Here’s another new economy to think about – The Experience Economy. Today’s consumers and travellers are spoilt for choice. That is why destination branding is key to set a place or an attraction apart from the rest. Destination branding today has evolved into a complex process of stakeholder experience mapping with a goal of arriving at a consistent system to create and deliver value. We have seen many organisations get caught up in the pursuit of operational excellence by investing in the latest innovation or perfecting transactional touchpoints. There are a few things that are usually overlooked: firstly, the meaning and impact of experiences to customers and secondly, the internal cultural change required to achieve and sustain a new approach to the customer.
In order to provide a unique experience for customers, brands must now unite around the goal of meeting true needs by aligning functional, emotional, social and experiential value. Often, getting ahead of the game requires taking a step back for a more comprehensive outlook. Great experiential brands do not simply gather and review feedback. Instead, they gather insights by studying true feedback in real-time. For the brand, this immediacy to react gives a better measure of the intensity of emotions at their peaks and can help reveal emotional insights that can be leveraged to create better experiences.
Take Entopia for example, a brand that was elevated from its humble Penang Butterfly Farm days to bring nature’s classroom to life, offering its consumers an unparalleled destination experience supported by a compelling visual identity system and brand story. Having kickstarted its inside-out approach towards transformation with a programme of comprehensive brand audit, experience mapping, and an intensive organisation-wide soul searching and culture change, the brand grew well into its new lease of life. Internally, employees and stakeholders were armed with a renewed purpose to inspire as nature’s best advocates, to champion nature’s unsung heroes, and to mobilise a new way of living and being. For consumers, Entopia opened up the avenue to immerse oneself in a veritable ‘entomological utopia’, to overcome their phobia of insects, and to unite in a common passion and love for Mother Nature.
Since its relaunch in May, the edutainment destination has seen a remarkable increase of over 89% in visitor arrivals across the same period before and after launch.
The success of Entopia’s rebranding proves that great brands and the experiences they offer are driven by purpose, not just profit. They are about experiences and nurturing relationships, not just transactions. And they thrive through movements, not campaigns.
Mastering the concept and execution of an exceptionally good consumer experience may be daunting, but it is so essential in today’s rapidly changing business environment. As Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”