How do you present yourself, your offering and the delivery?
I have met many consultants or service individuals in the past years. They have presented themselves, usually, professionally, offered a good product and delivered in the expected method. Just like everyone else. I phrase it in this manner because of the absence of a memorable condition, experience or surprise. In most cases I have forgotten their names, the company they represent and even the service they were offering and was left with only a trinket of paper to mark the encounter.
Possibly the reason for this, besides having age on my side, is that there was no moment of theater during the interaction. The message or messenger was neither unique nor inviting. I was not drawn into to the mystique of the event of the offering. I was merely a potential cash flow to be sold a service, or at least that was the hopes of the seller. Just imagine what the deliverable would be like if it had a bit of more theatrics.
B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore ask the question, “If you had to charge admission for customers to see you, what would you do differently?” What indeed. This question haunted me for months after hearing them ask it at a think tank event. Charging admission to enter a business was so unconventional, unorthodox and very inspirational that it had me thinking about how to stage, storyboard client presentations, drive encore performances and most of all, how to create a story about my offering that would have people attend. As performing professionals, and yes I said performing professionals, we are hired to fulfill service agreements for our customers. What if we could deliver it in such a manner that it could generate higher business potential?
This type of thinking is not as unusual as I thought. I discovered many companies use the very idea of theater to deliver memorable experiences to deepen the brand loyalty, return rate and word-of-mouth promotion. Apple stages its stores in this way. Their casts of geniuses are costumed with company apparel and each knows their role in this theater. Even the space is designed to create excitement. So much excitement, that customers are willing to schedule time in advance as well as people will visit just to be part of the culture that is Apple.
That’s all and good for Apple, but why should we create theater for our business? The answer is simple and powerful, people remember and share experiences with others and these brand evangelists also offer a higher rate of return business. In addition, if your theater event is stage correctly and uniquely, the price of admission could be higher than the competition due to the creation of an experience.
If you haven’t already read “The Experience Economy: Work is Theater and Every Business a Stage”, I suggest strongly you do so. It doesn’t matter which version, the original and the updated version delve deep into the methods and reasoning for creating an experience for the customer and drive high returns for your offering while your competition plows along in the traditional mode of doing business.
My words of advice for those businesses wish to stand out; create a big picture plan, develop and know your stage, perfect your acting skills and prepare to offer a dynamic and memorable performance that the critics (your customers) will sing for years across the digital and physical channels.
So as the curtain draws to a close and the virtual lights dim in this theater called the blog, I bow to your appreciation and attention in hopes that you will share my tale with others and return back for an encore performance and the next act.
Until your return, good night and good business.
Kevin Dulle, The thINKologist.