September 1, 2021
I probably don’t ride public transportation enough. But today I made up for it a bit with a bus and train ride. Unfortunately, neither left me feeling all that great. Schedules all wrong (Google, website, phone). Bus felt like it had more cameras than a George Orwell stage set. Train seemed to have two settings: go fast and stop hard. And the stations were so dark that I could barely make out the stops.
Of course my “complaining” could simply be that I’ve been too spoiled by the decade that I lived in Tokyo where public transportation is a mixture of clockmaker meticulousness and the discipline of the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon. It's that good.
The one nice thing in all of this is that the experience got me thinking about assets.
I think there can be a tendency to believe that assets automatically deliver value because they are inherently valuable (in a financial sense). Buses, trains, train stations are incredibly expensive assets, but I wonder how many people who use those assets every day feel that value as a positive and uplifting brand experience.
I mean if a personal, self-driving, on-demand, pollution free driving system or vehicle could be created with equal or less individual running costs than public transportation, would people want to ride public transportation? Would they raise their hand because they prefer it?
Assets are just one piece of the chain in delivering value to customers. Over reliance on them because of their inherent value will not only lead to sub-optimal experiences, but to sub-optimal returns as competitors deliver stronger emotional connections.