This mantra has long been a fundamental tenet among experience-minded brands, but never has it been more important for brands to truly consider its meaning and implications.
Why now? Simply put, mobile.
To state the obvious, mobile is deeply intertwined with the way in which we interact with the world—people, brands, and ourselves. And, in its rise from third screen to first screen, mobile has transcended the device itself to become the primary interface through which we experience the world.
Somewhat less obvious is the notion that mobile as an experience is both deeply personal and emotional. In fact, our individual relationship with mobile—the device and its features and benefits—are likely to take on certain aspects of our individual personality, depending on how we relate to it.
Some of us consider the smartphone to be our “exobrain”—an instantly accessible, unending collection of content, information, and data that serves to make us smarter and more capable. For others, mobile has become our “dominatrix.” Like Gollum and his ring, we lovingly caress, nurture, and agonize over our device, as we wait for it to command our attention. Then there are those of us who see mobile as little more than a “pest,” reluctantly acknowledging it as a necessary evil of modern life, while longing for simpler times and wishing others would get their faces out of their phones.
Understanding the emotional relationships people have with their mobile experience will help you design experiences that truly resonate with them. Just like great products, great experiences strike an emotional chord because they feel like they were designed thoughtfully. They were designed to solve real dissatisfaction or pain. Or, to create new, unexpected value. They were designed with a person in mind. They were designed to be more emotionally satisfying.
And just like that, people remember the brands that brought them that experience. They start to think differently about those brands; they welcome them into their lives. And, consequently, they begin to expect the same from other brands as well.
These experiences might be hyper-focused and address known pain points and something that customers would expect (or even demand) come from a brand - like Amazon Dash - a feature of the brand that focuses on people who *hate* to run out of something, carry something heavy home or otherwise go out of their way to replenish a staple in their home. Alternatively, the experience might be more expansive and transcend the brand experience in a way that actually defines the brand - not unlike Domino's "Anyware" ordering experience. An experience made *even more* convenient for people who value ease and convenience over having *perfect* pizza. In both cases, these brands are earning the right to be in their customers' lives.
In a world where customers always expect more, it’s worth knowing if the experiences you are creating will earn the right to be in your customers' lives.
James Kim is SMITH’s Chief Strategy and Experience Officer.