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The value of shared experiences

Emily Sheen

Senior Strategist



Let’s get together

The value of shared experiences


“Brand experience” has become a catch-all term to describe everything from consumer-brand interaction in store to a sponsored event or usage of a brand’s own app. In the West especially, many such experiences consist of private interactions between the brand and the consumer. Without adaptation, this liberal definition of brand experience lacks the emphasis that Indonesia, like many Asian markets, places on the collective over the individual.

Indeed, Indonesia’s leading brands all ensure their experiences encourage sharing and interaction with others on a personal level. Unilever sauce brand Bango hosts an annual food festival in Jakarta with great success, bringing people together to exchange dishes. Noodle brand Indomie unites the nation through product and experience, from Instagrammable exhibitions at Haluuworld to streetwear lines in collaboration with the Goods Department and internet memes deriding Indonesia’s diverse Indomie “religions” – groups all loyal to their own way of cooking the noodle.

Yet “whether we eat or not doesn’t matter, as long as we’re together”, the Javanese proverb proclaims. To be successful in Indonesia, brands must ensure togetherness sits at the heart of their brand experience.

Here are five ways in which brands can channel the power of “we” in their experiences:

  1. Co-creation

Demand for product personalization may be perceived as individualistic, but savvy brands understand enjoyment is heightened when consumers can connect with each other in the process. Louis Vuitton recently held workshops in Singapore where people could personalize their own iconic luggage tags, in a workshop-style environment with experts and friends.

  1. Share, Share, Share

Indonesians average over three hours per day on their smartphones, more than any other nationality. So when it comes to brand experience, they will be looking for ways to digitally connect with others throughout. “Nothing is more powerful than building a tribe, and that is what happens at a live event,” says Andy Cunningham, a member of the Freeman Design Council. When designing any brand experience, never forget to weave in ways consumers can digitally share the moment with their “tribe”.

  1. Part of a Movement

If you’re proposing a solo experience, virtual tracking may allow users to compare their journey with others – whether it’s a competition or a series of photos, the key is to make people feel part of something bigger. Milo’s fitness activation in Vietnam allowed children to race on three neighboring treadmills, and compete on a leader board with all previous participants.

  1. People Power

Online shopping is on the increase, but even internet giants such as Amazon are realizing the opportunities bricks-and-mortar stores create for brand experience. If the majority of your customers buy online, how can you physically unite them, so they feel part of a shopper community? Mall activations are a great place to start.

  1. It’s Better with Friends

Indonesians most willingly engage with experiences whilst in the company of friends and family: the joy of sharing with others means they’re more open to new, unfamiliar things. Design your experiences in a way that facilitates group participation.

However, you encourage people to experience your brand, invite them to experience it together and it will enrich engagement on both sides, with mutual benefits. Mari bergotong royong!