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[Podcast] The Customer Experience Economy with Joseph Pine II

[Podcast] The Customer Experience Economy with Joseph Pine II

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As a customer, you’re not buying the item. You’re buying the experience. Today, we have Joseph Pine II, co-author of The Experience Economy, on the show to discuss the importance of delighting your customer, along with some powerful examples that will help you “Design the TIME the customer spends with YOU”. If you work with people, then this episode is for you.

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Transcript (Auto Generated)

Hello, and welcome to JUST Branding, the only podcast dedicated to helping designers and entrepreneurs grow brands. Here are your hosts, Jacob Cass and Matt Davies.

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Well, welcome folks. Today we are in for a treat. We have Joe Pine with us.

Who is Joe Pine? He’s an internationally acclaimed author, speaker, and a management advisor to Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurial startups alike. He is the co-founder of Strategic Horizons, which is defined as a thinking studio dedicated to helping businesses conceive and design new ways of adding value to their economic offerings.

I first came across Joe and his book, The Experience Economy, which we’re going to be digging into. And it’s going to be super thrilling, I’m sure. So happy to have you on this show, Joe.

Welcome.

Thank you, Matt. It’s a pleasure to be with you and with Jacob.

Yeah. So Joe, just firstly on that point, I understand you wrote The Experience Economy in, was it 1999? But you’ve recently re-released it.

What’s going on there? Talk to us a little bit about the history of that.

Well, we re-released it for the second time or the third edition, if you will. So yes, we did originally write it in 1999. It’s, I mean, the concepts are so last century, except that we didn’t write about a fad.

We wrote about an enduring change in the economy. And so it is as Apple today. It’s more Apple today, in fact, than we first wrote in 1999.

We came out with an updated edition in 2011. And then, as you said, just re-released it a year ago with a new preview on this subtitle. I’ll show it up here.

Do my Vanna White impersonation. But competing for customer time, attention and money. Because those are the currencies of the experience economy.

And that’s what every company does today. As we shifted to an experience economy, is compete for customer time, attention and money.

So already folks, we can tell this is gonna be an exciting podcast. But before we get into all that, it would be great to know a little bit about you, your background, your business partner, just a little bit of your story, just so we can get a sense of where you’re coming from on all these things.

All right, well, we’ll try and give like the full long version, but I am a technologist from way back. My dad worked on the ARPANET, where we lived in Palo Alto. And when I was a kid and I actually used it, we had a teletype in our home.

And I won’t explain what it is, but look it up on Wikipedia, if you don’t know what a teletype is.

Yeah, I’m lost already.

I eventually got an applied mathematics degree, joined IBM and worked there for 13 years, first in technical jobs and moved up into management and strategy. And IBM as a sort of reward for a project we did in the S400 mini computer, they sent me to MIT for a year to get my master’s degree. And I found out that I had to do a thesis and I immediately said, well, I’m going to write a thesis that I can turn into a book.

And that’s what I did. I spent my whole year, this was 1991 there, basically writing a book, putting every assignment that I could into that. When it came time to write the thesis, I outlined a full book and said, okay, I think I can get this much done while I’m there.

And then I was able to get a contract with then Harvard Business School Press and joined a group at IBM, the IBM Advanced Business Institute, that actually gave me time to finish the book so that IBM could consult on it, on the ideas in it. And that came out in late 1992 as Mass Customization, the new frontier in business competition. So I still try and keep up with technology and what’s going on, but not nearly conversely as it was.

My MIT degree was a master’s in the management of technology. And so ever since actually in 1993 is when I left IBM to start out on my own, to found strategic horizons. And then, it’s now, what is this?

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26 and a half, 27 and a half years later, and my wife’s still not sure it’s gonna work out, but so far so good.

Yeah, my wife’s similar to me on that one, Joe. She’s never sure it’s gonna work out, but we keep plowing on, don’t we? We keep plowing on.

We’ll prove them right. We’ll prove them wrong one day, I’m sure. I’m not sure which way around that is, right or wrong, but hey, listen, so, you know, you’re obviously coming at these things, you know, from quite a high level, from a technical level, but talk to me about your business partner.

