Behind the disruption of the digital revolution another revolution has occurred, quieter but certainly no less impressive. It is the radical change in the relationship between people and consumption, which is redefining the concept of value. It's about the economy of experience.
People's interests, purchasing power and preferences are gradually but quickly shifting, from the intrinsic value of products and services to the value of the experiences that they make possible. This transformation has already brought to business models based on access rather than ownership (sharing economy).
Experience has a much wider scope than a product’s value, it can develop through different touchpoints (website, app, e-commerce, customer care, after-sales, etc.) and it goes far beyond the single purchase moment or use.
Why are so many companies putting it at the center of their business model? The perception of commodity of products and services is changing: today, differentiation is achieved through experience, which becomes a competitive advantage. Various studies have demonstrated this: companies focusing on experience have better business results and are more likely to thrive in the medium and long term.
The value of experience: a practical case study
But how do you create value around a product with experience? Airbnb was paradigmatic in this: it overwhelmed the tourism industry and managed to offer services perceived with a higher quality by their target audience, at lower prices. This added value is experience.
Even without considering big high-tech giants, we can observe effective examples of this new business model in Italy as well. This is the case of AIA, one of the most important brands in the agri-food sector, which in recent months has launched an advertising campaign precisely based on the invitation to experience. Let's see how it took shape:
The starting point was drafting a brief where the purpose of the campaign was defined with the agency. In this case, it was increasing brand awareness, through a strong and intelligent "push" of the product (grilled meat), of its characteristics and mood (people who grill, drink and eat happily) across social media and various channels.
- Data collection
In order to create an experience, the first thing to do is putting a magnifying glass on the person it is destined to. To reach their heart, you need to understand what they love, what makes them feel good, why they should be interested in buying your product.
An initial identification of the target revealed that most of it were young men, of average age, who had a strong common interest in football, and especially in fantasy football. In this phase, it is important to collect both quantitative and qualitative data and aggregate them, in order to form a complete picture of the consumer.
- Data-driven creative strategy
With the discovery of a common passion in the target thanks to the analysis of data, it was decided to integrate it into the product campaign. That’s how the first fantasy barbecue was born. What is it about? With the involvement of specifically chosen influencers, users from all over Italy were invited to create grilling teams that would compete with each other in a battle of spits, to become the champion grillers in Italy.
When presenting a campaign, brands are often a little hesitant, as you never know what is going to stimulate public-generated content. The real understanding of their interests allowed to launch the right message, and this guaranteed a remarkable success in user engagement, with participation above expectations.
- The importance of co-design
Companies find it difficult to perceive how experience passes through so many different touchpoints. For this reason, the transformation towards experiential requires a profound change within the company, and co-design skills also come into play. It is a collaboration method where work and innovation are interwoven, involving all stakeholders.
Thanks to this collaborative approach it is possible to bring together the different touchpoints, belonging to different business areas, to offer a consistent customer experience across all channels.