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David Lee King

Experience Economy Goes by Many Names



Experience is called many thingsJoseph Pine and James Gilmore noticed this thing they called the Experience Economy. They think we’ve moved beyond purchasing mere goods and services – now, we can purchase “experiences” (hence, the experience Economy). In their newest book, they blend the idea of experience with something they call Authenticity.

But Experience or the Experience Economy isn’t the only thing this notion is called – this post will introduce you to some other similar terms.

For example, when I read their book, I didn’t see much in the way of website experience. Certainly, the underlying ideas were there, but no concrete examples were given (it was written in 1999, so I’ll give them a break). That bugged me enough to write my own book about it, and I called the website version of it the Digital Experience.

Rohit Bhargava, who writes the Influential Marketing Blog, comes from a customer engagement and marketing/PR background. In his book Personality Not Included: Why Companies Lose Their Authenticity and How Great Brands Get it Back, he calls it personality. Here’s a quote from the introduction that explains what personality is:

“The theory of Personality Not Included is that personality is the answer. Personality is the key element behind your brand and what it stands for, and the story that your products tell to your customers. Every element of your business, from your interactions with your customers to the packaging of your product is an element of your brand personality, and these are the elements that inspire delight or indifference among your customers. In short, personality matters.”

I heard Jane McGonigal speak last year at SXSWi 2008. She presented on gaming and alternate realities … and called it happiness. Here are some notes I took from her presentation:

Question – are you in the happiness business? Our primary product soon will be happiness… Happiness is the new capital

Four key principles of happiness:

  1. satisfying work to do
  2. experience of being good at something
  3. time spent with people we like
  4. chance to be a part of something bigger

McGonigal’s description of happiness sounds VERY similar to Pine & Gilmore’s description of experience and Bhargava’s description of a company with personality.

Ever heard of Touch Points? It’s sort of like usability … but doesn’t focus primarily on how the thing works. Instead, it focuses on the experience customers have during their interactions with the product or service or website.

Ok, one more. A few years back when Kathy Sierra was still blogging, many of her blog posts focused on this same concept – but she called it enchantment and kicking ass.

See what’s going on?

It’s not quite usability (but lives there). It’s not quite marketing (but it lives there). It’s not quite design (but it lives there too). It’s not quite customer service (yep – lives there). Not quite library 2.0 (even lives there).

There’s a convergence in many different fields right now – gaming, marketing, PR, web design, customer service, etc. – that all have, as their utmost goal, providing the customer with a positive experience … an authentic experience … happiness … attracting them with personality … enchanting them … helping them “kick patootie.” (ok, my wash-your-mouth-out-with-soap upbringing just kicked in – sorry ).

Question – how are you working to enchant your users? Not just meet their information needs … but delight them? Are you providing a positive experience, and if so – how?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://erielookingproductions.info/ Stephen Michael Kellat

    It has been a busy yet productive day. Although I should be in bed already, I’ll leave a couple thoughts to start things off. Bear in mind that these are tentative thoughts and not as complete as they might be otherwise.

    Enchantment is a useful thing. From my realm of experience, megachurches provide that easily. I need merely go up to Central Christian Church for one heckuva experience.

    From my discussions with Bible scholars and folks like the Chaplain to the Institute at MIT, I have learned that enchantment is not enough. Megachurches enchant big crowds. Within those crowds there is pretty severe turnover and a feeling that there is flash but no substance. The literature regarding megachurches lately seems to be focusing on the question of how to not only have enchantment but also substance. The megachurch experience shows that enchantment gets you in the door but it does not anchor you there.

    It is one thing to attract users to a library with enchanting experience. The big problem is keeping them coming back. Temples to knowledge and wisdom might have something to learn from the experiences of the Lord’s temples.

  • http://erielookingproductions.info Stephen Michael Kellat

    It has been a busy yet productive day. Although I should be in bed already, I’ll leave a couple thoughts to start things off. Bear in mind that these are tentative thoughts and not as complete as they might be otherwise.

    Enchantment is a useful thing. From my realm of experience, megachurches provide that easily. I need merely go up to Central Christian Church for one heckuva experience.

    From my discussions with Bible scholars and folks like the Chaplain to the Institute at MIT, I have learned that enchantment is not enough. Megachurches enchant big crowds. Within those crowds there is pretty severe turnover and a feeling that there is flash but no substance. The literature regarding megachurches lately seems to be focusing on the question of how to not only have enchantment but also substance. The megachurch experience shows that enchantment gets you in the door but it does not anchor you there.

    It is one thing to attract users to a library with enchanting experience. The big problem is keeping them coming back. Temples to knowledge and wisdom might have something to learn from the experiences of the Lord’s temples.

  • davidleeking

    Agreed. One thing megachurches have that libraries don’t have automatically are transformative experiences. At least, for the people attending church, they expect to be transformed – that’s sort of the goal.

    Libraries? We CAN be that type of place, I think – improving one’s life, getting a job, learning a new skill,e ven reading an amazing novel can all be transformative.

    The hard part for libraries is pointing those opportunities out for people – that takes nasty words like pr and marketing and doing WAY more than the reference interview… all things we don’t do well.

  • davidleeking

    Agreed. One thing megachurches have that libraries don’t have automatically are transformative experiences. At least, for the people attending church, they expect to be transformed – that’s sort of the goal.

    Libraries? We CAN be that type of place, I think – improving one’s life, getting a job, learning a new skill,e ven reading an amazing novel can all be transformative.

    The hard part for libraries is pointing those opportunities out for people – that takes nasty words like pr and marketing and doing WAY more than the reference interview… all things we don’t do well.

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