And did you form Strategic Horizons with him as well? And what does he bring to the party?

Yeah, not at first, actually. So Jim Gilmore, my business partner and coauthor on The Experience Economy, he comes out of a logistics background, and he worked for Procter & Gamble for a number of years. And then he joined the small boutique consulting company on logistics in Cleveland called the Cleveland Consulting Associates.

And that got bought eventually by CSC, Computer Sciences Corporation, became part of the huge consulting group that they had. But he told me that when he discovered my book on a bookstore shelf, right in the Cleveland area back in 1993, he said his reaction was, oh shoot, somebody else has already written it. And because he was thinking about these same things, about mass customization, about efficiently serving customers uniquely, giving everybody exactly what they want at a price they’re willing to pay.

That’s what mass customization is. So he actually sent me a letter. So this is, remember, this is 93, right?

So I had email at IBM, but most people didn’t have email that. So he sent me a physical letter, thanking me for writing the book, telling me how much he got out of it. He included a videotape that he had done in talking about mass customization in there using, I still remember Aaron the Shoeshine Man in the Kalamazoo Airport in Michigan that he went to all the time.

He remembers Aaron the Shoeshine Man as a great example of how you customize things for individuals. And so we got a chance to meet in the spring of that year, we discovered we were both in Chicago. So we met then, and then, you know, I hadn’t anticipated leaving IBM, but when they offered my wife and I both six months salary to do so, we said, hey, let’s see if we can make this work.

And then I realized I needed clients, right? So I said, who’s that guy in Cleveland? I remember this.

I looked up the letter, you know, contacted him and he hired me there on some projects and with clients as well as to do research on grocery stores in particular, which is one of their big client base. And that resulted in our first Harvard Business Review article together in 1995 on four types of masks, for the four faces of mask customization, it was called. So eventually we just got along so well.

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We loved doing this and working together that we decided to join up in January of 1996. So that is 20, 45, 25 years ago this month, right? Our official start, you know, he left then and we started working together, but we actually took his key marketing guy, Doug Parker, and he’s our managing partner.

Our business model was two gurus and a marketer, right? That’s what we wanted to go after. And so Doug is great at helping us do what we do and making everything happen.

So it was in March that we officially became a business and decided that we were a thinking studio. We didn’t want to be like a normal consulting company. We didn’t want to have a lot of hungry mouths to feed to be able to have to get business for, but just wanted to be two gurus, develop ideas, speak right in high places and speak and teach and consult on these things.

And so thinking studio really seemed like the right idea of what we’re about. So again, 25 years later, we’re still going strong, still collaborating and continue to work on and extending all of these ideas and new ideas and so forth.

Amazing.

Yeah, I had a quick question about that. I just want to know the process of how you’d work with a client, more or less. So is there a problem that a business comes to you specifically for, and then you help to find that problem and you go through the process, what’s that actually look like?

Well, it varies a lot. A lot of what I do is simply speaking, is somebody read the book, read an ID, had saw me speak or work with another client somewhere else and says, come in and share this with us so that they can excite and energize their own company around it. And so it’s often management meetings where I come in and do that, or association meetings where you have many companies that are there.

And then ones that want to go deeper than often work on a workshop basis is develop workshops that help define what it is that they want to do, go through our ideas and our frameworks, our principles, and then apply them to their business so that they develop ideas that they can then use to be able to change what they do. What we’re all about is helping people redesign their economic offerings to create greater economic value for their customers, which yields more value for themselves. So then sometimes it is an ongoing consulting relationship.

We also do coaching for Chief Experience Officers. We have a Certified Experience County Expert course that we teach. We have over 300 Certified Experience County Experts in the world.

We have an onstage frontline training video program for people in the frontline to be able to provide a great experience for their customers, no matter what is going on in the greater company. And then there are a number of companies that do work with on a more concerted basis. Right now I’ve got a client in California, for example, where I help them not just to think about their offerings, but think about the entire business and sort of draw out of them.

What is the meaningful purpose of this business, right? I think it’s very important for enterprises to have a meaningful purpose, allows them to align everything that they do with what their employees are getting out, their business partners and contractors and so forth. So, you have to tell people exactly what to do.

