Harvard Business Review recently asked 4,500 U.S. consumers about 134 unique brands in five different industries to learn about a broad range of ongoing purchase behavior, drivers of customer sentiment, drivers of spending behavior, and more.
Their analysis found three notable trends.
First, they found a positive correlation between both frictionless and memorable experiences and consumers’ sentiment and spending behavior. So, what are frictionless and memorable businesses? Frictionless businesses deliver hassle-free encounters like Amazon. Memorable businesses deliver choreographed, immersive customer journeys, like Disney.
Second, they found that those relationships varied by industry. Neither of these findings are that unexpected.
The third finding, however, is: At a certain point, there are zero-sum gains when pursuing both frictionless and memorable experiences as a competitive strategy. Businesses can only grow so much by following a joint strategy of being both frictionless and memorable. To grow beyond that point, businesses must choose to focus on one or the other–to be either increasingly frictionless or increasingly memorable.
It implies that all businesses compete on a continuum of being predominately frictionless to being predominately memorable. There is a give and take, and a strategy that employs both has diminishing returns. The study goes on to highlight how some businesses and Brands get in trouble because the shift back and forth negatively impacting the customer experience. They argue that businesses should instead embrace their fundamental characteristics and subsequently plot their best course of action for improving customer experience, and financial outcomes, according to their brand DNA.
The path to winning in business has remained constant even if the strategies for achieving it over time have changed: Make sure that your customers want to keep coming back.