The other night, the family and I visited a local museum. As we leisurely walked through the museum, for some unknown reason the “better-judgment” part of my brain fell asleep and I let me über-rambunctious two year old out of his stroller to roam free. With his new found freedom, he quickly made a beeline for the museum’s exit. A two year old should not be able to outrun his father, but he seemed to use the crowd to his advantage (at least that is my excuse!). I caught him right before the exit door.
Hand in hand, we slowly made our way “backwards” into the museum (this particular museum has a very definite “flow” from the entrance to the exit). As a member of this particular museum, I have been through it many times. However, this was the first time that I had walked in this direction. Because of my salmon-like swim upstream, I began to notice pieces and displays that I had never noticed before. My museum experience changed and was enhanced by simply walking through the museum in a different direction.
In business, we should not be surprised and we should even encourage our customers to experience our products from unintended paths (so long as it is not illegal ). However, sometimes marketers think that “there is only one ‘true’ way to experience my product”.
Take for example, Diet Coke. While commenting on the wildly popular Diet Coke/Mentos geyser experiments, Susan McDermott, the spokeswoman for Diet Coke said “we would hope people want to drink (Diet Coke) more than try experiments with it.” She also added that the “craziness with Mentos … doesn’t fit with the brand personality” of Diet Coke. Huh? If people want to experience your product “backwards” or in ways that you as the marketer did not intend, get out of their way and let them do it!
Contrast this to another successful Internet video… Will it Blend?. By creating these videos, Blendtec led the way in showing its blender being used in unconventional ways (like trying to blend marbles into dust). After seeing these videos, a consumer can not help but think “Wow! If that blender can blend marbles, then it can certainly blend my fruit smoothie!”. A customer’s perspective of your product can be enriched as she experiences it from different and sometimes unintentional avenues.
Learn from Blendtec. Not only should you not stand in your customer’s way in experiencing your product as they choose, you should lead the way!