Buying The Intangible
I have a ritual.
Every day, after lunch, I drive down to my favourite coffee spot. It’s the same order every day. Doesn’t matter if it’s rain or snow, I’ll be there.
The employees are friendly too. Talkative and always remember my name and order.
What’s more, it allows me to step out of the house and get away from the computer.
Here’s the thing, their lattes aren’t that good. They’re often inconsistent and a little bit pricey.
So why do I keep going?
For the experience. The experience to have a nice conversation, get out of the house and away from the computer.
That’s the amazing thing about experiences, if they’re good, they can make up for a lot of things that aren’t.
Experiences offer intangible value. In 2018 the monetary value of intangible assets of the five biggest companies on the S&P Index was 84%, 21.03 Trillion U.S. dollars of their total assets.
Consumers are no longer interested in just buying goods and services, but the experience that goes along with them. As Liquid Agency’s Chief Creative Officer Alfredo Muccino put it, we’ve gone from “I need stuff” to “I want an experience”.
However, until we can purchase essentials like food, shelter and clothes as software code, we’ll need tangible goods, as Marty Neumeier points out in his book The Brand Flip.
In fact, a study in The Brand Flip showed that three-quarters of customers think companies should work to improve their lives and only one-quarter of customers believed companies were actually succeeding.
That leaves a lot of room at the top.
And the ones at the top? They’re using brand to wrap their tangible goods in experiences that draw customers in and give enhanced value to their products. Allowing products to become a symbol of what’s useful, delightful and sometimes magical.
And when a product becomes a symbol, the symbol becomes the product.