They know that they go in this direction, this north star of a meaningful purpose. So I help them do that and write a declaration for their company that puts meat on the bones of what it is. In addition to doing all the work on their offerings, their business model and so forth.

I’m starting tomorrow. I’ve got a three day morning, three morning workshop with a client in Turkey that wants to look at a, it’s a hospitality company. They want to look at a particular, a couple of their particular offerings and redesign those and then use that to more generalize.

Okay, how do we then change what we’re doing? And I have another client in Ukraine that I, first I started with a private Experience Economy Expert Certification course developed by a center of expertise on experiences. And now they just emailed this morning, in fact, and want me to work on greater education of a lot of their younger people in there to give them that, you know, at a higher level, give them the capability to be able to work on experiences and further their experience design.

And then we’re also going to then do a series of workshops that help really define or redefine what their offerings are and how to turn them into engaging, memorable, remarkable, even extraordinary experiences.

It’s fantastic because it’s really interesting, Jerry, because, you know, you’ve come at all of that from a different angle to perhaps what you would call brand people. But I think a lot of brand people are also looking at this from a strategic perspective and how they can add value to businesses. So you talk, for example, about laddering everybody, all the activities into a meaningful purpose.

You know, we do that all the time from a brand perspective, you know, from a strategic brand level. And I know before we came on air, you were like, I’m not a brand guy. I guess it depends what we mean by brand, because for me and Jacob, you know, brand is quite a strategic thing.

You know, I define it as the meaning people attach to you and your offer. And so that’s why I’m super interested in, you know, some of the stuff you talk about, because that isn’t just done through the logo and the fonts. You know, the brand isn’t a logo and a fonts, it’s something bigger.

It’s this kind of gut feeling as our good friend, Marty Neumeyer sort of defines it as. So it’s really interesting to hear you talk about that. Let’s dive into that really crucial thing that you specialize in, which is the experience side of things.

So I guess, first of all, why should businesses, you know, you’ve got these clients that come in to you for this, this advice, these workshops, this way of thinking, this mindset that they want their people to have. Why? Why should businesses and brands, I guess, think about experiences?

What’s so important about it?

Well, it’s important for everybody to understand what’s going on with experiences because we have shifted to this experience economy. So probably best if I start off by describing the core framework of our book, The Experience Economy, is what we call the progression of economic value and defines how economic value has changed over millennia, actually, because it starts with the agrarian economy, where we grow things on the ground, raise them on the ground, or pull out them on the ground and sell them on the open marketplace. I mean, that’s the basis of the agrarian economy that lasted for millennia.

Then thanks to the industrial revolution, we shifted into an industrial economy based off physical goods. We use commodities as the raw material to make or manufacture physical, tangible things for the standardized marketplace that’s out there. Then the latter half of the 20th century, we shifted into a service economy, where services became the predominant economic offering, overtook goods, just as goods overtook commodities.

And now we have shifted into an experienced economy. When the book first came out in 1999, we talked about the nascent experience economy, the forthcoming experience economy. Now you can tell it’s here, right?

It’s here. People want experiences over things. They recognize we’re sort of at peak stuff.

And in fact, the corona crisis, as we call it, has probably caused people to understand that even more so that they prefer experiences over things because we’re missing them so much, right? We’re missing the experiences that we can’t have right now. And we recognize it’s experiences, as research shows, purchasing experiences make people happier than buying things.

But it’s also what you said, Matt, it is about meaning. That’s the experience that we have with our loved ones that give life meaning, and therefore we want those. And so we have shifted an economy where experiences are the predominant economic offering.

And experiences are crucial to understand because we write this as clearly as we can in the book, but still some people particularly in UX, CX sort of field, right, branding probably too, don’t get this, which is that experiences are a distinct economic offering, as distinct from services as services are from goods. It’s basically use goods as props and services as a stage to engage each and every individual in an inherently personal way, and thereby create a memory, which is the hallmark of the experience. Right, if you have not created a memory, then you didn’t stage an experience.

