This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

September 21, 1999

Experience Junkies

101 days until January 1, 2000

We are becoming experience junkies. We seek new experiences everywhere and anywhere. Boredom is our enemy, and we will go to great lengths and pay our hard-earned money to avoid it.

We seek exciting foods. Have you noticed that foods have become spicier lately? There are two reasons for this trend: first, as we age, our taste buds wear out, too; it takes more spice to affect them. Aging Boomers are a major food consumption group. Second, those who like spicy foods are demanding their victuals ever spicier. In fact, there are some restaurants where chili powder rules. Practically everything on their menus is spicy.

We seek excitement in our entertainment. Comedy has become more risqué; movies have become more violent and action-packed. Sitcoms have to be funnier than ever before or they won't survive. Even television commercials are now mini-experiences It's no accident that newspapers are now printed in color.

We seem to want to fill up every waking moment with experience. Witness the new DVD players available for in-flight rental. No, this innovation is not being promoted by the airlines, but rather a new company called InMotion Pictures. We found them in the Philadelphia airport recently. For only $10 per day, you rent the player with headphones and one movie. Choose from almost 200 movies rated from G to R. Though InMotion is currently available only on a limited basis, the company will be expanding into more cities soon.

We seek experience in our shopping as well. Our local back care store offers lectures for taking care of bad backs. The mega-bookstores have discovered that they sell more books when they offer seminars and book-signings. Retailers that will succeed will add value by offering customers information, social opportunities, free gifts, and other reasons to shop there.

What will this trend do for the labor market? We'll see a new job title: Experience Designer. Performance artists are good candidates: they understand the value of experiences and know how to create interesting and exciting ones. Their emergence in retailing will establish an intriguing connection between the arts and retailing.

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