Most companies have product(s) to sell to make money and remain in Business. A few make the fruitful transition from ‘products‘ to Brands. A very very very less number of Brands make the cut to the final stage of their lifecycle – a lifelong experience. Zappos, Starbucks, Apple are not brands anymore – they are a lifelong experience for their customers.
I’m sure I wouldn’t use any other electronic device or mobile device other than Apple for the rest of my life. Recently one of my colleagues asked me – what if, the price of iPhone 4S which is something like INR 50,000 would have been INR 75,000? Would you still purchase it? Or settle with an Android device? My answer was simple – I would still opt for Apple. Its not cause of the price, the style, the panache associated with the product that I resonate myself with, but its the ‘Apple perfection, culture, and striving for that extra bit’ that I’m passionate about. What most important is – I associate myself with the Brand. This takes the association to the next new level – a lifelong experience.
It ain’t necessary for the product to be expensive or high couture for aligning customers to ‘brand ambassadors’.
“We don’t deliver shoes. We deliver Happiness.” - Tony Hsieh, Zappos
“We don’t sell computers. We sell dreams.” – Steve Jobs, Apple
“We didn’t want to be in the business of selling coffee. Its just by chance we’re selling coffee. We wanted to create a business that acted as a ‘third place’ between work and home.” – Howard Schultz, Starbucks
What we find common in the 3 iconic quotes mentioned above is that the Brands never strived to sell their products. They wanted to dream about something bigger. They strove for that extra mile – to provide a lifelong experience for the customers!
This is what Brands should aim at emulating. Selling items is good – to bring in revenues at the end of the day, but that’s for a limited time span. If you wish to be in business for decades to come, you should be looking to build a lifelong experience. Does YOUR CUSTOMER associate with YOUR BRAND in terms of a LIFELONG EXPERIENCE?