Unless you live under a rock, you might have noticed that a certain Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner recently broke three world records by jumping out of a capsule at 24 miles up thanks to the funding and support of Red Bull. An event that was watched the world over by millions and a truly astonishing achievement of human endurance. But it left me asking the question: why? Clearly it made good marketing sense for Red Bull, but it could have all gone so very wrong.
Looking at this as part of the bigger brand picture, this event represented what all modern brands are now waking up to. The fact that what really matters is how a brand engages and interacts with the people who impact the business, from its customers to the people who influence customers. A report by Jack Morton Worldwide put it simply:
“Brands are verbs: what they do matters more than what they say”
Due to a “recessionary climate”, more than ever there’s a huge pressure on every interaction with the brand. Gone are the analogue days where a direct, faceless approach would succeed in selling a brands product/service. In these times of economic strife, people are now searching for a more fulfilling, immersive experience over actual products as this is much more likely to bring people happiness.
Enter todays most successful experience brands who are helping to sculpt the landscape of what has been coined as the “The Experience Economy”.
Brands such as Apple, Red Bull, Coke and Google are able to differentiate themselves from other similar brands in a cluttered and often over populated marketplace, by offering memorable experiences that supplement the desire to buy products or services.
Red Bull are a brand who, over the years have repositioned themselves from a product lead company to one focussing on media events. They’ve done this through creating unique experience events the world over. Events such as The Red Bull Air Race to their London Eye DJ take-over, Red Bull understood early on that experience itself, can become the product. By delivering these original, one-off experiences they have been able to position themselves as one of the worlds best experience brands.
Apple, now in the shadow of questionably one the fore-fathers in the conception of the experience economy, Steve Jobs, focuses on the whole customer experience. From product experiences such as the unboxing of an iPad or iPhone to their unique retail experience, Steve Jobs realised from early on the importance of forming an emotional bond with your customer base. Getting excited about a trip to a computer store before Apple was a concept saved for techies and geeks.
In Anna Klingmann’s book Brandscapes, she looks at how “we are no longer consuming objects but sensations”. An architect and critic, Klingmann talks about the “new environment of brandscapes” pulling in everything in an expression of identity. As the world around us becomes more homogenised, brands are looking for better, more innovative ways of engaging with their customer base and standing out from the crowd. From a consumers stand point this can only be good news as companies look to “give more”. Here’s looking forward to the 2013 experience.