Don’t design Stepford Wives experiences

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As discussed in my previous post ‘The Expectation Economy’, consumers have increasingly high expectations from brands: products, service, brand, etc. While many companies still try overcompensate bad products by spending gazillions in advertising, other companies have started to understand the Service is Marketing idea and how Experience Design can create memories.  And, as David Armano points out in his latest Critical Mass Blog post, many of us have to come to understand that customers should be at the center of our attention:

(…) “it’s probably good to keep in mind that the disciplines of Design, PR, Advertising, Marketing and Technology will all play critical roles. I believe many of these roles are already blurring. And everyone wants to know the answer to this question:

“Who will lead the way”?

Would you believe I have the answer? The customer. Start by exceeding their expectations. Meet the needs they never knew they had. The rest will follow.”

People and their money  will go where the best experiences are, we know this. But how do we define best experiences? Is the best experience a perfect experience? Or is there more to it?

The best travel experiences I ever had were not flawless. They often involved massive amount of bugs, sanitary nightmares, bad schedules and grouchy friends. But, looking back, I had a blast and tons of memories. The most mediocre travel experiences were the ones where everything was flawless: The breakfast was delivered 5 minutes early, the eggs were perfect, the coffee the right temperature.

Flawless doesn’t equal best. People don’t want to step into a Stepford Wives experience. They want a human touch to it, something more than just perfection. An engineering brand should deliver flawless engineering. But if they only deliver that, nobody will remember their name. Adding an irreverent tonality to their communications and conversations might deliver this memorable experience. (Cluetrain #21)

Best experiences should be defined as interactions and relationships that add value to people’s lives and allow them to tell a story. My best travel experiences were so good because they made a great story. Same goes for positive experiences with airlines (Yup, there are some), car dealerships, supermarkets, etc. These stories will stay as memories with people and all the others they told about the experience. Make it easy for people to tell their story through platforms and always remember:

Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today. -Robert McKee
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One response to “Don’t design Stepford Wives experiences

  1. Good Layout and design. I like your blog. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. .

    Jason Rakowski

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