Do we want to buy things or experiences?

Posted in My Blog

I once read about the value of experiences in a person’s life, and how the desire to live one takes you to make decisions to buy one or another product to achieve it. This is something important to analyze as designers: Do we want to buy things or do we want to buy experiences?

A simple example: You saved a lot of money to buy some gadget in particular, and finally you have, you feel emotion and happiness. On the other hand, you saved a lot of money to travel to some exotic country for a couple of weeks, and finally you are there, you live it, and you feel excitement and happiness.

The question is: Are emotions and happiness the same for both events? What happens after two, three years?

We easily realize that the experiences endure, are unique events that mark a moment of our lives. Buying a cell phone or computer can be exciting at first, but it is something that becomes routine and simply fades by the habit to become part of the day to day. In conclusion, experiences bring greater happiness than possessions.

Experiences bring greater happiness than possessions

Experiences tend to make people happier because it is more difficult to measure the value of an experience by comparing it with others. Even if there is some bad experience like getting lost somewhere, or going to the beach and bumping into a storm, little by little time takes care of taking the experience with humor, which makes it so special.

In such situations, one tries to take advantage of it. Or at least it can become a funny anecdote later.

In such situations, one tries to take advantage of it. Or at least it can become a funny anecdote later.

On the other hand, a bad experience with a product like an iPhone that crashes does not bring in the short or long term any positive feeling.

"Right in the pockets ..."

“Right in the pockets …”

If material emotion does not last, how do brands remain relevant?

Products have worked as drivers of experiences that are meaningful in our lives. We have seen it in the way it is promoted. It is not a car, but the places you can go with it.This is not an iPhone, but the things you can achieve with it.

Another example, now personal:
My goal and the reason for my savings this year was to go up to the Preikestolen (or Pulpit Rock) in Norway. A cliff 600 meters high located in one of the fjords of that country, Lysefjord.

But he did not have the right shoes to climb to that place, so he had to buy some comfortable boots to support the tour and enjoy the trip. Believe me, walking for hours with uncomfortable shoes is a martyrdom.

That’s how I bought a Caterpillar boot, but not because I thought I wanted just those boots, but because I had a clear objective of how I wanted to enjoy the experience I was about to live. The boots were not the target, but the medium.

The brand became relevant to me not because I wanted their product, but wanted to make the most of my experience.

The brand became relevant to me not because I wanted its product, but wanted to make the most of my experience.

Once I achieved my goal and was at the top of the Preikestolen, simply the experience was being marked as a watershed in my life. Indirectly, I now have a perception of the brand thanks to the experience I experienced.

Sitting on the bank of the Preikestolen.

Sitting on the bank of the Preikestolen.

As people, I recommend buying experiences instead of just buying things. As director of one of the best design agency in San Francisco designer, you have to think about how our products or services contribute to these experiences.