A review of X by Lisa Petrilli
Business and marketing leaders need only hear the words, “Your customers will pay more for this,” for their interest to be piqued and attention to be grabbed. Brian Solis does a masterful job in his new book ‘X: The Experience When Business Meets Design‘ of making it clear why it’s so critical for business leaders of all types to understand how to architect superior customer experiences: because consumers (85% of them!) will pay a premium for a better experience, and because they will define your brand by how they experience it.
Consider that last sentence carefully, particularly if you are a marketing leader. Marketing executives have long held the power of crafting and defining a brand, and of controlling its message. But as Solis deftly shares through the book, “Brand message is no longer the thing that sells. Experience sells.”* So how does a company shift accordingly?
Solis introduces the concept of ‘experience architecture’ and defines it as “the art of engendering desired emotions, outcomes and capabilities throughout the customer journey…the process of strategically designing and strengthening a customer’s entire spectrum of interactions with a product or company.” This is something leaders throughout every business, from the CEO on down, need to understand and fully embrace in order to remain competitive. And to be clear, he is referring to the entirety of the customer’s experience as they interact with your company and brand, meaning this concept reaches well-beyond the concept of exceptional customer service.
For example, Solis shares how Disney – long held as the standard for ‘magical’ customer experiences – spent $1 billion identifying and eliminating all of the friction in the Disney World experience. This led to the creation of the MagicBand which not only redefines a guest’s experience, it opened up a whole new world of personalizing experiences and “recasting memories.” It’s a fascinating case study; any CEO interested in creating truly memorable experiences through his or her own company and brand should familiarize themselves with it. Because, as Solis asserts, “When experiences are at the center of how you create your products and market and sell them, extraordinary customer relationships and brand loyalty are fostered.”
Anyone who reads Solis’s blog, or has read any of his books, knows he is genuinely brilliant. What he does a remarkable job of in this book is breaking things down into clear, easy to follow “how-to’s” for marketing and customer experience teams to create solid:
- Journey Maps
- Experience Maps
- Experience Flows
I highly recommend this book to every single leader tasked with influencing the future of their company or brand in some way, shape or form. Which, in essence, means virtually every business person should be held accountable to contributing to what Solis defines as a good customer experience ecosystem: one that grabs the customers’ attention and then delights them all through their journey with you. Because if you don’t, your competitors will.