Being there matters.
Posted on April 4th, 2013
The evolution of technology and its ability to keep us connected, informed and entertained is amazing and awesome. We see and share more than ever before. YouTube, iTunes, TiVo, On-Demand, social media, Skype, smart phones, GoPro, Google Glasses and of course, SportsCenter – they let us stand on the sidelines from 3,000 miles away. We watch what we want, when we want. We see the world through the lens of a skydiver plummeting toward the Earth. We have instant, front-row access to everything. Anytime we want it.
It’s just like being there. Except it’s not.
For all the wonderful ways technology is used to enrich and connect us, there is also a cheapening of the experience that happens when it is secondhand, remote or time-shifted, and it’s easy to lose sight of that in the face of infinite access and connectedness. Being at the game is more powerful than watching it on TV, and watching it on TV when it happens is more powerful than watching it the next day. We are more emotionally connected to things we experience directly, or at least in real time.
Highlight reels don’t put you on the edge of your seat – but watching the game at a bar where every play causes a ripple through the crowd does. The things we can touch and taste and smell, the moments that get our pulse racing, these are the experiences that we connect with.
For brands, this puts a lot of responsibility on not only finding ways for customers to experience a product, event or service directly, but also on making sure that experience is high-touch and impactful. The test drive matters. The packaging matters. The design of the retail experience matters. It all matters.
Technology helps close the gap, but nothing trumps being there.
Take a walk into a Nespresso store. The decor, the smells and the service provide a richness that is very hard for a website to replicate. Brands should seize the chance to deliver a sensory experience that triggers an emotional one. Make it high-fidelity.
You don’t get true loyalty by showing someone a video of a skydiver. You get it by jumping out of the plane with them.