You merely delivered a service. And that’s the crucial thing for people to understand, is that staging experiences is distinct. It’s a distinct economic offering from extracting commodities, making goods or delivering services.

Right, and if you’ve got a mindset as a business that I’m in a product business, or I’m in a service business, the problem that you’ve got there is you’re limiting the value you can offer to the customer, because you’re not thinking about this from a, you know, a dynamic perspective of, how can I create that valuable experience that will create the memory to your point? So that’s why I guess it’s so important for businesses to think like this. So how do you get to the point where you, you know, assuming you’ve got a leader who recognizes this, they need to create these experiences.

What do they kind of need to begin to do to think about to be able to create or stage these experiences?

Well, you used one of my favorite words a minute ago, which is mindset, right? You’ve got to have the right mindset. And it doesn’t have to start from the top, but it has to get within the organization because if you’re incredibly product centric, it’s all you think about is pushing things out and or like there’s many service companies, like particularly banks and financial services and insurance companies, they talk about products and services as if it were one word with five syllables, products and services.

And STAEDT recognized, no, these are distinct economic offerings. And so having that mindset to create more value and to go beyond goods and services is incredibly important. So then you need to think about what is it that we can do to stage experiences?

Some businesses are naturally in the experience business. You think about theme parks and sporting events, concerts, plays, experiences have always been around. They’re not a new economic offering, just newly identified.

And so for them, it’s sort of easy there. It really is just the mindset that says, okay, let’s recognize we are in fact in the experience business. And then you’re going to start to do things differently.

For service companies, the big thing is to understand the distinctions between services and experiences. And there’s two key ones to understand. One is it’s about time.

That what services are, is they’re about time well saved. Experiences are time well spent, right? And there’s a world of difference between the two.

With services, you want to save your customer’s time. You want them to spend as little as time as possible. You want it to be as convenient as possible.

You want to get them in and out as quickly as possible. But with experiences, you want them to actually value the time that they spend with you. And that alone is understanding.

Think about contact centers, right? Where people call in, right? The service mindset measures average handling time.

They want to reduce that so they’re more productive, recognizing what they’re saying is, we want to spend as little time with our customers as possible, right? That’s what that is. And therefore, your customers don’t want to spend time with you and that’s a self-commonetizing thing.

That’s what banks have done. They push people out of branches to use ATMs, use the voice response units, to use the app on the phone. And nobody wants to spend time in a bank anymore.

So now they’ve lost that opportunity to be able to spend quality time with their customers. So it is time well spent, not time well saved. The other big distinction between services and experiences, among many we could cite, is there’s between what and how.

That services are about the what. They’re the functional things that you have to get done. But experiences are about the how.

They’re how you go about doing that what. And you need to differentiate those two. So if you are in a service business, then absolutely, there’s things you’ve got to get done.

You’ve got to do the what. But then you need to focus on, okay, how do we go about doing that what? My favorite example being the Geek Squad, the 24-hour computer repair task force where they’re all dressed in costumes of a geek with the white shirts, the thin black ties, the ties are clip-on, just in case there’s an altercation.

The black pants and shoes with the white socks that really make that uniform pop. And then when you meet them, and they come to your home or to your office, the first thing you do, they say, Hi, I’m from the Geek Squad. Slowly step away from that computer, sir.

And then go about giving you a computer repair experience. And Robert Stevens, a friend of mine, the founder of the Geek Squad, talks about how he wants the computer repair experience to be so engaging that his customers can’t wait to the computers breakdown because they value that time. So that’s the distinction between what and how.

That how is really about theater. That when you are staging experiences, work is theater. And I don’t mean it as a metaphor.

It’s not work as theater. I literally mean that your work is theater. That when you are staging experience, you are on stage and you have to engage the audience in a way that, you have to perform in a way that engages that audience and creates that experience within them.

I’d 100% agree with that.

Could I ask for people that are running their own business, they may be solopreneurs or single business owners, for example, how can they actually integrate this into their business and provide that extra level of experience?

Well, the same thing applies whether you’re a one person company or a 100,000 person company. You have to understand those principles of theater and it brings to mind a place that, I know Matt, you’re in the UK and Jacob, you’re in Australia. So I’m just curious if you’ve ever heard of Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle?

