Experimenting with Experience

Photo by space.ram

Lately I came across this word that almost crushed my marketing world. I heard it before but I didn’t gave so much importance on it. Then I heard it in the design industry and the person who has this in his bio, next to his name, can easily claim without almost any doubt that he is a must have for a business.

I also heard about it before on different marketing and social media webinars, conferences and read about it in articles, just like this. Maybe you already know what I’m talking about, but if you don’t, let me help you. The word that I want to introduce (or get your attention, again) is:

Experience.

And it’s kind of funny that we can put “experience” next to almost every marketing, design, digital word and we can do some magic title here: User Experience, Customer Experience, Brand Experience, Product Experience, Mobile Experience, Content Experience…do you want me to continue? I hope not. I bet you know where I want to get.

But what about the brands that are using “Experience” more than some trendy words in their blog posts or video ads? What about the brands that are having the “experience” word in their brand DNA and just by acting like that, are inspiring the industry to move forward?

Because ”Experience” got my attention several times this week I want to share with you my thoughts about this word and how we can use it, being inspired from others, to make brands stand out in the crowd.

And there are a few brands that are using experience to connect with the world and their customers. Even if we talk about emotional experiences, product experiences or inspirational experiences.

Writing about experience as a marketer made me think more about why experience is one of the cores of many successful businesses.

My personal experiment

One of my biggest experience with a brand was when I had my first Macbook. I didn’t believe all the marketing and selling proposition behind their brand. I understand the power of visual storytelling, branding, value proposition and other tactics that can make a customer buy a product. I even use myself in my regular daily base.

So here I am with a new Macbook in my hand and looked at it and thought about this “Hmmm…I know I can be a neutral person when we talk about Apple’s product”. But guess what, after a few days of working on the laptop I found myself telling other people what a great experience I’m having with this Macbook and how I love it.

And then I stopped for a few moments and I looked at me “Yes Robert, you are experiencing the meaning of UI/UX design”.

So yes, I found myself a personal evidence that a great experience with a great product is creating a brand-user connection.

But there are other brands that are using experience to connect with users. I looked at 3 brands and I want to share with you what I learned from my point of view.

Experience worth celebrating — GoPro

When your brand name is something that describes your product action, that is the point where you know that you are doing a great job.

Think about that, when was the last time when you heard somebody “Let’s GoProing this moment” or “We should Instagram this”. Exactly. They didn’t say “Let’s record this moment with our GoPro or let’s do a movie with your GoPro”.

And GoPro is doing this with their product. At least 6,000 GoPro-tagget videos are uploaded on YouTube every day. And that is one of the core pillar that is making this brand a leading one on YouTube, with more than 3.2 million subscribers.

If you ask me what kind of company GoPro is, I won’t say that is a camera company.

Rather that this, GoPro is an “experience worth celebrating” brand.

Because people are celebrating the moment when they are buying GoPro with their happy moments: going out to surf, bungee jumping, cycle and have fun.

And GoPro knows how to react to what their community is doing. More of that, they are not only using their users content (UGC — User Generated Content) but they are also partnering with brands that are on the same page with them.

For example, GoPro formed a strong partnership with 17 Marriott hotels in the Caribbean and Latin America. How? They offer complimentary cameras to guests during their stays and encourage them to upload their pictures and videos to share their experience. Now, isn’t this an experience worth to celebrating? Yes it is.

GoPro learned the thing that many brands forgot: they give their audience content that they want to see on the right platform.

Experience worth Sharing — Instagram

There are brands that are using other brands to share the experience. As I talked before about GoPro, I actually didn’t forget to mention that they have more than 9.6 million followers on Instagram.

But what about Instagram? Is Instagram a brand? Is Instagram a product from whom we can learn something? Yes it is.

Before the 500 million worldwide users they reached in June, and before everybody started talking about Instagram ads, and what to do to grow your community on this platform, Instagram was a an app where you can apply some filters, add a description to a photo and upload it on a social network.

But today, Instagram is more than just a simple mobile app where you edit your photos. Instagram today is the platform where people around the word want to share their day-to-day most important life moments.

As you’ve captured and shared the moments happening around you, you’ve formed incredibly varied and diverse communities… You’ve made Instagram a place where the everyday and the epic are always within reach. source

Even if this is one of the fastest growing mobile ad platform, where businesses and communities are finding the right audiences, it is pointing the right brand status — we are the place where you should share your experience!

And with Instagram, you are not only sharing your real life moments, but you are also experimenting a great way of how to edit your photos and connect with users that are on the other side of the world, across the globe.

Get Inspired by the Experience — TOMS

With almost every marketer that I talk and TOMS comes into our discussion, everyone agrees that they are doing a great job. More than that, they had the power to make their product not only a trendy one, but also an inspired experience.

Why? Just look at these numbers:

  • From 2006, Toms has put 10 Million pairs shoes on children’s feet in more than 60 countries;
  • Since 2011, TOMS has restored the sight of over 150,000 through purchases of TOMS Eyewear;
  • In 2014, more than 35 US states will receive over 1,000,000 pairs of new shoes.

This shoe brand is well known as an innovating brand that is embracing the 1-for-1 giving model: you buy a pair of shoes and TOMS will donate another pair to someone in need.

Like Zita Cassizzi, chief digital officer said into an interview for Forbes:

”we’re not just a shoe company, a sunglasses or a fashion company, or a coffee company. We’re not just selling — we’re also a movement. So we always want to make sure that when we touch and engage with customers it’s not just about selling a product but it’s about becoming a part of the movement.”

And yes, this is why they do. They are inspiring every customer by making them part of the movement, part of the experience. And when a customer is part of the experience, he definitely wants to share this feeling with everyone around him.

TOMS learned how to inspire their customers by the experience of not only buying one pair of shoes, but also to help someone else in need.

Conclusion

Using experience to connect with the customer, to engage with him and make him part of the community or even your brand movement is what your brand needs to do, not only to sell more of your product, but also to have an impact in your area, in your generation.

So let’s go beyond the classical marketing strategies, let’s move forward of the all so known as the 4P (Marketing Mix — People, Price, Product, Promotion) and start looking at what experience my brand can create in my communities.

What about your brand experience?

Originally published at www.robertkatai.com on August 29, 2016.