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Shhhh….it’s a secret!

Roper Reports® Worldwide has been following with interest the trend that consumers around the globe are becoming more and more curious about the world around them and are increasingly eager to explore these new things. The personal value of curiosity has increased by +10 ranks globally since 2007, among the 54 values we ask about. This development, together with the fact that a growing number of consumers are looking for fun experiences, is perhaps the catalyst for a new development which we have been closely following here in London: brands and companies increasingly using the concepts of mystery and secrecy to connect with their explorer-minded customers. Examples that come straight to mind are the growing amount of pop-up stores that appear unannounced, or restaurants with secret locations.

I recently attended a marketing symposium which gathered 150 leading marketers together to generate fresh ideas. As it happened ‘Delight & Surprise’ was a hot topic at the conference. Fabien Rigall, Founder and CEO of ‘Future Cinema’ gave an inspirational talk about concepts such as the hugely successful ‘Secret Cinema’ (which I can definitely recommend). He explained that in a world where information is everywhere, mystery is a rare treasure to consumers and that brands can therefore use this concept to build an emotional connection with their customers.

I couldn’t agree more. Only the other day I was happy to pay for an ‘experience’ where I was locked in a room for one hour together with my friends with the sole purpose of solving a mystery. I am referring to Hint Hunt, a fun escape game that is currently hugely popular with Londoners and tourists alike. The experience was thrilling and fun, and being locked into a room with my friends without interference felt like a rare precious moment for me to treasure for a long time to come. But the most exciting part of it all was certainly to unravel the secrecy and mystery of the game.  And it makes sense; in a world of abundant information where everything can easily be discovered everywhere, having a puzzle to solve in the real world and without the aid of everyday technology is an exciting adventure to many, especially to super-connected consumers like myself.

Shortly after I played the Hint Hunt game, I got very excited about a pub which has a secret door (disguised as a book shelf) which takes you to more secret dining rooms including a kitchen and tea room.* It’s then that I realised that the concept of ‘Delight & Surprise’ is likely to stay for a while and that brands and companies can be very creative about how to utilise it – for myself I can’t wait to find out what’s next!

*In case you were curious, the pub is called the ‘The Somers Town Coffee House’.

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