Modern-day great thinkers in marketing postulate that brand implements, although important, are just the tip of an iceberg.
The real test of a brand’s strength is precisely how consumers perceive it and the emotions it evokes from in consumers. For most consumers, products and services are viewed in the same light and are not just products to be taken off the shelves. There has to be a good feeling and a great experience derived from using or interacting with them. Every-day occurrences and observations exhibit vital clues because most business entities proclaim their existence through the products they offer.
This is okay, but many stones are left unturned and some serious opportunities are missed, ab initio. But if the hearts and minds of consumers are touched, the whole ball game changes. Only a few, if not none, fully understand why they do what they do, and it is not necessarily the pursuit of profit but creation of priceless experiences and memories. Equally, the values, beliefs and the whole machinery of such entities move in unison to attract and retain customers, which can only be achieved if there is a plethora of great experiences.
Let’s take Apple, for an example, a company well known for creating great products. Let’s pause a bit and dissect the word “great.” What does it really mean? Does it mean user-friendliness of the products they make, their price tag or the very fact they are always ahead of the pack? I think the secret of Apple has always been their approach, which is different from their competitors. The point is that the engineers responsible for creating Apple products actually make them for themselves. Whatever they design, it has to be something that really creates a good feeling to a point that they personally couldn’t live without.
We all think Apple is the most innovative company. Well, not quite. Apple has simply mastered the art of creating experiences. Yes, Apple did invent the first commercial PC with the Apple II and the Mac improved on PCs with a graphical user interface and mouse input. But since then, all of Apple’s other products have been recreations to already existing products. Apple did not invent the MP3 player; it reinvented it and made it better. Apple did not invent the smartphone; it reinvented it and made it better. Apple did not invent the tablet; it reinvented it and made it better. By “better” I mean better experiences that a consumer derives from using Apple products that make you give or throw away the gadget you have been using.
Business entities and product designers must therefore devote their energies to creation of products that change consumer experience to make it better. It is only a great feeling and experience that will propel a customer towards a certain brand, return for a repurchase or recommend your products or your brand to others. The Achilles heel for most business entities is the fact that their products or services are designed or launched in response to several business factors. Fair enough, no one wants to get left behind, but the behemoth to the bottom line is products that capture the hearts and mind of consumers. That is what everything boils down to – making customers feel some magic and more. This much-needed magic is today’s game changer; that much-needed competitive advantage in an era of the ever-changing consumer.
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. ” Simon Sinek, 2009
LinkedIn: Gomolemo Kololo Manake