Thoughts

THE GIFT OF TIME

February 24th, 2016   |   Peter Tressel

What defines luxury in your life? A vacation at an exclusive spa or a wilderness camping trip? A Rolex on your wrist or leaving your watch on the nightstand all weekend?

Ask your friends to describe luxury or indulgence and you’ll get interesting answers and learn more about them. They brighten up when they justify their perspective. Everyone smiles.

The luxuries are generally very different, except for one: time.

Time is a luxury for all of us. And it’s easy to understand with the endless onslaught of meetings, appointments, interruptions and commitments that have somehow wormed their way into our most private moments because of mobile phones. Is your phone on your nightstand? Mine too. A lot of us even peek at them in the middle of the night.

According to a survey by Pew Research last June, 73% of Americans go online daily, and 21% describe themselves as online all the time. Nielsen reports that the average American adult spends 11 hours a day with electronic media (internet, TV and radio). Wow.

We marketers like to measure time on site, pageviews and bounce rates for websites. The more time we take up, the happier we seem to be. Call me a contrarian, but there’s something wrong with all this.

Not all online-time is created equal, so I’d like to suggest a counterintuitive shift in how we look at engagement. Watching the entire video we put up on the site is awesome. But how about visitors that visit a page, do what they need to do and leave in a flash? Also awesome, I would argue.

Better branding moments come from being thoughtful. Sometimes that means knowing when to get out of the way. Judging from the research, the right answer may be ASAP.

Instead of looking for ways to further ensnare busy users, let’s create more frictionless and satisfying transactions. Let’s value usability like we do killer content and let people thank us for valuing their most precious resource. The time-starved world will reward those who do.

When the universal human luxury is time, perhaps taking less of it is the most powerful brand experience.