What a great event in New Orleans. The annual thinkAbout conference was well attended by alumni and newbies of the Experience Economy. I was excited to see Joe Pine introducing the graphic style presentation we have worked on for almost 8 months and Jim referencing my white-paper on liminal spaces from “Designing Experiential Places: A Case For Place Personae.” Enjoy the two days of capturing.
In the Experience Economy, understanding the flow is critical in the success of any staged experience. A good example of how this works is through the story of Alice in Wonderland.
In order to develop a complete experience for your customer you must address every phase of the experience from the enticement to enter through the extending of the memory.
No matter if you’re a small business, large corporation or non-profit, there are connections in our purpose, communication and the places we connect in. I have written before on the importance of alignment and I am going to do again, but this time I want to break down the idea into steps.
I believe that the three key principles in all businesses are these; Culture, Brand and Place. The principles are not free-standing as some would treat them. No, all three of these are linked in an interlocking pattern. Adjust one and it affects the other two.
Take culture for the first example. What you and those around you believe about the same goal or outcome is your purpose and drives your brand message and the promise your communicate to others.
Your promise to others needs a place that reflects this promise and helps facilitate your interactions with others. Your brand frames what your place should be no matter if it is physical or digital. The real message here is that both your physical and digital places should reflect your brand and not merely be a trendy place or a copy of someone else’s place.
As I stated at the beginning of this post, all three are connected and each reacts and influences the others. The place where you interact must also support the belief and intention of your culture. It must stimulate those who enter to your belief and help become the stage of your people to communicate your message.
It is very important to always remember that these three principles apply to business, play and home. What you believe is reflected in how you speak and what you speak about. Your place becomes a manifestation of those ideas. It is very important to always remember, that all three principles either nourish the whole or jeopardize the possibility of growth and success.
I have contemplated an idea that is growing larger. The idea of having a personal brand. And as with any brand, comes the brand mark or logo. So my idea is this; are we truly returning to pictographic or iconographic society?
Evidence would argue that we are. More and more information in our everyday life is being identified by graphic representation and not the written word. Case in point; look to your desktop or mobile device. Very few icons include the use of text. In some cases, applications on mobile devices and desktops are using more icons and graphics to convey processes and functions. One of the obvious reasons is universal use.
Look to another rise in our society, social media brings us the increasing use of emoticons. Graphic icons to replace a set of emotional terms or statements. Technology has brought us back to a digital hieroglyphic age. Everything is becoming represented by icons. If so, then can we create icons for ourselves?
I say it already is happening. From the use of initials to clever Social Media avatar icons, we are in the age of personal branding and with personal branding comes personal logos. To give you an example here are my initials; K.M.D. I have used these all through my art life and as part of my signature. So what happens when I evolve from text to icons? what does my personal brand logo become?
A stylized expression of my initials transformed into a personal brand logo. A logo that can be used in social media as well as to identify ownership of things that belong to me.
But why do we need such icons for ourselves? In an age of graphics and speed, a personal logo does for a person what a logo mark does for companies, creates a unique symbol that is connected to an individual who may share a name with many others. It is a way to stand out and be recognized.
My prediction is that we are about to see the boom of the personal logo trend. In our world of billions of online citizens, personal logos create that need to be unique or at least be seen as being unique. Soon small garage and bedroom businesses will appear who specialize in creating personal logos and human brands. Who knows, maybe brand consultants will help with couples wishing to join brands or couples needing to create new personal brands due to separation or loss. We have become an industry of we/me.
Is it right? Should we move further back into pictographic and iconographic languages? Maybe not, yet when has that ever stopped a generation or society from following a trend because of popularity or technologic need?
So, you be you and I’ll be me and my mark will be my proof of existence.
There is an old quote I heard many years ago that goes something like this;
“You can’t read the label from inside the jar.”
Each time I’m asked about strategic ideation or innovation labs and why I believe them to be such a powerful tools for clients, businesses and organizations I always remember the quote. Trying to find a solution or discover new opportunities when you are so close to the situation or the problem is usually highly improbable. You see, it’s very hard to challenge yourself with questions or perceptions that drive new discoveries. The reason is simply, we naturally avoid asking ourselves questions we don’t know the answers to.
In many cases, to discover fresh ideas, solve problems or uncover new opportunities, it requires someone outside your jar to challenge with questions, ideas or observations that may be beyond your normal sight lines or focus. Strategic ideation or innovation labs conducted by outside resources can assist with this type of challenging thinking, a type of thinking process that becomes a provocateur to historic patterns and beliefs.
So, if you trying to “think outside the box”, change the paradigm or have a desire to change course direction, then my suggestion to you is to seek out an outside specialist to help you to see what is written the other side of the label. When you can do that, then you can begin to discover the opportunities and solutions unseen before.
As Winnie the Pooh always says “Think Think Think” and see how.