Although I live in England, I am not a tea drinker. My qualm isn’t with putting milk in tea (which by the way, Brits think is perfectly normal and think the rest of the world is crazy not to), I just never enjoyed the taste of it.
Yet, a few weeks ago, I spent a mere £70, just short of $100, on tea. Worst of all: I am very happy that I overspent like that.
How could I be happy about what would seem like nothing short of daylight robbery?
The answer is pretty straightforward. I didn’t buy tea. I bought an experience.
I argue that there are only two things that genuinely matter in business transactions: solving a problem (in the broadest sense, anything worth exchanging money to solve) and memories.
Usually, people speak of customer experience, which is accepted by most as being the perception that customers have of their interactions, direct or indirect, with an organisation.
I go one step further. I don’t believe perception is the right thing to look at. Instead, I focus on memory. Because here’s the kicker.
No one has ever made a decision on the back of an outstanding customer experience. Not a single living soul.
What they do make decisions about, however, is the memories they have of past interactions (and that is a huge distinction).
Memories form part of who we are, how we see the world and give us a shared understanding of the world with our loved ones — which is why dementia and related ailments are so heartbreaking and devastating. We are our memories.
Memories drive our future decision-making. I call this Memory as a Currency (MaaC).
Done right, engineering your experiences to be memorable not only reduce price sensitivity in consumers and clients, it also leads to profitable behaviours later down the line, such as advocacy, gifting, loyalty and so on.
Talking of price sensitivity?
I spent £70 on tea. A drink I don’t even drink myself.
But the tea was just a pretext for an experience. A convenient excuse. Because what I did buy into was an immersive themed tea brewing experience.
The entire experience was themed around the fantastic world of wizardry (and heavily implying it was Harry Potter inspired but as there was no licensing agreement of any shape or form, a huge disclaimer met us about it as we walked in).
I didn’t go for tea. I went for them telling us our magic wand will help us brew a magical tea and other options.
I went for the wand to choose its wizard, not the other way around.
I went for the Dragon Egg, sitting atop complimentary snacks that came along the teas.
I went for all the magic spells our wands were capable of, such as illuminating the dragon egg with a wand whirl.
What is the lesson here? Memory is a Currency!
Not every story needs a lesson, but fortunately, mine has one to impart.
The reality is that I went there for the memory, to be able to recall and talk about with my better half and to others about our amazing magical experience in that wizards’ pub.
It didn’t matter if it was tea, rhum, rhubarb, or a vegan pizza. What mattered was a fully immersive universe where we felt we were magically gifted, where the staff was fully bought into that universe they invited us in and just for a few hours, we could imagine a life of magic.
At that moment, seeing how great we were at wizardry, we knew Hogwarts did miss out when their letter never made it to us.
Oh well… at least The Cauldron Edinburgh didn’t miss out on eye-watering margins with our visit.
Oh… and by the way, they then upsold us on tailored-to-our-personalities 3D printed wands, which in themselves costed more than the tea.
They are harnessing Memory as a Currency in their business model, and few things are as valuable as memories.
Those are a clever bunch of wizards, they must be laughing their way to Gringotts as we speak!