I have been there, yes.

You’ve been there, Matt, you haven’t heard of it, right?

Jacob’s more well traveled than I.

Well, this is an actual fish stall, right? That employs 10, 15, 20 people. I’m not sure how many, right?

Not very many. And they put fish, these are commodities, right? You get them out of the ocean and put them on ice in an open air market.

But they do it with such wonderful theater as Jacob can attest to, that you have an amazing experience. And the amount of fish that they sell is far more than they would if they viewed it as that mundane service of just wrapping up the fish and doing transactions, right? Jacob, why don’t you talk about your experience there?

Yeah, so it’s kind of like a show, like you’re going into the fish market and there’s like people like yelling at, well, not yelling, but I guess they do chucking, yeah, shouting and like, yeah, just revving you up and they’re chucking fish back and forth like between people and it’s like juggling and just like they have a whole theatrical experience behind selling fish and there’s always a huge crowd and there’s like one particular fish stall and that is ingrained in my memory as well. So it does get people like get their attention. So that’s a great experience, great example.

I love that it’s ingrained in your memory. You’re never going to forget that, right? And there’s any company can do that even if it’s a one person company to be able to apply those principles of theater to be on stage.

Yeah, I mean, there’s loads of examples, I suppose you can bring to bear from the hospitality industry. You know, the barman that flicks the bottle around the back of his head and balances it on his nose before serving your shot. Right the way down to, you know, the person in the all-inclusive hotel that sings a jolly song while they’re flipping your omelets in the morning or whatever.

So I totally get it. And I guess it’s taking that principle and applying it to other aspects of business. It’s funny that you say, you know, I wanted to ask you about something around, you know, you mentioned time well saved versus time well spent.

And that’s a crucial distinction, isn’t it? Because if we are all attempting to design experiences around time well saved, then it’s a race against speed and life is fast already. So this is one thing I worry about with our UX friends.

You know, we’re trying to create digital user experiences that are just insanely fast and super easy to use. And may, you know, but is that really, as you say, Joe, what ultimately customers want? If we’re honest and we think about it, maybe we want more meaning and this idea of time well spent needs to be brought to bear.

Maybe it isn’t about saving time. Maybe it’s about creating something else that’s actually more interesting and valuable to the customer. What do you think about that, Joe, and this whole thing of UX experience?

Yeah, I hate it, but I hate it when people call that an experience, right? That’s not an experience. I mean, in English, the word is very expansive.

There’s nothing grammatically or etymologically wrong with calling it an experience, but it’s not an experience as a distinct economic offering. It’s not time well spent. But there are times when people want time well saved.

In fact, that people want goods and services to be commoditized so they can spend their hard earned money and their harder earned time on the experiences that they value. And it’s when you view that as an experience is when you really need to focus on that, on how you engage them over a period of time. Experience design is the design of time, right?

That’s the key point. Experience design is the design of time as architect John Jertie once wrote. And that applies to all of our apps, all of our things.

Let me recommend a book to you. If you haven’t seen this one or gotten this one, Computers as Theater by Brenda Laurel. This is her updated edition.

The cover is very, very wonky, but it’s a great, great book. And she talks in there about this. And then, so like she says here that thinking about interfaces is too small.

Designing human computer experience isn’t about building a better desktop, it’s about creating imaginary worlds that have a special relationship to reality. Worlds in which we can extend, amplify and enrich our own capacities to think, feel and act. And the basic thrusts of her book, she says, is think of the computer not as a tool, but as a medium.

Right, and that applies to your phone, that applies to apps as well. And then she quotes Don Norman. I don’t know if you know, Don Norman is the guy who coined the term user experience, right?

He invented UX. He’s a professor out in San Diego that I’ve met. And she quotes him as saying, Don Norman observes, quote, drama has always considered the multiple dimensions of experience, including one almost completely absent from the vocabulary of product and system designers and from computer design, which will include app design there.

And that is time, right? Time is that you have to design the time that customers spend with you. And in terms of on an app basis, what goes along with theater is that you need drama, right?

