MBA Perspectives: 'Big Design' is an exclusive AMA series examining customer experience design.
Emma affectionately gazed at the new charm on her bracelet, the Eiffel Tower, as she flew back home. Unable to resist the urge, she had also purchased a Safari charm at the Paris Pandora store. Now playing with it, she smiled as she pictured herself exploring the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania. Meanwhile, at Milan’s Pandora store, Anna and her parents eagerly scanned the showcases for the perfect charm to celebrate her acceptance into her dream school – York University’s Schulich School of Business. “I think you should go with the Brighton Lipstick Charm! It’s perfect for an aspiring business woman like you,” said the charming salesperson. Like many women, Emma and Anna have figured out the ideal way of expressing their deepest interests and aspirations: through Pandora charms.
Since its inception in 1982, Pandora has increasingly become the brand of choice for women to help celebrate unforgettable moments, express their individuality, and aspire to become better. What makes Pandora so captivating is that its charms are more than fashion statements; they are a reflection of aspirations, interests, and memories that help form a unique identity. We often feel a disconnect between our current and ideal self, a gap Pandora’s charms aim to bridge by helping women visualize their unique identity through phrases like “the creative type” and “romantic rebel.” Its recent ad campaign, “The Art of You”, engages women with the question, “Who will you create today?”, and suggests the perfect charm to match their answers. The bracelets on which the charms are attached serve as physical photo albums and diaries of dreams, giving women the creative license to uniquely express their ideal self.
In order to design a holistic customer experience, Pandora adopted the principles of brand experience, defined in an influential article in the Journal of Marketing by J. Jsko Brakus, Brend H. Schmitt, and Lia Zarantonello (2009, 52) as “sensations, feelings, cognitions, and behavioural responses evoked by brand-related stimuli that are part of a brand’s design and identity, packaging, communications, and environments.” Here are a few tips from the article that can help brands foster a lasting relationship with consumers:
1. Enhance the Consumers’ Product Experience: For Brakus, Schmitt, and Zarantonello (2009, 52), “product experiences occur when consumers interact with products.” Pandora’s “The Art of You” campaign helped the company connect its customers with its charms through both physical and virtual interactions. Brands can therefore enhance their customers’ product experience by ensuring that when they search for, and evaluate, the product, the desired judgements and attitudes are felt, thus encouraging purchase intent.
2. Heighten the Shopping and Service Experience: According to the authors (2009, 53), these experiences “occur when a consumer interacts with a store’s physical environment, its personnel, and its policies and practices.” Pandora’s in-store ambience heightens the overall shopping and service experience - right from the neatly packed signature boxes to the helpful store associates who eagerly suggest charm(s) to complement customer stories and enthusiastically share stories with customers about their own bracelets. As part of Pandora’s in-store experience design to help women feel inspired, the look and feel of their stores include soft panel backdrops and perfectly lit showcases, with simple design instructions for customization. Brands should ensure that, when customers enter the store, they are inspired by its physical layout and the personnel’s superior customer-centric attitude. This will inspire customers and drive brand loyalty.
3. Consumption Experience: Finally, according to Brakus, Schmitt and Zarantonello (2009), consumption experiences occur when consumers actually consume and use the product, and are often multidimensional and hedonic experiences. Pandora’s signature consumption experience lies in its ability to evoke feelings like love and happiness, fantasies like becoming a successful businesswoman, and fun like trips to dream destinations. Similarly, brands should ensure that their products help customers envision themselves experiencing one or more of these three f’s (feelings, fantasies, and fun), so that their interaction with a product is memorable.