How brands should view (and do) experience
What most marketers know: awesome consumer experience can drive business growth.
What most marketers don’t know: how to actually design awesome consumer experience.
This might be weird, but I had a revelation about this when shopping in IKEA to furnish my new apartment. I’ve always liked the IKEA experience, but this time I realized how it is that IKEA gets it right and most brands don’t.
1. IKEA is built on a user-centric, authentic brand purpose. There is nothing fluffy about IKEA’s reason to exist: “To Create a Better Everyday Life for Many People”. It is real and tangible, based on an understanding of the real problems of real people. IKEA is not about realizing your dream of greatness or changing your future. Its sole purpose is to help you live comfortably and conveniently. Period.
2. IKEA crafts products to improve people’s experience, not the other way around. If you see an IKEA product, most probably you can actually envision what it is for and how you might use it. IKEA understands that products are only useful within the context of user experience. IKEA doesn’t create boxes; they create storage that you can hide under your bed, for people with too much stuff and too little space. IKEA doesn’t create rugs; they create well-designed covers for people’s broken tiles. Most brands are creating a product based on basic functionality without really thinking about the real-life value of it. With a focus on adding value to people’s experience, there are zillions of opportunities for product and service innovation, providing brands with new things to sell and to drive business growth.
3. IKEA’s shopping experience is designed to help people’s life experience, not only to drive purchase. IKEA’s showroom is awesome. Unlike most retail spaces, they don’t (regularly) hit you with “buy one get one” or “last chance” call to action. IKEA’s showroom is designed to give you an idea of how you can use the products and services to solve your daily life problems. So, even if your purchase is impulsive (remember all those times you bought glasses that you didn’t really need?), you can probably post-rationalize it easily because you can imagine the usage of it.
I believe this is how brands should view (and do) experience. Design around real, day-to-day experiences that people are having with your product or service. If you’re a shampoo brand, think beyond the next magic ingredient; start thinking about the whole morning hair wash experience. If you’re a soda brand, think beyond the flavor; start thinking about the moments that people actually crave cold drinks.
Start with that, and you have the chance of creating a consumer experience as awesome as IKEA’s.