You need dramatic structure. You need to open up, to introduce people to the world that’s going on or to the app that they are using and bring it up to a climax and come back down again. That’s the way of engagement.

That’s the way to create time well spent.

So I’m thinking about this in terms of, from a creative background and presentations is part drama, right? You have to build up to your presentation and have that whole, I guess, theater to your work. So as you’re talking, I’m seeing how you can apply this to, I guess, designers or creatives or strategists, what the work that they do.

So in terms of like the experiences is, it’s not the what, which is your services, but the experience is just how. For us as designers or creatives, delivering that experience, like from all aspects of the customer journey, so your client and delivering that from say, like the initial proposal, having that really detailed and then delivering as like a presentation, having more of an experience. So like the person knows what they’re in for, for the rest of the experience.

Is this something that can be tied into, I guess this full, I’m trying to get to the question here, but like the experience of designers.

You’re getting the wonder, Jacob.

Yeah, I’m getting there. I’m thinking it through as I talk, but what we do is like create these experience throughout many touch points, when we’re delivering our work, right? We have so many touch points with these customers, like from the beginning, right to the end of like, when you sign off the client.

So how do we bring this theater into the work we do along all these touch points? Like when we don’t have these like, like a brick and mortar store to like a fish juggling show, or we don’t have the opportunity to have these big brand experiences as solo people, how do we bring this into our services? And from my perspective, I’m thinking about the customer journey in terms of like each of the presentations we do.

So that’s kind of like my long winded way to give you context of like where I’m coming from.

Well, the key is to understand that that customer journey needs to have dramatic structure. And it can be, it depends on what type of journey and how often they’re buying from you and what sort. You can think about it just as in a movie or play that rises up to that climax and comes back down.

You can think of it more as a serial, like Indiana Jones in The Raiders of the Lost Ark. It goes up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down with every interaction that you have. But over time, it’s still heading towards that up and then back down.

You can think of the end of that dramatic structure, of course, is the beginning of the next one that rises up again with your next interaction with them. So you think about it overall as a customer journey, think about it as a fractal, a pattern that repeats itself with every interaction you have with them, ideally. And think about it also as sort of a, you know, as a transmedia story, if you know that term, that is being told across all the different media by which you interact, whether it’s a live conversation in a retail store, whether it’s a phone conversation, an email interaction, a chat room on the website, an email that comes in, an ad that you see, right?

All of that has to exhibit what we call matching theater. It all has to match together to yield a full story. And one of the things we talk about in the book is these different ways of thinking about dramatic structure.

And you can think, I just did for one client, I worked with them on creating the hero’s journey, right? That the customer journey is a hero’s journey and came out from them saying to me, they said, you know, when they come to us, our customers are on a quest. And as soon as he said quest, I thought of the hero’s journey, you know, from Joseph Campbell, 12 stage model.

I never used it with a client before, but sat down and looked at it and mapped it out and say, you know, here are the 12 stages, right? This is your customer journey from one interaction to another and it was a beautiful model to do it. Often I use a seven stage model, which is known as a fry tug diagram.

If you go to theater school, everybody learns fry tug diagrams. And actually I got it from Brendan Laurel’s book, Computers is Theater. She’s the one that introduced me to fry tug diagrams.

And I actually use the way that she shows it. There are many different representations of fry togs. I don’t know exactly, I was gonna pull it up, but I don’t know exactly where it is.

Here it is in the book. Right, so here’s, you can see my post-it notes saying, ooh, this is good, right? So here’s a fry tug diagram that starts with an inciting incident or with the exposition where you introduce people into the play, into the movie, into the relationship, into the app, whatever it might be.

You have an inciting incident where the action goes off, the rising action as things get more and more complicated, more and more intense, the crisis where all the obstacles that the hero has to overcome in order to save the day, then you’ve got that climax of the experience. You never have a great climax unless you earn it through all of this work, right? So many people, they’re afraid of drama, they’re afraid of suspense, right?

They would say, no, our customers just want what they want, give it to them. And then in which case they have very flat experiences and you never rise up, right? But then it’s also, it’s not shows over, rides done, go home.

You got to come back down again with the following action where you see the consequences of that climax play out. And then you have the denouement, right? The denouement is the tying together of the plot threads.

