A recent article from Fast Company identifies experiential innovation—as opposed to just product innovation—as the next wave of brand differentiation. Nike, Uber, Starbucks… are these the ultimate “experience” innovators?
Fast Company says yes. I say not so much.
So, who are they then? I believe the innovators we’ll see at Natural Products Expo West next month are those brands that are redefining the consumer landscape by transforming a consumer product into something much more.
If a superior product is one that makes you feel a certain way, as the Fast Company article states, then what could better represent this innovation than products that make you feel healthier and more energetic, products that could improve and even prolong the ultimate experience: life.
For example, when I use a natural beauty product, I know that it feels good or smells good but what I really love is knowing it’s doing good for my body and ultimately my health by using only pure, natural ingredients. And, although popping a supplement pill doesn’t exactly lend a notable sensory experience, knowing that process helps support my body and my mind is, for me, a well-worth-it pleasure.
Increasingly, too, we’re seeing brands that are rooted in ancient wisdom developing forward-thinking concepts to help us understand our specific health needs (think personalized nutrition) or provide greater education on health and wellness (think content and education) efforts that enhance not only the experience but the results.
That idea of creating an experience to support a product isn’t just what makes natural brands stand out, either. It’s the differentiator for natural products retailers, which don’t just create an environment where customers purchase products, but where we purchase them because we have developed an understanding of how these products fit into our lives and support our health and wellness and that of our families.
So, when I read about this idea of experiential innovation being the wave of the future, I couldn’t agree more. But if you ask me, nothing better represents the future than preserving our health. The brands that help us do that are as innovative as they come.