“Connecting emotionally is an important part of the brand experience. When you buy something, emotion represents 50% of your customer experience. Emotions are at the heart of all the actions we take and yet, for years, companies have ignored them.

Colin Shaw, The DNA of Customer Experience


Customer experience is a vast subject at the heart of many companies’ concerns as they seek to retain an increasingly informed and informed consumer.

Emotion comes very often in the definitions of the customer experience as an essential and integral part of it.

By creating strong and positive emotions, magic, the art of illusion, maximizes the audience’s experience and continues to fascinate children and adults alike. It therefore seems useful, in customer experience design, to use the specific emotional mechanisms created by illusion to magnify the customer experience in a pragmatic and systematic way.

What are the two main principles of the magical experience?

How are these entertainment principles relevant from a scientific point of view?

What is their involvement in the design of the customer experience in the company?

By answering these questions we will establish a conceptual framework for reflection and application to enhance your customers’ experience.


An illusionist ’s goal consists first and foremost in the assiduous practice of directing attention. In my career I was thus confronted with thousands of spectators from all cultures, backgrounds and nationalities.

By performing magic effects, mainly in the corporate world, for major brands, I concluded that the specificity, and the potential of the art of illusion, is based on two parameters:

Its ability to generate emotions and especially one of the major positive emotions:


1- To surprise : getting out of  what is usual, a pleasant, positive gap between an expectation and exceeding it.

2- To amaze: The deliberate surprise, which is part of a process of real interest, goes much further than the simple gift.

«We nurture the secret desire to be amazed by a gift or gesture that will “just hit” and our pleasure will be provoked not only by the object of the gift but also by the intention of the person who gives it to us, by his or her personal investment.» Laurent H.J. De Smet

Its ability to create a bond.

The science of illusion places the spectator’s feeling at the heart of the effect. The purpose of the effect is obviously to create a climax, a major final surprise. But in order to amplify it as much as possible, two other feelings must be generated in concert:

Interest :
The capacity to absorb the person or audience into a speech, a story that relates to THEM or that symbolically attracts THEM. In other words, and to use the concept mentioned above: to make the experience attractive and therefore interesting to capture attention.

Joy :

In order to make the overall experience pleasant, the fluidity of the gestures and speech will absorb the spectator’s attention and fully immerse him or her in the present moment. Elegance and smoothness achieve just that. The illusionist’s real goal, is to direct attention and subtly obliterate any form of suspicion. The experience is fluid, harmonious and characterized by a total absence of friction, whether visual or auditory.


1) Which emotions must be triggered to have a positive/pleasant experience?

According to the classification of scientist Caroll Izard, surprise, interest and joy are the three major positive emotions (Cognitive Psychology, Lieury, p350) felt by a human being:


I am surprised when I don’t understand what is happening, I am out of the ordinary, my expectations are exceeded.


I am absorbed in what I am doing or living and by extension, feel that people are interested in me, that they are talking to me from my perspective, my own model of the world.


I don’t ask myself any questions, everything is going in the right direction, everything is fluid in my interactions. I do not feel any friction or difficulties in my experience.

The so-called “pleasant” emotions tell us about the satisfaction of our basic needs related to pleasure, even happiness.

2) Why focus on creating pleasant emotions to enhance the customer experience?

Everyone knows from experience that emotions can powerfully reinforce our memories and their reminders. For example, an emotionally charged event is much better memorized than a similar but emotionally neutral event. (Resisberg and Heuer 1995) Adrenaline, released in large quantities during stress or strong emotion, seems to directly affect memory.” 

Creating emotions can therefore have a positive and lasting impact on memory.

In a context of sales and loyalty, impacting memory through emotions allows:

To create pleasant memories linked to the experience and create a referent at the same time.

To create emotional anchors that will make the brand associated with these same emotions.


Many brands in their advertising and communication talk about “magic” experiences, “magic” products, but what is really going on?

What lies beyond the marketing appeal of the term « magic »?

Some answers can be found by focusing pragmatically on the three main emotions explained above.

1) Surprise them: exceed their expectations !

Creating the unexpected is not only the prerogative of the illusionist.

Any experience that exceeds a customer’s expectations will create the emotion of surprise:

An extremely short response time: we are more and more used to getting everything, right away. Therefore anything that saves time or arrives sooner or faster than we were expecting is perceived as positive.

An unexpected gift that meets a need: I recently spoke with an excellent real estate agent who has adopted the UBER technique: every time a customer gets in his car, he offers him a bottle of water: simple but this attention systematically creates a very positive reaction.

A cordial and fast compensation after a bad experience: The discrepancy between the bad feeling and the fact that the customer’s problem is dealt with in a speedy manner will increase the emotional response and impact long term memory even more.

Smiling and humour from the beginning to the end of an interaction: we are so used to having so little in the realm of service that simple cordiality becomes a mark of good, even excellent service.

