The Experience Economy
Joseph Pine II and James H Gilmore believe that consumers buy
experiences as well as goods and services. Their book, The Experience
Economy: work is theatre and every business a stage; published by the
Harvard Business School Press; suggests that companies should focus on
the experience customers have while using their goods, surrounding goods
with experiences that make using them more memorable.
identify six ways manufacturers can increase demand for their goods in
the Experience Economy.
goods in an experiential brand i.e. create a brand image emphasising
the experience surrounding the purchase, use or ownership of the
good e.g. Nike, Intel Inside, Harley-Davidson.
goods experience stagers need. As the demand for experiences grows,
so too will the demand for those goods that help enable experiences.
This includes goods affecting the senses as well as those propping
the event, especially memorabilia.
goods i.e. adding elements that enhance consumers’ sensory
interaction with them. In addition to obvious goods in this category
such as CDs and videos, companies can sensorialise any product by
explicitly accentuating the sensations created from its use.
goods scarce e.g. Beanie Babies. By making the stuffed animals
scarce, Ty Inc heightens the experience of possessing one.
a goods club. By forming a dub, companies can charge customers for
accessing their goods.
a goods event. Many manufacturers stage their own experiences when
they add museums, amusement parks or other attractions to their
factory output: e.g. Cadbury World. Goodyear World of Rubber,
Legoland. Not every manufacturer can turn extra space into a
paid-for event, but any company can recast production as a plant
tour e.g. glass and china factories showing how the products are
made. The consumer can be drawn into the process of designing,
producing, packaging or delivering the good.
to Pine and Gilmore the alternative to embracing consumers desires for
experiences is to be commoditised.
the Loop Consulting Ltd, a UK Marketing Consultancy, has done similar
work on the Brand Experience. This is the process of taking brand values
and creating from them a “live-the--brand” environment where the
consumer becomes more immersed in the brand experience itself, enabling
new areas of association and engagement to be introduced. This can work
on a number of levels:
experience adds a new communications channel that surrounds the
consumer e.g. factory visits and event marketing; Disney World and
local Disney stores; NikeTown stores; Starbucks coffee shops; 'Cha'
tea shops; Café Nescafé.
experience adds a service element to the product providing a
stronger offer e.g. SmithKline Beecham's Nicorette Web site which
provides information and a service element to smokers who wish to
experience allows the brand to be extended across seemingly
unrelated products and services as the brand is more important than
the individual product or service capabilities e.g. Virgin.
many brand values have become too artificial, too remote and too easily
copied, it is time, according to Through the Loop, to look hard at the
Brand Experience which seeks to immerse the consumers in the brand and
connect rather than distance them.