Brian Solis is an award-winning author, blogger/writer, and futurist. His experience as principal analyst at the Altimeter Group research firm gave him wide ranging access to data, innovative technology, and business strategies that help companies connect with their customers.
His latest book, X: The Experience When Business Meets Design, makes the case that we need to move beyond just great products, creative marketing, and delightful customer experience.
We need to create meaningful experiences.
The book itself is an experience for the reader. It was designed with the intention of being surprising, engaging, and meaningful itself. The shape, the fonts, and the “chapter design,” all give the reader permission to create his/her own journey through the content.
Meaningful experiences don’t happen by accident
My favorite summer job was when I worked as a tour narrator in Washington, DC. The training was intense; we went through two weeks of learning every detail contained in a 3-inch thick binder of material.
Each morning we’d be tested on the previous nights’ assignment. We had to pass the fact memorization part of the training before we could get on the tram microphone.
The magical part of the process? There was no script.
Once we memorized all of the facts, we were responsible for weaving them into an educational, entertaining narrative for our audience of tourists on the tram. That meant that every time someone hopped on a tram, they would be getting a fresh experience, based on the specific tour narrator at that moment.
It was a complete rush for me, designing that experience on the fly, every time the tram left the station.
“Shared experiences have become a critical part of marketing.” -Brian Solis
How to create meaningful experiences for your customers
- Map your customer journeys. You need to know what they are currently experiencing before you can offer a new perspective.
- Align your organization. To deliver experiences that resonate, you’ll need to get the whole team on board. Marketing, sales, developers, everyone.
- Create a plan. Decide how you will create an “experience layer” along the entire customer journey. Be sure to avoid any disconnects between pre-sale and post-sale experience.
- Listen. The experience process isn’t static. Pay attention to the signals your customers send out along the way, to find areas where you can improve the experience.
I’d recommend this book to anyone who wants to build a business that can survive and thrive into the future, as the power shifts from brand to consumer. It’s a deep dive, but very approachable. It makes a good reference book, since you can quickly pop into the structure at any point. There is also an interactive experience online to reinforce the messages.
Does your business strategy include the experience factor? What types of experiences could you provide for your customers?
This book review was unsolicited and reflects my own opinion. I was not given a review copy of the book.