By Nicola McCullough, Alex Culvin, Gordon Fletcher & Alex Fenton
As we consume less things, we seek out more experiences. There is a growing trend for people to spend money on experiences not things. This movement away from the pivotal importance of purchasing and owning things can be described as the rise of the Experience Economy. Only in the Experience Economy could ownership of an item be assessed solely on the basis of whether it ‘sparks joy’ and then have an entire Netflix series (Tidying Up) based around repeatedly asking this one question. However, the makings of the Experience Economy can be identified in much earlier academic work. For example, Future Shock (Toffler and Toffler, 1970) discusses,
how the economy is being created geared to the provision of psychic gratification, that a process of “psychologization” finds place and humans will strive for a better quality of life.
The critical theory perspective offered by Guy DeBord (Society of the Spectacle, 1967) also opens with the observation that,
In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles.
The democratisation of air travel with cut-price airline operators, the freewheeling second Summer of Love, the rise of diverse and niche music festivals, boutique hotels, specialist retailers who are a destination, new formats for old sports, including 20/20 cricket and 7-a-side rugby, as well as new participatory sport events such as ‘tough mudders‘ have built ‘psychic gratification’ and ‘spectacles’ into increasingly sophisticated and compelling moments that define the current Experience Economy. These many examples reveal that what constitutes the Experience Economy is dynamic, fluid and forward facing in ways that heavily shape our entire economy.
As business, society, economics and politics shift so does the Experience Economy.
Young people (particularly millennials) are driving this wide-ranging change in perspective. By placing greater emphasis on the value of being involved in specific experiences, rather than obtaining material possessions, the priorities of businesses must also continuously adapt. Investing in the opportunity to create experiences will be critical to any post-pandemic economic recovery and will increasingly shape what ‘we’ do. At Salford Business School, we aim to give our students the best opportunity to excel in the shifting Experience Economy.
Millennials and Generation Z embrace digital media devices as pivotal tools in their work, academic and social lives. This broad engagement with devices that can be both receiver and sender of media also reflects the ‘demotic turn’, where everyone sits on both sides of the broadcast media supply chain as consumer and producer. This relationship has a long history, but it sums up the connection between trends in the Experience Economy and young people.
New figures show we are continuing to spend less money on buying things, and more on doing things – and telling the world about it online afterwards, of course. From theatres to pubs to shops, businesses are scrambling to adapt to this shift – The Guardian
Many young people, and in particular those who seek to influence others, are spending increasing amounts of time and money carefully choosing locations in order to curate a fabulous and substantial Instagram and TikTok social media followings. These professional profiles often focus on lifestyle experiences, fashion, socialising and travel. Cameras and social media merge the Experience Economy with the demotic turn. This means that having an experience is not confined to being only a personal one, but an important part of creating an online identity. Having an experience is not complete for many unless they also share it online with friends, family and followers.
The Experience Economy transforms consumer experience. The personalisation of all we do, see and interact with, and how this elevates our senses presents new challenges to service sector businesses. And there are many ways that this change is being experienced.
The first is memorability. The heightened emotions during the current crisis make this a period where lasting memories are going to be made. People will recall brands that were authentic in their care and humanity and found ways to adapt their experiences to customers’ changing needs.
Transformation is indeed another. This will go beyond the current focus on personalisation, to brands having a genuine link to people’s lives, aspirations and dreams – many of which will be different after COVID-19. People will expect brands to adapt, understand what is now important, and provide experiences that have a lasting and positive impact on their lives.
And last, but not least, Sustainability. The pandemic has reminded the whole world that there is more to life than material possessions and has demonstrated what is possible when we act collectively.” – Dr Susanne O’Gorman
Pine and Gilmore defined four different types of experiences: Escapist, Entertaining, Educational and Aesthetic. People can actively seek out experiences (such as going to a concert or a football match) or people can passively – even unintentionally – receive an experience (such as an unsuspected event outside your normal daily routine). We can pull experiences to ourselves or they can be pushed to us.
Further categoration of the variety of experiences is possible between formal economic activities that aim to deliver experiences to people who pay directly or indirectly for them (Sundbo and Sorenson, 2013) in contrast to informal activities that are an unexpected side-effect or consequence of other economic activities. This range of distinction can be summarised as the difference in the experience of a taxi driver who memorably entertains you by singing your favourite songs in contrast to them then delivering you to a restaurant where you experience a once-in-a-lifetime sampling menu with your family.
According to Pine and Gilmore in 1999, experiences are “events that engage the individual in a personal way.” Experiences are set on a stage that caters to the individual consumer through a specific combination of goods and services in ways that have lasting impact and memorability. They are intangible and bespoke on every level.
