In the “Connection Economy”, we argue that one of the most important features will be a focus on creating experiences for clients. No longer can you differentiate your products from your competitors’ simply by relying on functionality, price, quality or anything intrinsic in the product/service/offering itself. You and your competitors are selling similar stuff, at the same quality, to the same customers, at similar prices, distributing through the same channels, advertising in the same media using similar techniques, and you even swap staff every few years. To differentiate yourself from your competitors you need to provide an experience linked to the purchasing moment as well as the product/service/offering itself.
A great example is Tokyo’s Epson Aqua Stadium. This new aquarium is not designed for children. Opened in April, next to the Shinagawa Prince Hotel in one of Tokyo’s prime business districts, this upmarket complex targets board office workers and includes facilities that are designed to lure the adults throughout the day – slick restaurants, cafe bar, a concert hall, bowling alley, movies, and a fully equipped aquarium with underwater walkways. There is no attempt to impart knowledge as is usual in aquariums – there are no signboards, no scientific names, no guidebooks – the focus is just on looking at the fish and enjoying the beauty. And it is open from midday till just before midnight. Right next door there is a roller coaster – a clear indication of which generations this particular attraction is aimed at.
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