What Do Consumers Expect?

Hank Adams, global director for health at HDR in conversation at the Cleveland Clinic Patient Experience Summit with Garrett Miller, vice president of strategic marketing and creative director for healthcare, education and government with Herman Miller; Peter Ruppe, senior vice president of footwear at Under Armour; and Matthew Von Ertfelda, senior vice president of food and beverage for the global operations of Marriott Corporation.

Adams:  How have consumers in your various industries changed in the last 10-20 years and how do you think those changes have impacted consumer expectations in regards to healthcare?

Tailor to Consumers’ Individual Experiences

Ruppe:  We live in the sports world so we tap very much into youth and are mindful of what is going on with that group. One of the biggest things is our ability to build on the experiences of others.

The way a kid sees sports today is very different. They can observe and break down everything the high performance player is doing, can understand it and can go much deeper into the experience of what it takes to get there. So if they really care and want to be on that journey — and journey is a big word to think about — then they’re going to go at the work they need to do for understanding.

The Steph Curries of the world don’t just manufacture themselves, right? Steph studies everything. LeBron studies everything. There is a kid out there who is 12 or 13 and has seen everything Steph is doing, can break it down, go back and revisit it. So if you want to be on a high performance journey today as an athlete, all the tools are there.

The second thing is this: The world you live in is peer-to-peer. People inspire you and give you clues as to what you want to do. But what matters most are those who are similar to you, who are in your world socially and with whom you are connected and engaging. If you want to operate a brand today, you have to think about how you are connecting to the consumer not just from a “be like so and so” way, but understand their identity and how they see themselves in their world, their tribe and their team. These are a couple of the big drivers that we think about when we’re doing experiential design.

Von Ertfelda:  We’re a 90-year-old company that’s been around for a long time. We have a multi-generational focus and have to really understand the Silent Generation, Boomers, Gen-X, Gen-Y and Gen-Z. We have 30 brands and each brand needs to have a clear brand promise that determines how we design spaces to how we program experiences within these spaces. Each brand has to be different and has to be unique and differentiated.

We call each brand a promise and we are always striving to isolate what we call brand swimlands to ensure that brands, when they stop side by side, each have a clearly differentiated value proposition and we also strive to achieve clear water between those swimlands.

For an organization like ours that is global across 120 countries and some 6,300 hotels, how those brands actually translate across geographies culturally and also locally is an exciting, albeit daunting challenge. For us, we have to understand every generation and understand their needs today as well as their needs tomorrow. We have to understand the impact on [the] physical space, programming, interior design, architecture, food and beverage technology — there’s a lot of implications that we need to consider to ensure our brands resonate with their target consumers.

Miller:  In my role within Herman Miller I am both an insider to healthcare and an outsider. Herman Miller … has always prided itself on understanding the intersection among the various ways in which we can help people live better lives.

We’ve been looking at how people are changing as consumers in every aspect of their lives, not just as people buying things but as consumers of experiences throughout their day. The first is really around this notion of going from a very segmented life to a very fluid life.

Think about how the workplace and home used to be regimented. “This is my work persona, my work time, work activity, work devices.” Those delineations have broken down. We’re even talking about Athleisure as a category. There is a fluidity now to the way people consume all the different parts of their experiences of work, play and home. Obviously most of you probably live and breathe this on a daily basis now in healthcare and how that is impacting the way people think about their care experience, whether it’s understanding that we need to accommodate different modes that people are in when they’re in a care experience, whether they are semi-working or even, how we incorporate care into people’s workplace environment? 

A second broader trend is the concept of moving from “abundance” to “better.” There are different translations of this trend, but many of us have seen millennials wanting to spend money on experiences rather than things.

People often talk about design and brands that focus on design as being more relevant to consumers. A lot of that has to do with the core element of design, which is around editing. How do you take things out of the experience that aren’t crucial so that what remains feels pure, true, honest and connects with you?

Credit cards are an example of this. There are credit cards that give you tons of financial incentives but people are saying “we don’t want more financial incentives, we just want a better experience with this card such as loyalty and perks.” I think you are seeing that come across in many aspects of consumers’ lives.

People are also going from the idea of personalization to individualization. We see this a lot, especially in the area of furnishings. We work directly with a lot of designers and we are seeing the way designers are working with their clients and each client is trying to come up with ways to modify things slightly to provide a work environment that is completely — uniquely — their own; something that feels like it speaks to who they are. We want to give them the opportunity to choose all of the things around them that are going to resonate and create the environment that feels like it is specifically tailored to who they are and who they want to be in the activities they need to support. Those are three things that span across all the different elements of our daily lives that we see in different businesses we serve.

Hank Adams | Healthcare | HDR
Global Director, Health