At Salford Business School, we are ‘doing’ the Experience Economy with the development of modules that engage our students in industry. Experiencing the world of work during a course of study is the type of informal activity mentioned above. It is vital that students observe and engage with such concepts to ensure the applied nature of their understanding is capitalised upon.
The Experience Economy crosses, and even ignores, disciplinary boundaries. It is part of, and relevant to, sport, retailing, fashion, cultural and creative industries, marketing, any digital ‘user’ experience, operations management, events management and production, sustainability, tourism and all aspects of arts and media.
As such a disrepector of previous categories that are more suited to the discussion of goods or services, there are opportunities for the most ambitious to shape themselves as ‘experience entrepreneurs’ or ‘experience innovators’ by taking on the assumptions built into roles and disciplines that were shaped during different times and with different types of economic priorities. The Experience Economy is a hybrid of what has come before but it is also a reflection of how we want to ‘do’ now. Moving to a post Covid world, the Experience Economy will become the default to many across the service sector – those working, consuming or simply engaging with it.
Contact us for more information and to discuss ways to collaborate further to explore these topics.
Today, firms within supply chains operate in a turbulent and uncertain environment susceptible to disruption. The intention to understand how firms could manage disruptions and build supply chain resilience in order to mitigate the impact of disruptions has been at the forefront of research.
Within retail supply chains, the impact of disruptions often becomes most evident. For instance, at the outbreak of COVID-19 retailers of essential goods had to deal with increasing demands for serving consumers at home while dealing with challenges related to inventory and delivery and keeping their facilities safe.
In contrast to such increasing demands, at the same time, retailers of non-essential goods had to deal with a significant drop in sales and to engage with customers who shopped from home, while others changed their production to deal with the increased demand for particular products.
When it comes to emergency situations, supply chains are challenged for their resilience. Therefore, similar to other industries, the retail sector may adjust the risks of failure to supply chainactivities. One mitigation approach to employ insights gained from well-designed predictive supply chain strategies. Still, when it comes to severe supply chain disruptions – like the disruptions that took place during the epidemic outbreak of COVID – organisations also rely on lessons learned for future research and practice.
Research highlights the importance of building ‘resilience’ across the supply chain in order to ensure adaptability, responsiveness, and management of risk. The term ‘supply chain resilience’ is used in the literature to reflect the ability to recover from disruptions rapidly and effectively at both organisational and supply chain levels. Thereby the development of resilient capabilities describes a holistic management system (Azadegan et al., 2019; 2020). This management system proactively addresses risk and disruptions by helping to prevent risks, mitigate risks, respond to actual disruptions, and recover from actual disruptions.
Scholars also underline the importance of digital technologies, triggered mainly by the increasing role of data and technology in the production processes
(Kache and Seuring, 2017). Digital technologies that enable supply chain analytics, may support the decision-making process and help in handling supply chain disruptions. The notion of forecasting demand while offering supply chain visibility and eliminating risks may assist retailers in being responsive and resilient. Nevertheless, there is still a lack of understanding of predictive analytics within retail supply chains, where unpredictive circumstances and crises can easily disrupt demand and supply. Even more, when it comes to holistic handling of supply chain disruptions, supply chain resilience and continuity are needed to ensure proactivity and reactivity on all levels.
In their research, Dr Christos Papanagnou and Dr Andreas Seiler draw on the opportunities and challenges suggested in previous studies of supply chain analytics in supply chain management. The aim is to develop a measure of the impact of predictive analytics in the supply chain practices of the retail supply chain. The impact related to the use of supply chain analytics in supply chain management entails preparedness and responsiveness of operational processes and consequently enhanced value creation for the retail sector for emergent situations where supply chain analytics is applied.
Any thoughts on this blog post or a need for further information? Please feel free to send an email and get in thouch with us. More information is also available at our website of the cluster for operational research and process optimisation (CORPO).
Azadegan, A., Mellat Parast, M., Lucianetti, L., Nishant, R. and Blackhurst, J. (2020), “Supply Chain Disruptions and Business Continuity: An Empirical Assessment”, Decision Sciences, available at:https://doi.org/10.1111/deci.12395.
Azadegan, A., Srinivasan, R., Blome, C. and Tajeddini, K. (2019), “Learning from near-miss events: An organizational learning perspective on supply chain disruption response”, International Journal of Production Economics, available at:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpe.2019.04.021.
Kache, F. and Seuring, S. (2017), “Challenges and opportunities of digital information at the intersection of Big Data Analytics and supply chain management”, Int Jrnl of Op & Prod Mnagemnt, Vol. 37 No. 1, pp. 10–36.
