4May

Experience Required

Two days ago Austin Craig reminded us that every company needs a story. You might even remember the incredible story of how hard his sister worked to get on Ellen DeGeneres’ show. Now to finish off the week right we have him again, this time writing about the importance of creating an experience for your customer. You’ll love this stuff! (Hint: make sure to watch the videos…)

In my last post, we talked about the value that telling stories can bring to your business. If people don’t know you, they’ll never come to you, whether online or in a brick and mortar store. Stories take care of that by acting as an introduction. The (soon to be) customer now knows you like they know the characters in their favorite TV shows, movies, or books. With a good story, they’ll come to find out more. Now how do you take that introduction and turn it into a relationship? How do you persuade them to not only come the first time, but to continue to come back?

Who Doesn’t Remember Their First Kiss?

Let me start by asking a question. Do you remember your first car? I mean the first car that was really yours. Remember the make? The Model? Color? How about trips you took in that car? People you drove with? There’s a good chance you remember more about that car than any car since then.

How about your first kiss? Or most recent vacation? Or holidays when you were a kid?

All of these are or are associated with experiences. We remember experiences. Our life is made up of a series of experiences. What if something isn’t a notable experience? Do you remember what you had for lunch on Tuesday three weeks ago? Probably not, even if it was a pretty decent meal. But if it’s a pretty decent meal served by a Rockabilly waitress on roller skates, you’d remember that a little better. You might even tell your friends about it.

If you want people to remember your store/site/service/product, you need to offer them something to remember. You need to give them a memorable experience.

Great Companies Create Experiences

What is a memorable experience? For our purposes, let’s define an experience as something that elicits a facial expression. A big smile, or a laugh. Maybe a look of shock, followed by relief. A smirk even. If you can get their eyebrows raised, their jaw dropped, and/or the corners of their mouth lifted to a grin, you’re on to something.

Hotels leave a mint on your pillow because (forgive the pun) it sweetens the experience. If you go into any store in any mall in America, they’ll be playing music like they’re warming up for a party. When you first startup a new Apple computer, you’re welcomed with an intro video that will only play once ever on that machine. All these are so cheap as to be virtually free to the business. But they vastly improve the experience, and give the customer something to remember.

“But Some Products Are Just Boring…”

I work with Orabrush, a startup company that sells, of all things, a tongue cleaner on the Internet. Exciting, right? Who isn’t passionate about tongue cleaning?

Forgive the pun, but I say that tongue in cheek. I care about oral hygiene more than most, but to say that tongue cleaning is inherently exciting would be at best a stretch.

How do you turn that into an experience? Our marketing is done almost exclusively through YouTube videos. We’ve released over a hundred videos. Some teach people about the product in a funny and informative way. Some, however, don’t even mention the product. They’re just funny. Both spokesmen wear costumes. One is in a labcoat and goggles (full disclosure: that guy is me) and the other is in a giant tongue costume. That’s right, he’s a six foot tall tongue. And a darn funny one at that. Many of our videos are meant simply to entertain. The viewers laugh, love it, and come back for more. It’s an experience they’ll remember, and when they see our brand again, or hear about tongue cleaning, there’s a good chance that smile will be right back on their face.

We’ve also created the “Bad Breath Detector”, a simple iPhone app. Yes, our tongue cleaner company created an iPhone app. This video can explain it better than I can.

The app has been a hit. We’ve had over 400,000 downloads, and our video above has been seen 1.7 million times, with no promotion from us. It’s a fun experience that people want to share. Our brand fostered that experience, and became part of those sharing relationships.

Whole industries are built around experiences. Tourism to exotic countries is exclusively about creating experiences. Disneyland is a tightly packed bundle of experiences. Even in the desert of Nevada, they’ve built the one-of-a-kind experience that is Las Vegas.

With your store/site/service/product, ask yourself this question; “What kind of experience will my customer have? Will there be anything memorable from the experience? Will they even smile?

Think of how they come to you as a customer, what fundamental experience the store/site/service/product offers them, why they should remember it, and why they should come back. If you can answer those questions, they’ll come back, and they’ll bring friends.

You could probably benefit from a little Disneyland in your business. Or a little Vegas.

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