Sunday, August 30, 2009

About the authenticity of the L'OCCITANE cafe experience in Shibuya...

Last Thursday (27AUG09), Julian and I went for the first time in 6 years to L'OCCITANE cafe in Shibuya to have dinner.

We started talking about the authenticity of the experience that was provided to us... As Joseph Pine illustrates in his TED speech, consumers don't pay for the quality of the food or the beverage. They pay for the quality of the experience.

And the quality of an experience is its authenticity.

What does it mean?

Well, if we take Starbucks(*) as an example, the authenticity of its experience is the taste and smell of the coffee, the sounds of the music, the non-smoking policy, the softness of the sofas, the strength of the tables, the colors of the paintings on the walls etc...

What about L'OCCITANE cafe?

As you may know, L'OCCITANE is a French cosmetics brand, based in Manosque, Provence. (By the way, at BunkerSofa we love their body soaps.)
So authenticity means authentic relatively to the Provence memeplexe, which is based on different types of information: visual, olfactory, gustative, aural etc...

At least, the taste of the bouillabaisse that I had was authentic, which means that the gustative
information was correctly rendered, compared to what I used to eat when I was living in France.

But I am afraid gustative authenticity is not enough. Again, you need also visual
, olfactory and aural information.

What about using a folk music from Manosque as a background music on the one hand, and the typical furniture used in a house à la provençale on the other hand?
Really, the interior designers could have put inside the restaurant some physical objects like a
lavender sickle
for example, to increase the level of authenticity.
However, all those elements were lacking. The food was fine but it was the only element that reminded us of Provence...Therefore, a problem there is.

The marketing team of L'OCCITANE Japan should really think about it if they wanna turn the brand into a powerful memeplexe that would be even extremely popular among the most naive Shibuya girls 

(*) The Starbucks experience authenticity does a lot of brain anchoring and my brain is one of their many victims (see the chapter on brain anchoring in Predictably irrational from Dan Ariely)


  1. eat with your mouth closed, and don't talk with mouth full.

  2. tks for the piece of advice which I won't follow since it does not improve anything.

    I have to improve my English though.

  3. I know my face is not so beautiful to see. but don't focus on my face. focus on what I say, or at least try to say...

  4. Anonymous, your comment is not relevant since the eating factor does not impair the conversation, on the contrary. Your assertion seems to come from a simple "mother" meme...