At Salford Business School we have a strong research network and teaching interests and expertise in social media, the experience economy and sport. When the ‘European Super League’ concept reared its head again on 18th April 2021, it created an amazing wave of discussion online and offline. If you’ve been off world, visiting another planet recently, you may have missed the latest round of the biggest football clubs in Europe flexing the might of their brands to try to enact change. That change is essentially the creation of a new European Super League – in this particular incarnation involved ‘the big 6’ teams from the English Premier League Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur in a new league with Italy’s Inter Milan, AC Milan and Spain’s Atlético Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid.
By Wednesday 21st April, the project was once more metaphorically kicked out of the stadium and into the car park. It just gave fans long enough to have some (sometimes) heated debates about the potential impact of this move and what might happen to the respective leagues, grassroots football and the other clubs when these big clubs with their fan bases and cash withdrew.
Aside from the strongly worded conversations in the pub beer gardens of a newly unlocked England – fans all over the world took to social media to vent their two penneth about the impact of this move. According to a YouGov Poll, 79% of fans were against it, saying it would destroy the league. 83% of UK respondents did not support it. In the US, 43% of fans would boycott it and in the rest of the world, 68%.
This short lived phenomena created an incredible number of international news stories and hundreds of millions of social media posts. We used Twitter and a tool called NodeXL to try and delve more deeply into what fans were saying about the European Superleague on 20th and 21st April 2021. NodeXL is a Microsoft Excel Plugin that can perform social network analysis. It can make sense of and visualise tens of thousands of social media posts on particular topics at one time. It can also help to identify influential users.
On 20th April, we created a Super League NodeXL network visualization graph. This graph highlighted some interesting things. Firstly, some of the top hashtags and conversational groups frequently referred to highlighted Manchester United and Liverpool in particular as most mentioned. The visualization highlights how virtual crowds gathered on Twitter to actively campaign against the Super League. We previously wrote a journal paper about these two clubs on Instagram and analysing fan comments. They are two highly popular and well discussed brands on social media and really stood out from the other 12 clubs involved in the Super League and in this analysis. Manchester United’s Executive Vice Chairman Ed Woodward also featured heavily in conversations and also news stories on the BBC and Sky News because he stepped down from his position amid these developments.
As the European Superleague concept again began to unravel on 21st April, the Node XL graph continued to show Manchester United and Ed Woodward at the top of the Twitter debate, followed closely by Arsenal as the top influencers. United, Arsenal and Liverpool’s official accounts were the top influencers as clubs announced their withdrawal from the European Super League. News outlets like Sky and BBC were less prevalent on 21st, perhaps due to the fact they were initially breaking the stories on the previous day and then the clubs making official statements on the following day. One notable new network influencer was Arsenal player Mezut Ozil who made a number of influential Tweets condemning the new league and gaining a great deal of support, some Tweets reaching over 160,000 likes from fans across the world.
There’s only one Super League😉🇹🇷🌎 pic.twitter.com/KKKQWWEUaz
— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) April 20, 2021
Notably, @utdreport (a fan driven account) was also more influential than the official news outlets in this network as they live Tweeted updates about Manchester United and Ed Woodward in particular. Social media is well documented as giving players and fans a voice and often, that voice is faster, louder and more insightful than the official brand communications. Fan generated content is a critical part of a football club’s brand and is impossible to control which makes it such a good topic to explore.
Our NodeXL analysis highlights in particular English speaking Twitter users, but this story was covered and discussed on social media globally beyond Europe. China is a growing and massive market opportunity for football. Some Chinese fans felt that the new league would be a bonus because fans were most interested in watching the more popular clubs play each other rather than the lesser known brands.
As part of our ongoing analysis of digital sport in Brazil, we found that media and journalists specialised in international football coverage condemned the initiative and the news spread like wildfire on Instagram in particular. Prone to humour and jokes, memes were shared endlessly. For example, Heineken, with its tongue in cheek critical approach, received accolades and positive feedback from fans.
The European Super League concept may have been financially driven and accelerated by the Covid-19. Ultimately, it once again proved to be highly controversial and unpopular with fans. It did however create an incredible worldwide wave of debate on social media. Whilst it’s impossible to say for sure what the impact of this league would be and its impact on the other clubs and grassroots football – the subject and debate has gripped the world. We wonder though what damage has been done to the brands that threatened to break away and indeed, when the next attempt will be and what the impact might be. The English Premier League has propelled some clubs to become global brands, but they wish now to go further and create more experiences which international fans love – more of the big match clashes. It’s a commercial opportunity and threat that isn’t likely to go away and change is eventually inevitable.
For some fans though that reject the commercialism of football and the money aspect of the game, there is almost a romanticism to return to the days of a more level playing field where football felt more about the fans in the stadium and not the commercial aspects. For now, it seems to be all over, but only time will tell what the next twist in this tale will be. What do you think of the proposed European Super League and what impact would it have? Contact us or share this story on social media.
