Filling the disappointment gap
With less time to spare, people are going for guaranteed experiences rather than taking risks. How can we ensure they are not disappointed?
In the 1990s our time got stolen away: people were working longer hours, as a result of which they were spending more time pottering. They wanted to buy their way out of chores and quality time was being squeezed. Effectively this means that the arts are not only competing for someone’s disposable income but also for their time. This meant we started to see product propositions for those people short on time, such as the Royal Academy’s 24 hour exhibitions.
So how do arts organisations operate in this context? After all, the squeeze on time means that customers have a lack of knowledge about what we have to offer as they do not have time to find out about it.
Furthermore, they have so little time that when they do decide to spend time on something they have to be certain that they are investing their time wisely and that an activity will deliver on expectations. Finally, as time constraints make time more precious, so expectations are higher. Decisions in terms of how to spend leisure time take on an emotional importance. If other people are involved, self-confidence can also be on the line, by taking on the burden of determining how others should spend their valuable time. Disappointment of expectations results in a loss of trust. In this situation people turn increasingly to brands where there is a guaranteed offering and, effectively, a partner that the consumer can trust.