Do not sell mattresses,
but quality of sleep

Students conduct research into experience at BinnenUit Woonexperts

written by Jaap Nelemans
Teacher Communication

We are spoilt. All our daily needs have now more or less been satisfied. If you are looking for a new coffee maker, you can choose from countless coffee makers with different milk frothing methods. And even if you compare the different providers in terms of service, the differences are minimal.

Who does not know the Nespresso product branding with the colourful cups and the advertisements with George Clooney? The real competition between product providers no longer takes place around product specifications or service conditions but is about whether a brand knows how to touch customers emotionally.

Contentment comes from BinnenUit

In the scope of the Imagineering project course, the Communication study programme organized a student survey at BinnenUit Woonexperts. Imagineering is a contraction of imagination and engineering. The objective is to analyse brand experience from the different senses. Students use the sensogram¹ for this. With the sensogram, the students analyse how an event scores on the five senses. While most traditional marketing expressions focus on ‘seeing’, we have analysed the possibilities for the other senses: ‘hearing, smelling, feeling and tasting’.

BinnenUit is a home store consisting of four different stores with a highly comparable target group, especially in the higher segment. The store is located in Heinkenszand and has the following subdivisions

• BinnenUit Bedden & Slapen (De Vlijt Bedden & Slapen): beds and sleeping

• BinnenUit Meubelen (De Jonge Hoek van Dijke): furniture

• BinnenUit Woningtextiel (Van der Poel Hometextiel): home textiles

• BinnenUit Buitenmeubelen (Palladio): outdoor furniture

The ‘experience economy’ is the term coined by Pine and Gillmore in the book with the same name from 1998. Their research suggests a radically different way of looking at how to meet customer needs. It offers a new perspective on companies and customer loyalty. Their proposition is that companies should stop trying to rationally convince potential customers and focus on the experience of the product. You do not sell a black suitcase with a luggage capacity of 50 litres. No, the suitcase is a means, perhaps even a status symbol, with which you travel around the world, collect memories, discover new places and get to know people. The case opens up a world of unknown possibilities.

"Don’t focus on the product but on the experience"

Amusement parks and event organizations already know how to capitalize on ‘experience’, they offer a memorable event that stimulates all the senses. The result is an emotional relationship between the visitor and the brand. Top artists no longer make most of their sales from CDs or records, but with the World Tours they organize. The successes of Disneyworld of Tomorrowland come from the total package of experience, being immersed in a different world, from start to finish.

For BinnenUit Woonexperts in Heinkenszand, second-year communication students investigated how the current store concept scores on the sensogram. They then advised how BinnenUit can add more experience to the store concept.

The analysis with the sensogram clearly showed that there is still much to be gained on the senses, smelling, feeling and tasting.

A selection of the recommendations to BinnenUit Woonexperts:

Make sure that light and sound (the senses seeing and hearing) better meet visitors’ expectations. Differentiate in the different shops; muted light and soft music in the sleeping department and natural sounds and sunlight in the garden furniture department;

Organize events or workshops in which the visitor experiences interaction with the brand while he or she learns something new.
Let the visitor become acquainted with outdoor kitchens and barbecues through experience

Organize inspiration workshops on home furnishings according to Eastern feng shui principles.

More information about the experience economy? Read “The Experience Economy” of Pine & Gillmore or watch the TED talk.


1) Orden, D. (2019). Testing SensoGraph, a geometric approach for fast sensory evaluation. Food Quality and Preference, march 2019. Elsevier.