Experience Is More Valuable Than Stuff: Even Old-School Companies Can Freshen Up With This On-Trend Strategy

You’ve heard me talk a lot about how experience is everything to millennials, and in today’s environment unique experiences are the ultimate currency. In fact, three-quarters of today’s millennials would choose to spend their money on an experience rather than buying something, according to a study by Eventbrite and Harris.

That’s why I encourage employers to offer their employees as many experiences as they can, whether it’s through non-traditional learning opportunities, apprenticeship situations, creative recruiting events or one of my new faves, “Fancy Fridays.

To get your wheels turning, I thought it might be helpful to point you to some brands that are diving into the experience pool, and share some of the cool things that consumer companies — even those that don’t have the panache of an Apple or Tesla — are doing to provide those all-important experiences.

#Analog Grabs Millennials’ Interest at Hot SXSW Festival

“How does a physical greeting card company make its presence known at a digital conference [SXSW]? American Greetings created #analog, a space that took many digital things we do today and turned them into real-world experiences. … Instead of taking selfies, an artist at the “stichie” station was using a sewing machine to stitch needle and thread portraits of attendees. … Across from him, American Greetings copywriters and lettering artists were helping attendees create custom greeting cards for whomever they wanted. There was also a station dedicated to taking Polaroids of digital images, so that the physical picture could be sent in a greeting card to a loved one.” —  Read more at CNBC.com.

Anticipation Can Be An Integral Part of the Fun

“[JetBlue’s] latest offering came in the form of giant posters scattered around New York. Customers were invited, through posts on Facebook and Twitter, to peel down these posters, which revealed gift vouchers hidden underneath for the customer to “steal.” The 185 lucky winners got free flight vouchers, basketball tickets, or ice cream –  some even got a personal visit from a JetBlue crewmember. Those who weren’t quite as lucky received light-hearted messages like “Snooze You Lose” and “Takers Gonna Take”. … JetBlue created an exciting, fully-immersive experience for those bold enough to rip away their posters. Imagine the thought process before tearing the poster down, and the excitement each customer felt when they realized that they had won!” —  Read more at Sprinklr.com.

Immerse Millennials in the Experience You’re Offering

“Kit & Ace, an activewear brand, has opened a shop in New York that doubles as a community table. London’s Late Night Chameleon Café (LN-CC) is not a café, but an appointment-only boutique/private events space. Bonobos’ GuideShops are made for showrooming. … When it comes to a lifestyle experience, there is no confusion around what Warby Parker, LN-CC or Kit & Ace stand for: All of them sell distinctive lifestyles and use their physical settings to articulate what they are about.”—  Read more at AdAge.com.

Establish a Unique Ritual To Differentiate Your Company

“Create on-brand rituals that customers associate with their stay with you. For example, a trait of the Banyan Tree Resorts is to leave a little locally made, handcrafted gift as part of the turn-down service rather than the ubiquitous chocolate. Not only does this create a little moment of surprise but also serves to highlight their support for the local community and the environment.” —  Read more at Branding Strategy Insider.

What’s a cool experience you could provide to your employees this summer? I’d love to hear below!

Lindsey Pollak is the leading voice on millennials in the workplace, trusted by global companies, universities, the world’s top media outlets — and, most importantly, by millennials themselves. A New York Times bestselling author, Lindsey began her career as a dorm RA in college and has been mentoring millennials — and explaining them to other generations — ever since. Her keynote speeches have audiences so engaged that, in the words of one attendee, “I didn’t check my phone once!” to discuss a speaking engagement for your organization.

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Lindsey is a globally recognized career and workplace expert and the leading voice on generational diversity. She has spoken for more than 300 audiences including Google, Goldman Sachs, Estee Lauder, Stanford and Wharton. Lindsey is the author of four career and workplace advice books, and her insights have appeared in media outlets including The TODAY Show, CNBC, NPR, the Harvard Business Review and the Wall Street Journal.


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