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- 24 Oct 2014
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What Did You Do This Weekend? Not What Did You Buy...


The shift from owning products to experiencing brands has arrived, explains Timothy Schepis, founder of Bluedelphia. It’s time for luxury brands to take action.

This is an observation in social media social behaviour we all can conduct on our own. Open your social channels (if they are not already open) and take a look at what your network of friends, family, colleagues, classmates, and more are posting.

More often than not they are posting about experiences rather than material possessions. Rather they are posting about an experience they have purchased rather than a physical product they have purchased.

How many times have you seen someone post photos of their vacations and trips, rock concerts, parks, their meals (I bet you see a lot of them) and even photos of stores they have visited as well as the products inside.

Rarely do you see a post about a physical item your friend or family bought, rather you see photos of the experience they purchased.

 Rarely do you see a post about a physical item your friend or family bought 

Why is that?

Researchers have shown that experiences bring more happiness to people than physical possessions. And its not just the experience of purchasing the experience but also the experience of purchasing a physical good.

Why do you think we see so many photos of people at restaurants, coffee shops, and retail stores as well as waiting in line to make a purchase – rather than the the purchase itself, excluding food, which is an experience in and of itself – the experience of eating, not a physical good.

Sure, I revel in the purchase of a new pair of Dolce & Gabbana shoes, a Prada suit or Gucci leather goods, but is it my purchase that gives me the adrenaline rush of excitement or is it the experience leading up to the purchase and the actual experience of purchasing the product itself? The research shows its the latter.

 Researchers have shown that experiences bring more happiness to people than physical possessions 

The research also goes on to show that people are actually happier waiting for an experience than waiting for a physical good they have purchased. Why? Excitement versus impatience.

Remember the time you were looking forward to going on a trip? Were you excited or impatient? And remember the time you wanted to buy the limited edition luxury (insert item name here). Again were you excited or impatient?

And not only does an experience bring more happiness to people, but other people would rather hear about your experiences than the physical goods you purchased. Why? Again research has shown that people are less likely to measure the value of their experiences by comparing them to others as they would a physical possession or an item purchased.


For the launch of its exclusive fragrance No. 14 Rossetto, Prada created an app that would allow its customers to create their own personal online artwork

What does this mean for luxury marketers?

It is time for marketers to create an experience around every purchase.These experiences can be created and implemented online, offline and integrated into online-to-offline campaigns.It can be something as simple as creating an unforgettable and enjoyable experience for people waiting in line at a store.

These experiences can be derived and promoted on social media before the experience as well as after, where people can share their experience (and if brands are lucky their actual purchase) and post it on social media where people will then like, comment, share, and retweet, the experience.

Take for example a recent online-to-offline event that took place in Tokyo. A men’s high-end shoe brand wanted to host their launch event in Japan and make it not just about the shoes but about the brand – the brand experience. The event centered around the shoes and the designer but the experience was the brand.

 Even though the shoes were center stage the event was more about the experience 

The event included a martini bar with unique and custom martini’s created specifically for the brand and the launch event, food from the designers home region in the south of Italy, a video of the brand’s lifestyle and music fitting the ambiance of the event and the brand.

Throughout the day social media was abuzz with photos of the event including the martinis and the bar, the food, the people, and oh yeah, the shoes. Even though the shoes were center stage the event was more about the experience – the brand experience.

And the experience is what attendees posted on their social media channels. It also didn’t hurt that many shoes were purchased at the event – and hardly any were posted on social media.


Customers waiting in line at the Louis Vuittion along Tsim Sha Tsui’s Canton Road

Below is another example.

How many times has a luxury brand opened a new store, launched a new product or had the designer visit the store to meet and greet customers. Each of those times there has been a line of people waiting. What if luxury brands took the line waiting experience to the next level?

First, the line itself could all be people from the social community. The product launch or new store opening could be promoted to only fans on social media following the brand. Next, the brand adds some excitement to the line waiting experience by having a contest, entertainment, giveaways or more.

The line waiting experience then gets shared online and becomes part of the brand – experience, which to the fans on social media is more important than the products that were purchased.

All customers wants a good experience, and marketers through social media have the tools of creating and sharing experiences for and around every purchase, be it an experience or physical good.

To further investigate social media marketing on Luxury Society, we invite your to explore the related materials as follows:

- The New Social Media Deal for Luxury Brands
- How to Reach China’s Young HENRYs through Social Marketing
- Are Fashion Blogs Effective Marketing Tools For Luxury Brands?


Established in Tokyo Japan, Bluedelphia is a social & digital idea agency focused on creating and implementing innovative ideas for our clients in social and digital media.