2017 Trend Alert: Experiences Over Stuff Matters More Than Ever!

 In Musings

My friends know Asturias, Spain is one of my favorite regions in the world. I treasure the travel, the local culture, midnight dinners, light of day often past 11pm and living outdoors experiencing Spain’s mesmerizing landscapes, festive culture, and their warm community welcoming us travel hounds.

Travel is a great way to look at engagement experiences good and bad. What about your travels do you love, what memories have been created and what do you loathe? How has technology improved your travel experiences and how might it have hindered or frustrated you during your travels. How might we relate the exciting trips we’ve been on to our planning of branded events?

What journeys are you taking your customers on and what do you want them to remember?

I return often to Spain but each time I travel I seek out new experiences. How might this relate to your business strategy for growth? Consider what it takes today to generate customer loyalty or to gain acceptance and sales for a new product or service. With so many distractions what is a brand to do?

Here are a few tips to consider when building memorable experiences to engage customers:

  • Include your customers in your strategic planning process! We are in an age of co-creation and the prosumer! Building community is not just having followers or likes. Building events and pathways to have a two-way conversation with the customer is crucial. Today we must go beyond the two-way to multi-channel communications. The community is about your ecosystem and facilitating conversation with your ecosystem could be a game-changer for your company.
  • B2B companies need to transform their mindset to be more like B2C companies. Engaging the buyers is harder than ever. Your sales people are no longer sales people but could be considered as facilitators of insightful conversations, deep thinkers, and solution designers.
  • Leave no stone unturned-think unconventionally even in the most traditional businesses. Today the craziest of ideas just might get the juices flowing on new thinking not just for your company but also for your customers. What can you do to give a feeling of hope, of opportunity, of fun and excitement? How can you provide creative experiences that help your customers be more creative?
  • Invite a group of non-engaged customers to join the feedback loop? Ask the question… “what would get you jumping for joy?” What do your customers not know about your brand or your products?
  • Engage all the senses! Designing experiences that take you on unusual journies can be a lot of fun, educational, titillating. One of my favorite experiential exhibits is Glade’s Museum of Feelings. Who thought air freshener could be so exciting!

2. What does culture have to do with customer engagement? Everything! Consider going to a foreign country that is not friendly toward travelers. How would this make you feel? Is your company culture one of high engagement encouraging innovative thinking? If not this is the first place to start.

Customers connect to brands where employees are happy, highly engaged and excited about going to work every day. The best of the best understand that empowering purpose driven work is rewarding. Customers know! They feel, see and sense a company’s healthy culture. Convert any non-engaged or passive staff members/employees to be highly engaged. Have you taken a company health index survey? We can provide our tools to help.

Reach out to Sabrina@plazabridgegroup.com on our team!

3. What does it take to entice someone to a far-away country or on an adventure of a lifetime? Relate this question how you might build experiences that feel like a once in a life-time experience. Easy? No! Necessary? Yes!

Engagement is critical. Using travel as a great teacher, think about all the ways that turn you off or break the travel excitement …. examples: airplane seats a big turn off, dirty plane seat back trays, sick seat mates, UGGG! All of these are enough to keep you from ever wanting to ever get back on a plane again! However, when you arrive at a far-away destination for a life altering safari of sorts, the experience trumps and the awful flight delays forgotten. What can we learn from the negative experiences and how might we transform these to more positive experiences? What key takeaways are there to learn from on the dream come true travel experiences and how they simply delete any memory of the awful travel process?

  • Here again, invite a group of non-engaged customers to join the feedback loop? Ask the question… “what would get you jumping for joy?” and more so “what turns you completely off?”
  • Invite your most engaged customers in the feedback loop for how they think you could engage the non-engaged?

What can you take away from your personal most engaging experiences as lessons learned to include in your 2017 plans? What can your organization do to provide the best experiences possible for your customers or potential customers digging deep beyond what appears as obvious?

Whether your company focuses on business-to-business, business to consumer or you are a small or big box retailer blinded by all the lightning strikes of change…. incredible experiences will rule!

More information:

Flip through our trends ebook, download Turning Trends Into Products: A CEO’s Checklist For Success

Follow Teresa Spangler @composerspang or Plazabridge Group @plazabridge

Teresa Spangler is a business and revenue growth strategist, an innovator with a bias toward disruption and loves designing experiential events that highly engage communities and customers. As a futurist, she often speaks on trends, disruptive technologies, new sales strategies, and invention. She also covers topics on technology adoption, leadership, women in leadership and growth during rapid economic changes. She is the author of the Game of Life Book Series, a contributing author to OpenForum. Click to learn more aboutPlazabridge Group.

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