So that’s one way. You can think of it as a three structure or a three stage model of beginning, middle, and end as a story or Disney terms of pre-show, show, post-show. Or you can think of one stage model as a signature moment.

What’s the one thing you’re known for? Like at the Geek Squad, the signature moment is showing the badge. At the Pike Place Fish Market, it’s throwing the fish.

But what I recommend, and particularly what you were talking about Jacob, is a five stage model. And I got this five stage model from a Dublin group in Chicago. It’s now part of Deloitte.

And one of our Certified Experience Economy experts, Cathy MacDonald, took it and modified it to make it alliterate with all E’s and we added ing words, because ing words means you’re experiencing things. So it’s basically five stages. It is enticing, then entering, engaging, exiting, and extending.

So think about it, so if you, the brand communication that you’re talking about, how do you entice people to want to interact with you? How do you entice people to begin this relationship? How do you get them to get that awareness, get them to know about you?

And ideally it should be an experience in and of itself, because in today’s experience economy, the experience is the marketing. The best way to generate demand for any offering, whether it’s commodity goods, service, or another experience, is with an experience so engaged that people can’t help but pay attention to you, spend their time with you, and then give you their money as a result. So you want those enticing experiences to be marketing experience, to generate demand.

Then entering, what’s the first thing that happens when they enter into your place, or they call you up on the phone, or they go to your website. And the first thing a lot of websites have is, sign up for our newsletter, right? Get in the way of what you want.

I don’t think that’s good design.

And then the third stage is engaging. Obviously, if it’s all experiential, you gotta be engaging them all the way across, but this is the meat of it. This is what comes up to that climax, is that engaging.

Is how do you get them to want to be there, get them to interact with you, the theater that you create and so forth. And then the exiting, what’s the last thing that happens? Daniel Kahneman’s peak end rule is, is you put your most money in the peak, the climax, the engaging, and then in the end, because that’s what people remember, is they’ll remember that end.

And then extending, then how do you, after they’re done interacting with you, how do you extend that? So it comes back around as just another enticement to get into that relationship again, as well as to get them to tell other people about it. And that’s often the result of, in physical places of physical memorabilia that you want to have to remind you of an experience, but it can also take the form of shared media, that how do you get them to post on it?

How do you get them to interact with you, take selfies, and tell other people about it and share it, which extends their memories against let other people know about it. So that’s probably the model that would recommend the most in branding is think about these five E’s of five stages of experience.

That’s brilliant. And it’s like a mindset thing, isn’t it? Like, I guess if you were looking at it and you were thinking, okay, I’m a designer, I’m a creative, I’m a strategist, and I’m going to go into this presentation, how would people, you know, what would it take to get someone to share this experience in social media?

Like, what would that look like? And that comes from, I love the, I use that approach, Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, a lot with my clients, because what you’re doing is, you know, from the perspective of the customer is the hero, right? So the customer’s going through this beginning, middle, and as Aristotle, Aristotle, Aristotle put it, and his sort of dramatic structure, which really, I don’t know if you’d agree with this, Jacob and Joe, but for me, it’s kind of like, it’s like before change, during change and after change.

That’s basically the, that’s why we’re in love with stories, I would suggest, as a human, because we’re all dealing with change all the time. So here’s the thing, when people come to brands, they’re looking for something, they’re looking to achieve something, overcome something, become something. And so they’re looking for a change.

It might be a small change or it might be a big change. Now, as they’re going through that, how can you make that interesting and different? And to your point, Jacob, just to share some of my kind of thoughts on this, as a strategist, I know that a lot of people could get probably some similar service that I offer to my clients from other people, right?

But why do they come to me? And I always think it is like what you were saying, Joe, it’s the experience, right? If I could use that, it’s the Matt Davies experience, it’s the beard, it’s the British sort of self-deprecating entertainment and fun, but also it’s hopefully coupled with that, something that’s challenging and educational as well.

And so those things come together to be the Matt Davies thing. And that’s hard for anyone else to sort of steal. And that’s where I want to kind of touch on just maybe towards our final kind of point, this idea of differentiation, because I guess if you design it or your experiences as a business in a replicable way that is valuable to your customer base, hard to replicate because it’s so you, I guess people can’t easily steal it.

