Have you heard of the hero’s journey? If not, view this awesome video about it. The hero journey is blueprint for a great amount of movies our popular culture knows. Pixar too, is a big fan of the hero’s journey and applies it to a lot of its movies.
It’s based on the idea that, in order to transform oneself, you first need to go the ‘unknown path’, also called ‘special world’, in which you overcome challenges, enemies and obstacles. Once this is done, you return transformed, as a better/wiser/stronger person.
There is a total of 12 steps one has to achieve this (as outlined above), and each step is necessary to ‘load’ the story and trigger the next phase.
AirBnB’s hero journey
AirBnB applied the hero journey when they started designing AirBnB trips, a new section on the website that offers people not just an apartment, but also experiences surrounding the place you’ve booked. This way, AirBnB is tapping to a more emotional customer journey as a truly experiential brand (quite literally so in this case: it’s about the journey, not the destination). They found that, for example, people need to overcome a challenge by stepping out of their comfort zone, to be able to grow and transform – think of a kayak trip, mountain climbing or simply trying out a new dish.
Increasing loyalty and brand advocacy
This is such a beautiful way of using a magical, fairy-tale like narrative and certainly a great tool to use for developing that story. Not just a Pixar or Hollywood blockbuster, but also for a consumer brand. We like brands and products that make use experience something new, something to aid in our daily lives – in one way or another. By helping us in that way, and making us grow as a person, loyalty grows and brand advocacy increases.
So next time you’re working on improving a service, try to see how the hero journey might be useful in doing so. Harry Potter and Star Wars, turn out to be fertile examples for creating real business value!