Salford Business School’s research is setting a path to shape thinking and the application of technology in a post-pandemic and post-Brexit world. Our aim is to create business school research and solutions for the myriad challenges of Industry 4.0 and the ethical and legal issues facing society. Our research acts as the integrator for a diversity of disciplines, the translator from technology to management (and back again) and as the critical voice in the need to adopt of technology fully recognising the human and social impact that these decisions bring. We are building a vibrant and industry focussed research culture that lets a diverse range of academics create meaningful and impactful research for the good of society.
Research challenges today are invariably complex and interlinked. As the world recovers from the consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic we are seeing many of the social inequalities that have been exposed by it. At the same time we must face up to the challenges of human-induced climate change and the new ways of working that transform societies. Business School researchers make an informed, value-driven contribution to society as it addresses these challenges.
Articulating such a clear and focused strategy comes at the end of a seven year research cycle, marks the start of a new cycle and a new era for Salford Business School.
The University of Salford’s institutional areas of interest over the next seven year are:
With that in mind we have created five new research clusters within the School that let us rise to this complex and interlinked challenges. The clusters are Data Analytics, Project Management, Operational Research and Process Optimisation, Disruptive Technologies cluster and Governance,Legal and Ethical issues.
What are the post-covid supply chain trends that will remain after we finally unlock? This is a question of great interest to me as we reach the 23rd of March 2021, the anniversary of the UK’s first lockdown. You might remember, like me, how the Supply Chain was one of the first things to be noticeably affected when the handbrake was applied twelve months ago. But, why was this, and what can we learn from this for the future?
At the beginning, most people, even myself, began to follow the stockpiling mindset and let us get extra of everything “just-in-case”, because at that time, we were entering a period of uncertainty of not knowing how long it would last and fear of possible rationing like the war years may be reintroduced. The stockpiling mindset was reflected through huge abnormal and spikes for lots of different products all over the country and many parts of the world. In the UK, many retailers were unable to redeploy surplus stock from region to region as they had done in the past, because every region was in high demand. During the early days of the pandemic, we found the most products were available somewhere in the supply chain, it was just a simple case they could not keep up with this unprecedented, constant, and continuous demand by the customer.
Have you heard about digital business transformation? Here at Salford we have and we want to be part of the process that helps transform your digital businesses. Do you want to know how our students work with internal and external partners?
I am Dr Yun Chen and I run two modules working closely with industry bringing our undergraduate students within the digital business transformation process. My Mobile App Development module is a great example. This year our students developed real applications and more importantly, they worked with our established industry partners Apadmi and Sigma too benchmarking their skills against industry standards.
Could your business benefit from a number of fresh pairs of eyes looking at your app development project needs? Like you, I know that mobile devices are one of the most popular channels that help people engage people with digital businesses activities. This means it is really essential now to make sure that students understand not just the mobile technologies and theories of design but also its implementation in the real world. Let me tell you more about how Salford Business School does this.
“The rise of fractal politics” was first submitted to the Nine Dots Prize in response to the question, “Are digital technologies making politics impossible?” The essay was written as a thought piece prior to the announcement of the 2017 UK General Election.
In this essay “the rise of fractal politics” describes the current state of development in advanced capitalist economies. This is a development that has been accelerated by digital technologies while also describing wider ranging changes in contemporary society and politics (Marcuse 2002). Equally, many of these social and political changes have themselves become possible because of digital technologies (Rosa 2013). This is the ever-present reminder that technology is both a product of the society that produces it and a key agent for its change (Laszio 1992).
Rosie Allen, 2013 BA Leisure and Tourism Management graduate and Mazen Bashraheel, 2014 BSc International Business Management graduate both secured places on the Campus Living Villages (CLV) Graduate Trainee Scheme and have since gone on to further employment. Here they draw on their experience to offer hints and tips on securing a graduate vacancy.
In 2015 there were a reported 19,673 graduate vacancies, and 2.2 million graduates across the UK. So securing a graduate placement – impossible right? No! Surprisingly more than 1,000 of those vacancies went unfilled Read more…..
This year has offered some dramatic lessons in the power of social media. Twice, people have confounded predictions to vote for ideas which have targeted emotional responses.
Now we have President Donald Trump, and the UK Government scrambling to navigate a path out of the European Union.
As 2016 draws to a close, a shooting in Washington at a pizza restaurant – the so-called pizzagate incident – exposed just how dangerous and how effective those emotional appeals on social media can be.
Salford Business School lecturer Dr Peter Reeves writes on the importance and recent evolution of political marketing, and how the strategies employed by key players could be even more influential in 2017.
I have been busy over the last year or so working on a very special political marketing project.
I have been Guest Editor for a Special Issue of the Journal of Customer Behaviour.
The topic of the special issue has been on political marketing: voters, political parties, candidates and elections.