The old-fashioned markers of affluence such as flash cars and designer clothes have become so accessible that they are no longer relevant to today’s consumer.
The new ‘experience economy’ has had a drastic impact on the indicators of status. Social media, in its many facets is the platform that encourages and allows the consumer to earn status points. Instagram allows us to peer, voyeuristically into other people’s lives and the more exciting and exclusive these are, the more interest they attract.
There has been a shift in thinking from the internet being a source of information, to a source of exploration and experience.
This in turn has influenced a ‘Virtual Experience Economy’.
This trend recognises the ability to create status through online or virtual experiences. By having access to the latest digital advancements, such as AI and VR consumers can be one step ahead.
The virtual status currency became apparent across mainstream consumerism when the Pokémon Go app proved that there was a demand for digital experience. The game, which was accessible through a smart phone became a platform for status display, social connection and creativity.
So how can brands engage their consumers and create a virtual experience economy?
- Create an intense experience - like bungee jumping or skydiving, experiences that take fortitude become a status currency.
- Create an immersive experience - this is not about winning, but about exploration. Like travelling in the real world, this encourages the consumer to be involved in the experience and share with their peers.
- Create a creative experience - empower consumers to create and more importantly, share.
Virtual experience can be as exciting, as interesting and as enviable as real life experiences. Digital experiences will quickly develop a status weight equal to real life experience and in the infinite virtual world, the usual limitations of cost, accessibility and personal capability no longer apply to experience, making time the only scarcity.