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Experiential: Second hand is just as good



While consistency is key, brands and retailers shouldn’t necessarily concern themselves with giving each and every one of their consumers access to the same experience. For example, they can choose to directly target an experiential interaction towards only a small number of consumers. If they do so in a way that will elicit an emotional response from a wider audience, then this broader set can feel the second-hand benefit of the experience just by making a purchase – a win-win result for the brand.

This is the philosophy behind brands like Red Bull. Consumers don’t just choose it because of its taste or potency – they buy it because they can experience an associated thrill without ever actually needing to go skydiving or motor racing themselves. Customers aren’t only paying for an energy drink – they’re buying a vicarious rush.

A targeted approach

The increasing number of fashion brands and retailers launching collaborations with high-end designers, as H&M has done so successfully, over a similar attraction. These limited ranges aren’t intended for mass consumption – only a small proportion of consumers will ever get their hands on the product. Yet just knowing of their existence means customers can enjoy a relationship with a brand which carries premium, highly desirable lines and shares their style values. Brands can use this thinking to employ experiences which enhance their outward perception, without the need to actively engage with their entire target audience.

This phenomenon is also well demonstrated by the sheer volume of consumers who are now willing to buy products which they can’t actually ‘use’. The vinyl resurgence, for example, is not simply down to a rise in music lovers seeking a higher quality sound. People are also buying records without the intention of ever playing them, doing so just for the second-hand authenticity and nostalgia that vinyl brings them.

Back to basics

In fact, 40% of people are attracted to products which make them feel nostalgic, and examples like the vinyl trend show that people are willing to pay for this sensation. In the digital age it seems consumers are willing to go to extra lengths to own tangible and analogue products – even if they are only for show. This suggests that for some retailers and manufacturers, providing customers with an experience can be as simple as going back to basics and rewinding the clock. By embracing the most authentic and stripped back version of their product, they can in fact produce goods with a strong experiential characteristic.

This is an excerpt from our report "How does that make you feel?" about the power of consumer experiences. Get your copy of the report today, and watch the video in which Tolga Necar explains how associated experiences can give your brand a second-hand thrill. 

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Consumer Insight Director, Out of Home

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