right left

A Car. A Ship. A Plane.

When traveling there are various vehicles that can take you (singlehandedly or as a combination of these) to any place on our planet. Every company operates in different dimensions. Some make their money selling products, some offer services and others (by far the smallest fraction at the moment) offer real-life experiences.

The car.

Every company has its core business that it was founded and based on that drives the numbers concerning sales and revenue. Nike, has produced shoes and shirts in the billions for decades, expanding their brand all over the planet. The consumer willingly pays because, in return, he/she will get a product to hold in their hand, to decorate themselves with, to serve a physical purpose and thereby enrich their lives.

The plane.

When companies provide services their customers see enough advantage in the benefit that the service brings that they are willing to pay for it. Asksundays. com is a good example by putting more time on their customers hands by doing tasks for their customers (such as making appointments, researching stuff, etc.)

The ship.

Providing a customer with real life experiences is a business that can take the most distinctive forms. When you look at a live concert, technically the performer provides a service that the customer pays for (the playing). But what is more important is that the customer really pays for the experience (and the possibilities). Being able to meet likeminded people, arguing which band is more underground, the prospect of meeting your future girl- or boyfriend. Businesses can be based on any of these three vehicles in order to reach their customers. The point that I am trying to make is that when you use two vehicles you can get exponential growth in customer satisfaction and therefore -base. In the past this has mainly been bundling products with services (ipod+itunes). It is important here to see that your means of transport are compatible and you can leverage existing infrastructures.

This is part of the problem that Microsoft has had in the past. They did launch an enormous amount of new “vehicles” but they were not compatible with each other. Take Microsoft Earth, Zune, Halo3 - this is not to say that all “single” vehicles are doomed to failure, in fact Halo3 was a huge success, but imagine the impact it would have had if it had integrated real “Earth-Maps” in the game and could be played on the Zune on the go. And I am not only talking about the gain for Halo3 but for every single one of these components. We have seen successful integration of products and services in the past decade in various examples from Amazon to Nike. What is the next step to stay ahead of the curve?
It is the new combination of vehicles, mostly including a real-life experience part that bonds the customer emotionally with the brand.

Companies will not make much money from their plane and will probably lose money on their ship (real-life experience), but the ship will ultimately become one of the mayor reasons why the customer buys the company’s core product. It is an investment in the company’s credibility that will be responsible a great deal for customer loyalty.

Coming back to the vehicles - metaphor, Facebook is pretty much a Airbus 380. But when Facebook is expanding in all directions across the web, it is launching more airplanes. Still there is not a single car or ship in their company that would take them to all the places their planes can’t go.
One of the reasons more and more people are suffering from Facebook-fatigue is that up until now they were not able to draw any tangible benefits from it. Going to products or real-life experiences will be an important step in their future.

In all likelihood, customers will not go any place that your company can go, but it will stay loyal to that company that offers the most holistic experience, offers the most possible destinations.



Maximilian Kiener . 2013.