In a fairly depressed, yet eagerly optimistic economy, there are companies that have evaded the effects of the recession and triumphed above all. Why do such companies and inevitably their products, resonate with consumers? Why do consumers wait on-line for days on end or spend ridiculous amounts of money on fleeting items? The clear leaders all have one major characteristic in common – they foster an undeniably exceptional experience.
But one can always argue that all brands create an experience – it’s inherent in their marketing DNA. True, however, like most things in life, some do it better than others. There are four companies that have emerged as dominant experience-generating forces: Nike, Beats by Dr. Dre, Apple, and Target. The following outlines how these brands have capitalized in re-imagining and transforming products to deliver total experience management.
NIKE: The Nike Kool-aid has been ingested for years and even in this down economy, they have not lost their luster. Shoe enthusiasts across the globe park outside of stores for days in order to buy the latest Air Force Ones. In the 90s, Nike gained an unexpected audience in hip-hop artists, DJs, etc., who were wearing the shoes for style purposes. Now, Nike has evolved into a shoemaker that not only optimizes consumers’ performance, but maintains the distinctive style factor. Nike makes consumers feel empowered by their decision to buy a shoe that looks good and performs well.
BEATS BY DR. DRE: When did headphones become all the rage? Ever since Dr. Dre unleashed his chic and lavish $300 cans. There has been a tectonic shift in the sound accessory market. No longer are headphones a ubiquitous utility. Dr. Dre has flipped the industry around and turned them into fashion lust. It’s not just a conduit for music, these headphones have become an integral part of consumers lives.
APPLE: Steve Jobs’ vision was simple – get back to the basics and design products that fit the human body, its movements, and its cognitive abilities – in other words, build, market and distribute ergonomic products. With that in mind, in the Jobsian Era, Apple combined art and commerce (picture the iconic dark silhouetted characters against bright-colored backgrounds dancing) to launch a radical product – the iPod – and consequently an unparalleled experience. The best and most honest way to describe Apple’s superhuman abilities is to quote their iconic “Think Different” ad: “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” And that is what Apple has done and continues to do – change the world.
TARGET: As Target states: “Our mission is to make Target the preferred shopping destination for our guests by delivering outstanding value, continuous innovation and an exceptional guest experience by consistently fulfilling our Expect More. Pay Less.® brand promise.” Target thoughtfully designs stores to be easy and intuitive to shop, they also partner with high-end designers to create select product lines that have limited availability. The company has singlehandedly democratized high fashion and design by offering exclusive and otherwise unattainable brands names to the mass market.
As previously stated, these aforementioned brands are brilliant experience developers – producing models that reimagine innovation, defy user experience and boost brand awareness. They relentlessly strive to change and move humanity further along. Nike, Beats by Dr. Dre, Apple, and Target are some in an elite group that have revolutionized the idea of invention and total experience management.