During the pre-Diwali cleaning at home, Bhavana (my wife) brought down from one of the storage compartments many of our son Abhishek’s firsts: his first shawl, his first set of clothes, the first toys, the first books. Each of them brought back memories – still images of a world I had almost forgotten. (Abhishek is now 17 years old.) Many moments from my past life flashed by – playing with Abhishek, reading to him, wrapping him up in that towel after a bath.
Another afternoon around the same time, I was clearing up a lot of old magazines at home from 2018-2020. Many cover stories brought back memories, especially the political ones when I was working on Nayi Disha.
And then, I got an email from Dan Heath (sent to his mailing list) to a webinar about his book, “The Power of Moments.”
All this, as I was putting the finishing touches to my IAMAI and ET Martech Asia presentations on the coming Martech era.
And that is when it struck me: Martech 1.0 was about transactions, Martech 2.0 is about Moments. Moments are upstream of transactions. Moments are what capture our attention, drive our engagement, and make up our habits. And moments are where microns, micronbox and the µniverse work their magic.
Think about the moments we remember in our engagement with brands. The “It’s a Small World” ride at Disneyland. Sitting in the cockpit and watching the tricky landing at Hong Kong airport. The always welcoming smiles at Shangri-La Apartments in Singapore. Visiting Swati Snacks at Nariman Point for the first time after the pandemic and being greeted by the manager. When we sit and start to think, many moments will flash by. Some joyful, others not so.
Dan and Chip Heath write that a “defining moment” is one that is meaningful and memorable. They are the ones that endure in our memories. Such moments comprise one of more of four elements: elevation, insight, pride and connection.
ELEVATION: Defining moments rise above the everyday. They provoke not just transient happiness, like laughing at a friend’s joke, but memorable delight.
INSIGHT: Defining moments rewire our understanding of ourselves or the world. In a few seconds or minutes, we realize something that might influence our lives for decades.
PRIDE: Defining moments capture us at our best—moments of achievement, moments of courage.
CONNECTION: Defining moments are social: weddings, graduations, baptisms, vacations, work triumphs, bar and bat mitzvahs, speeches, sporting events. These moments are strengthened because we share them with others.
They add: “When people assess an experience, they tend to forget or ignore its length—a phenomenon called “duration neglect.” Instead, they seem to rate the experience based on two key moments: (1) the best or worst moment, known as the “peak”; and (2) the ending. Psychologists call it the “peak-end rule.” … What’s indisputable is that when we assess our experiences, we don’t average our minute-by-minute sensations. Rather, we tend to remember flagship moments: the peaks, the pits, and the transitions.”
They elaborate in an interview in Forbes: “Great experiences hinge on “peak” moments. Think of the way you might recall a vacation to Disney World. You don’t tend to remember the long lines and the sweatiness and the irritability. You remember the special moments: The adrenaline rush after riding Space Mountain. Or the time your kid beamed with delight because Goofy gave him a hug. Those peak moments dominate our memory of the experience. But those moments don’t make themselves! To improve the experience of others, we must create moments that matter.”
So, when brands think of experiences, they should think of creating defining moments – “peak” moments. And this is where they can get help from martech’s magicians.