Experiences, not things


Have you noticed that people don’t buy things anymore?
This is not a comment on how the rising cost of living has reduced our purchasing power, nor a suggestion that there is less consumerism than previously. It’s a simple observation that we don’t buy things, we buy experiences.


This is particularly noticeable in the world of hospitality, where holidays are now sold as “adventure packages”, with local encounters and activities, and restaurants offer authentic cuisine in heritage-style settings. But it doesn’t stop there.

Shopping centres and high streets are no longer about the purchase of necessary items, but about the activity add-ons: the cafés and children’s play areas, the pop-up shops and on-the-spot service kiosks, the bowling alleys and cinemas. A television programme is incomplete without the behind-the-scenes making-of extras, the merchandise, the sequels, prequels and spin-offs.

As well as the “experience” aspect of our purchases, brands allow us to self-identify as members of a particular tribe.

We don’t simply buy food any more: we buy nutrition, health and well-being, ecological consciousness and sustainability. When it comes to buying clothes, we aren’t just buying garments; we buy comfort, designer labels, and style. We don’t buy cars, we buy prestige, safety, technological wizardry, and environmental responsibility.

To keep up with this tendency, brands are competing to create and promote distinct, recognisable personalities that reflect their values, while providing the unique experience their target customers want to engage with. The aim is to inspire emotion and turn customers into fans, brand champions and advocates.


As well as the “experience” aspect of our purchases, brands allow us to self-identify as members of a particular tribe. We don’t need to state our beliefs and attitudes, as the labels we flaunt do that for us. The social values, environmental impact and local engagement of the supply chain are now an integral part of a company’s offering and vital to its public story.

On a global scale, we have the growth of international names and the apparently limitless reach and interaction of social media. But there is also huge potential for local collaborations, partnerships and networks that extend the offering of individual independent brands and create a sense of community.

At your next marketing strategy meeting, it’s worth making time to think about your business offering and what you are doing – and what you could do – to create the kind of experience and community your customers will want to engage with again and again.

Everybody wants to protect their own tribe, whether they are right or wrong.
― Charles Barkley

At Tantamount we use well-chosen words, careful design, and interactive storytelling techniques to create an emotional connection that encourages clients and colleagues to engage directly in your brand experience. Why not give us a call on 0798 661 3437?