Experiences, not brands, draw consumers

A closing down sale at a shop at 631 Bedok Reservoir Road on Oct 15, 2018.
A closing down sale at a shop at 631 Bedok Reservoir Road on Oct 15, 2018.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

It is not surprising that consumers are less loyal to brands than in the past (Consumers less loyal to brands now, survey finds, June 26).

This is not because brands have changed - consumer expectations have.

While in the past we were all looking for certain functionalities (taste in chocolate, whitening in toothpaste, and so on), these are no longer enough to command loyalty, given that there are many alternatives and switching is easy.

For big ticket items like mobile phones or cars, the brand was important because it allowed us to make a statement about ourselves, our status and achievements.

Today, consumers are less keen to impress their peers but are looking for experiences - new, unusual tastes, swimming with sharks, learning to make xiao long bao (steamed pork dumplings).

These experiences stay with consumers long after the product or service has been enjoyed, and they allow consumers to share them with friends and followers on social media.

Experiences are clearly the new luxury - brands that realise this will command loyalty in future, but only if they stay fresh and keep reinventing themselves.

Jorg Dietzel