Shifting emotion markets in experience economy
Susanne Piët

After experimenting with the aspiration to acquire or buy happiness by means of makeable services,products and preferably productions en events, western man degraded himself to a consumer in general, demanding, greedy, materialistic and passive. More in particular man came out of this trap as a unhappy consumer, disappointed and more fearful than ever before.
What made him think he could buy happiness in the first place? The illusion had to do with misconceptions about human rights: the phrase that man has a right to happiness didnít necessary mean every day, 24 hours a day, 100 percent, and quality all over. But if you live in conviction that practically everything is makeable, you can get there:
You buy products or services that change your life, or make you young and the only doubt you are left with is, if you are happy enough, compared to standards of perfection or merely compared to others. Since you dismissed hereafter and are left with the assignment to make it here and now, happiness seems to fly away the more you chase and the worry about whether you might in the end have lived in vain grows with the days of more consumerism.
Fear is the main drive. It motivates man to seek for stimulation, diversion in basically low risk situations. Where does that come from? Man is afraid about what he might loose, afraid about his lack of control, about what as he is quite aware of, happens in the world and there is nothing he can do about it, afraid about your apparent failure in acquiring happiness even though it seemed so accessible to others, afraid of getting excluded by others, afraid because you loose control while technology promised you speed, mastery and efficiency, afraid to loose identity amongst so many peers in your species.
Fear is the general driving force in the experience economy, in consumer needs and to be exploited by the selling actors.

The state man finds himself in forces him to either stick to his attitude more firmly even (and belong tot the mainstream), or to shift his attitude and to belong to new submarkets. He becomes a more advanced consumer: He wants to be more active, he wants to invest al little bit more (of himself even), he wants to be acknowledged as an individual with his own identity, he even wants to be an emotional commodity on the market, he wants to gain significance by doing something meaningful. He focuses on probing different attitudes towards values, by discussion and gossip. Relevant themes are: good or bad, heroes and courage, beauty and authenticity, play and reality, true and false, meaningful and nonsense, facts or imagination.

All in all during this transitory period in the experience economy five markets seem to emerge:

*The mainstream market for security.
This is the market for seekers of safety en confirmation. The territory of the taste police, broadly exploited by the marketing via all kinds of media (what is wrong of good to wear, to decorate, to claim as political correct, to consume). The four wheel drive car as an armoured horse that transports the new knights from one (electronically)fortified castle tot the other. Gardens in middle eaval structure with fences and hedges. The Celebration like towns, quarters, and even floating cruise ships, the compounds where you can virtually live with the values of old times, protected against volition (no drugs, mobbing, invasion of new cultures).

*The market for authenticity.
This is the market of Rousseau: the celebration of the natural and the wild. Interior decorating with driftwood lamp stands, African primitive art, natural colours. Wild plants in the garden, combinations of vegetable gardens with flowers. Natural food. Real hospitality. Even real manmade material in unmasked forms. Plastics as plastics and not mocked wood.

*The market for romance
This is the market for the wrapping, the riddle, the magic, the story. Products and services stand for more than there naked factual being: there is provenance, there is something to be guess, there is a myth about them. Icons are mediators for the exploitation and communication of the required added value. Movies, games and other media carriers of the myth virus.

*The market for identity
In this market the consumer wants to express himself as a unique person, be recognised as such and get in contact with others. Products can be presented in individualised forms, personalised with names,own colours, forms, fragrances. Own receipies, own home decorating. In extremo he is not the consumer any more, but offers himself as a commodity on the market. Writing diaries and books, publishing via internet or mobile phone, buying and consuming with visible pay-off, offering himself as a conversation piece. The industry of image making is relevant for this consumer.

*The market for significance
Not to have lived in vain is the motive for this consumer of offers to contribute something to society. Organisations for the Good Cause, Travel Agencies, Funeral Services, Party organizers, Attraction Parks, Work mediators play in this market. The consumer can find satisfaction by contributing/ participating in benefit events, by buying travels with beneficial working in underdeveloped countries, by spending some of the working years in underpaid but meaningful activity, like health care or education, by acting out former profession in third world areas.

The markets are no descriptions of kind of people. People can shift from one market to the other, and even get their motivation or jusitification for their consumtion from different marketneeds at the same time. The vegetarian, the opponent of biotechnology, the pensionado, the rapper can be found and consequently addressed to in all markets.

Susanne Piët

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