept that the Experience Economy is here and to take the necessary steps to prepare.
Understanding People Is More Critical Than Ever
Brand interactions must first and foremost be easy. They must co-exist in the natural rhythm of a consumer’s day-to-day life. This means that the most critical component is not only understanding technology — but also — understanding people.
The starting point for this conversation is quite simple. From your consumer’s perspective, what matters most is that the brand interaction simply works and provides value. Both are equally complex, but nothing can be accomplished if your brand isn’t first available. Consumers expect the brand to provide what is needed at the exact time when it’s needed. Sports fans know the adage: “the best ability an athlete has is availability” and this applies here. Each exchange is expected to be valuable and meaningful. It isn’t enough to simply be available. A brand must quench a consumer’s undying thirst for fulfillment. Add to that, the complexity of predictability, and the need to make your brand available even before a consumer understands they need you.
Today it is more crucial than ever to decode the nuances of consumer behaviors and sensibilities that drive their unique brand interactions and decision-making processes. Even today, many advertisers leverage demographic and ethno studies to assign broad-stroke behaviors to generations, quickly generalizing people into buckets.
It’s clear that there are unpredictable idiosyncrasies in how people interact, communicate, consume, digest, transact, explore… and more; all of which offer cues that should be part of the inputs advertisers capture and embrace. On top of that, consumers move in and out of systems, devices, and platforms and don’t follow a “logical” path to purchase through the sales funnel. There simply is no predictable beginning or end.
While it sounds dramatic, fail to deliver on this consumer expectation and you may never get another chance! This is the current environment that exists between brands and their audience.
Here are four steps to put you and your brand in the right mindset.
Critical Steps for Success in the New Experience Economy
- Understand Your Audiences’ Sensibilities and Behaviors
It’s not enough to simply summarize and generalize your audience. Don’t get me wrong, personas are still useful, but it’s simply not enough to focus on ethno and demographic information. Those lenses are too narrowly focused and do not expose the more valuable, behavioral criteria that inspire long-term, emotional connections to your brand. Consider how you can use technology to build a more robust data-driven picture of your individual audience.
- Develop a Comprehensive Strategy That Accounts for Business Needs, Market Demands, and Technological Capabilities
This is a large commitment for many brands however there are ways to pull the levers to gain enough insights to deliver a fully considered, and responsible experience. A well-rounded team of Digital Strategists, Experience Designers, and Creative Technologists can help define and implement the right approach for you and your brand.
- Imagine an On-Demand System
As consumers ourselves, maybe we’re spoiled since we can access anything we want, at any given time, through all our connected networks. Guilty or not, the truth remains that consumers expect their brand experiences to be at-the-ready, whether it’s on television, a smartphone, or other platforms. As a brand, your job is no longer to dictate the exchange, but to facilitate. Do this by creating an environment that exposes your consumers to your product or service, ratings of those, associated items or experiences, friction-less purchasing, and opportunities for additional interactions.
Accept That You are a Technology Company
This may sound a bit contradictory since I’ve focused so much on people and their behaviors but successful companies today all have technology at their core. They have transformed from businesses who sold products or services, to those that are technology-driven. Industries are quickly becoming disrupted as companies look to integrate technologies into their experiences. Prime examples include the automotive industry, with the additions of more sophisticated in-cabin UI’s, and the healthcare industry, in the quest of facilitating their brand exposures to more people, more often. And the list goes on. The time is now for your organization to do the same. Begin to imagine your brand as something more than just what you warehouse or catalog.
Prepare yourself and your brand by considering the points above. What may seem daunting now can be successfully tackled if practically approached. For us, it starts with asking the right questions, that uncover the most critical details, all leading to the right answer for your brand.
Rightpoint has helped brands like yours successfully navigate this maze; and we welcome the opportunity to help your brand do the same. Reach out to us here and let’s get started,