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  • Writer's pictureIvaylo Yorgov

Ideas worth exploring: The Experience Economy

There are articles and books that I read, and I nod in agreement with them. And then there are articles and books I don't necessarily agree with but which open whole new perspectives to certain questions.

"The Experience Economy" book by Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore, and the HBR article that outlines the same ideas falls squarely into the 'I-don't fully-subscribe-to-this-but-I-love-it category'!

To get it out of the way, what was a bit much for me was the insistence that the Experience Economy principles will apply to every company. For example, the authors claim that "leading-edge companies—whether they sell to consumers or businesses—will find that the next competitive battleground lies in staging experiences." I don't disagree that staging experiences is a brilliant perspective towards making business. I'm merely challenging the over-generalization of it, for I strongly believe that a lot of companies doing business the non-Experience Economy way will also thrive in the future.

The reason I love the Experience Economy ideas is that it offers a refreshing perspective to customer experience. "An experience", as Pine II and Gilmore understand it,

"...occurs when a company intentionally uses services as the stage, and goods as props, to engage individual customers in a way that creates a memorable event."

An experience in this sense encompasses the entire ecosystem of what a company can and does offer to get a customer's job done. It is no longer about the product or the service, or whatever. It is about the whole thing - about immersing customers into a world that you created to help them become a better version of themselves. It sounds theatrical, and I think it should, as me and the authors alike subscribe to "the world is a stage" theory for people's behaviour that sees businesses as staging experiences, rather than selling products or services.

"Whether selling to consumers or companies, firms must recognize that goods and services are no longer enough; customers now want experiences. But to what end? ... There seems to be only one answer to all of these questions: to be affected by the experience."

Once you embrace this perspective, you can no longer overlook a single element of your performance. Just like they do in the movies we love. They leave nothing to chance, the rehearse relentlessly, and they make sure that all elements of the movie are designed and aligned with each other to create the desired effect and affect.

Pine II and Gilmore offer invaluable advice to staging experiences. I strongly recommend you consult this article and their book for inspirations to creating a thriving business.

Best of all, they offer amazing provocative questions that got me thinking for days. To give you a glimpse, they ask, "What would we do differently if we charged admission?" What would you do differently?

My best wishes for a great day ahead.

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