However, there exist cognitive traps that hinder consumers’ happiness.
When thinking about ourselves and others, we can speak of two selves: The experiencing self that predominates the present and the remembering self that keeps score of life.
Emotions determine memory. Therefore, when we remember something, we are not reliving the initial experience but actually re-experiencing the story that we have created within ourselves... That is why if our story ends badly, we attribute it to the whole experience we have been through. It is in deed an irrational situation...
Brands, that are aware of this irrationality of consumers, are advancing to a new economical value level: EXPERIENCE ECONOMY.
Experience economy is about how happy the experiencing self can be made and about the collection of good stories turning into customer loyalty.
There are some basic steps that need to be taken at introduction to experience economy.
First of all, consumers have reached the end of their patience. Brands have forgotten to really listen to the consumers and have continuously exposed them to messages like “Very Important, Last Minute Opportunity, Don’t Miss It”. Yet the consumers are now turning a deaf ear to these. They would like personalised and authentic messages. For this reason, brands must focus on the “individuated generalisation” strategy. Of course, it is not very easy to individuate the brand experience.
As Sam Walton has stated, “There is only one boss; it is the consumer. And a single consumer possesses the power to fire all the executives from their seats. The only thing he needs to do is spend his money on another brand.” That is why the period of, “Ring bell for service; Drop a note to the Suggestion Box; We will get back to you as soon as possible; Please call Customer Services,” is over. It is required to address the peerless consumers in a unique way and beyond that, even give them a spot within the brand’s main marketing scenario.
Experience economy requires brands that are able to unite stakeholders, consumers, potential customers, partners, and employees. Therefore, transparency is of critical importance.
Experience economy can be measured. Brands that say, “We need to be a more customer-focused brand,” must measure customer experience with the subtitles loyalty, reputation, and quality. In this measurement, loyalty is a more critical value to measure than satisfaction. Because all of the consumers can be satisfied with the brand. But not all of them are loyal. In the end, if bad experience outweighs loyalty, the customer can abandon the brand.
While planning strategy, brands also require the customer value pyramid that has a separate dynamic other than their brand houses. This is also needed to be able to better apply and understand experience economy... In the end, the requirements of conventional communication will be different from that of talking with the customer.
In the customer value pyramid:
• The lowest step is the “EXPERIENCE ELEMENT”. Customer services, personalized offers, life style activities, design based on interaction, sales personnel with theatrical training, and more... These are all experience elements.
• The step above aims at determining the “TONE OF VOICE” for a brand when speaking to its customer: Many different tones such as the formal you, the informal you, we, buddy, etc. can be used.
• “TARGET EMOTION” is identified in the next step. It is identified which primary and secondary emotions the brand will make its consumer feel. For example, one can target various primary emotions such as transparency, trust, control, honesty etc.
• After that comes the “PROMISE OFFERED TO THE CUSTOMER”. This is the promise of the customer services.
• The promise offered to the customer should not be disconnected from the “BRAND PROMISE” on the top step.
The way to increase supporters and decrease opponents is to create the customer value pyramid with durable steps and identifying this experience via spot-on research and the right metrics. While following all these steps, let us list some of the things that should not be done during the experience economy process:
• The customer experience offered must be applied with the principle of becoming a true brand and not in the name of marketing.
• Avoiding the questions that are asked, augments the crisis. A service network that transforms every question into a way of talking, must be formed.
• One must not repeat other brands and own an authentic tone of voice.
• Addressing the consumer through the conventional channel may require a more serious tone. However, in a world where customers are becoming more and more digitalized, one must not speak as in conventional media. The rules, tone and dynamics of digital are different.
• No matter what, speed is the most important factor. The success of customer experience is possible if the brand is constantly one step ahead of its community and faster than they are.
The Must-Haves For Experience Economy:
1. Social media as a base:
Beyond being a medium of communication, social media has become a consumer attention center. Response speed, corrected cases, personalized messages have become the metrics for attention focus.
2. Enabling co-production:
Ever since consumers have claimed power, they would like to make their power felt at every opportunity. The products and platforms that are shaped via consumer comments, must be expanded as much as possible.
3. Social media as a technology base:
Now is the time for innovations to take place on social media. Because smart phone addicts, adopters of the technology culture, and app-crazies have all united at this common point. Also called the Sneezers, the crowd that is the distributor of this perception, must be influenced where they are found: On social media.
4. Human focus, not customer focus:
Brands still use the term customer focus. In fact, perhaps the audience they are addressing, happens to be themselves. Therefore, the mechanicalness of customer focus needs to be framed with a positive feeling with the “human focus” and this must take root in the company’ culture.
5. Establishing customer value pyramids:
Marketers build brand houses for their brands. In addition to this, they need to be offering a standardised way of addressing and experience to their consumers. Therefore, customer value pyramids that have their own dynamics, must be created besides brand houses.
6. Self-criticism by the brand:
The increase/decrease in the brand’s follower audience, number of replies, response time, interaction, click-through rate, time spent in relation to the brand, must be measured periodically and continuously.