➜ Ask yourself the WOW questions !

How, even simply, could I surprise (in a good way) my customers?

How can I exceed their expectations by taking an even greater interest in who they are?

What more can we offer them in a more systematic way in relation to them or the situation?

2) Take an keen interest in them:

Talk about them, not you, what interests someone fundamentally is… themselves.

Any experience that makes a client understand that you see what they see and feel what they feel will create the emotion of interest:

Ask yourself what your client needs now and how he/she feels right away. Especially with dissatisfied clients, it is unthinkable to confront them. It is like when, in the context of a show, we are faced with spectators who are reluctant to play our game. We must rally them to our cause and remain flexible! Otherwise the whole audience’s experience might be endangered.

Generally people have two basic needs: to be reassured, and to be recognized.

So go their way and say it:

« I understand how you feel and if I were you, I would react in the same way.

Now how can I solve your problem? »

Depending on what you are told, say:

« I love this kind of problem, it’s my favorite!!!! it will be fixed as soon as possible! »

Jeffrey Gitomer, author of “Customer satisfaction is worthless, customer loyalty is priceless”

This type of response has 2 benefits:

It is aimed at the the person’s core, you are INTERESTED in him/her.

The tone is surprising and cordial, it defuses conflicts and aims to fluidify interaction: in a single sentence you can trigger 3 emotions, the third being joy in this unexpected notion of experiencing pleasure in solving a problem.

This type of response has 2 benefits:

  • It is aimed at the the person’s core, you are INTERESTED in him/her.
  • The tone is surprising and cordial, it defuses conflicts and aims to fluidify interaction: in a single sentence you can trigger 3 emotions, the third being joy in this unexpected notion of experiencing pleasure in solving a problem.

➜ Ask yourself the WOW questions !

  1. How does my client feel now? What does he need now?
  2. How, in a few sentences and with a few questions, can I make people feel that I am really listening to them?
  3. What are the conflict situations we often encounter? 
  4. How could we respond to it in a much more systematic, playful and positive way?

Just like an illusionist who always knows how to capture and redirect attention!

3) Make them feel joy by making any kind of interactions easy and fluid

 bottom line: A-N-T-I-C-I-P-A-T-E

The notion of anticipation is a rule that we constantly apply in the creation of a magic effect.

  • We must constantly substitute ourselves for the spectator’s way of thinking in his or her journey AND reflection.
  • Our goal is simple: to reduce the effort of reflection.
  • We must constantly anticipate what the viewer will interpret in order to divert his reasoning.
  • We make sure that the spectator asks as few questions as possible, otherwise we will not be able to create the final effect of surprise.
  • In creating the customer experience, reducing this cognitive work is a significant factor.

The more friction points have been anticipated, the more interpretations (especially negative ones) have been considered (with the right answers opposite), the more the person will be cradled from one phase to another in the process of buying or consuming a service.

A glaring example of the magic of fluidity, of the joy you can feel when you buy a product (and experience the service): Amazon.

In less than 5 clicks, often less than three, your purchase is done and received sometimes the same day. The shopping experience is smooth, fast and efficient.

When what you expected the next day arrives the same day, you would almost tend to say: “it’s magic!”

(Personally, I was even delivered on a Sunday afternoon by Amazon Prime: the delivery man in front of my surprised face says to me: “We”re private drivers hired by Amazon for the weekend.” What emotional score do you think you would give to such an approach?)

➜ Ask yourself the WOW questions !

    1. How to eliminate friction points, unnecessary steps?
    2. How to reduce the user’s workload?
    3. How to facilitate all the procedures between the purchase decision and the purchase itself?


Magic consists in immersing the spectators in a universe created from scratch by the performer and
bringing this audience to the heart of a pleasant, pleasant and memorable experience that will create surprise, interest and joy.

By creating strong and positive emotions, magic maximizes the audience’s experience.

In customer experience design and at each point of interaction with the customer, one of the goals could be:

  • to trigger surprise by exceeding the customer’s expectations.
  • to arouse interest by considering the person in a reality of their own.
  • to create joy by avoiding friction and by making all interactions and the journey as fluid as possible.

These emotions, when created, have the ability:

  • to impact memories
  • to associate positive feelings with a brand and/or product.

 The emotional and memory impacts make it possible to go beyond the notion of satisfaction and transaction and creates a real relationship. 

The strength of emotions therefore makes it possible to:

  • sell better, because positive feelings trigger the right emotional state in the act of buying,
  • serve better because an emotional experience is always more pleasant
  • ultimately to build loyalty because memory is impacted in a significant way.

Disappoint your customers they will become your detractors…

Emotionalize your customers, they will become your advocates!

« Your customers are human beings, no matter how sophisticated your products are. People are ready to fight to get things things that make them happy. Can your customer experience be part of it? »

Colin Shaw, “The DNA of Customer Experience”