You’re differentiated in the marketplace. So have you found that that is kind of a key driver as well? You mentioned the value is created.

Is the value created because businesses start to be a bit more different and their customers love them for that?

Yeah, and the way I phrase it is one of the dynamics in this progression of economic value is in fact, commoditization. Commoditization means you don’t have any differentiation. They are the same as everybody else.

That people want to buy you on price. And that’s what companies have to constantly fight because commoditization is like the law of gravity. If you do nothing over time, you’re gonna be commoditized.

You have to proactively counteract that to be differentiated. And that’s the key thing that you’re talking about is how do you be differentiated and avoid that commoditization trap?

Absolutely. Last question. Well, there’s probably two questions, but I’ll just ask you this one.

Top tips for anybody building a brand, kind of working in this space of trying to create value for customers. What would your top tips be from your perspective?

Well, it’s things that we’ve talked about. So number one is that mindset issue, that you use the term again, is that take on the mindset that you are in the business of staging experiences, right? That is distinct from services.

And not that you stop producing and selling services, even if you’re a manufacturer, not that you stop manufacturing goods, but you subsume them within this experience that you stage for your customers. And so that’s number one. And then two is then understand those distinctions that we talked about between time well saved services, time well spent experiences and design the time your customer spend with you.

And don’t think of, I have to reduce it, think about, and it doesn’t mean that you want it to be, you know, infinite either, there’s a limit to what makes sense, but design the time the customer spend with you, with your website, with your app, with your product as a user designer, right? What’s the design of that time? And then understand the difference between what and how.

You still gotta do the same what’s you’re doing before when you’re in the service business, but those you want to commoditize, those you want to spend as little time on, so you then have that extra value of the experience that you create. And then the last thing I’ll mention is what we talked about in the new edition of the book, the re-release of it, it came out in 2020, is that there are five qualities of experiences that you wanna design too. And that is you want to design and stage experiences that are robust, cohesive, personal, dramatic, and even transformative, right?

We talked about dramatic, obviously, with the theater and that. Personal relates to the customization. How I originally discovered this progressive economic value is recognizing that customization is the antidote to commodization, that it lifts you up like commodization drags you down and automatically turns goods into services and services into experiences.

So the more personal you are with your customers, the more you design exactly for them, spend time in designing what it is they want, then you’re gonna be differentiated and you’re gonna be able to create that memory within them more readily. Being cohesive is all about the theme. And that’s often the first place to start is, is to have a theme or simply the organizing principle for the experience.

It allows you to decide what’s in the experience versus what’s out of the experience. And, and you know, theming often has a bad name in terms of like theme restaurants where it’s in your face or theme parks where it’s fantasy and that, but again, it’s simply the organizing principle of the experience. So, and when you, when that theme actually applies, Matt, to the entire company, the entire organization, that’s when it actually can arrive, to arrive to the level of a meaningful purpose.

And I’ve worked with a number of companies where originally I was working on themes and all of a sudden I realized, well, hey, this really is the purpose of the organization. And it’s something that you want to last for decades, not just to be a tagline that comes in and out. So I think that’s very important.

The robust quality is all about hitting what we call the sweet spot of the experience. And this is like what you were talking about with the Matt Davies experience, which is there are four realms of experience of entertainment, educational, escapist and aesthetic. And aesthetic with an E, because this is our 4E model, not aesthetic with an AE.

But what you wanna do is hit the sweet spot, have aspects of all four realms of those experiences. And then it will be a robust experience, a robust, cohesive, personal, dramatic, and then even transformative. And this gets back to what you said, Matt, about customers desiring change, right?

Customers have aspirations. They’re in this progression of economic value. There is one more level because experiences can be commoditized, been there, done that.

That’s the hallmark of a commoditized experience. What happens when you customize an experience, it takes you up to the next level of design, what we often call a life-transforming experience or an experience that changes us in some way. And that we call a transformation, right?

So transformative experiences where we are all the product of our experiences, we only ever change through our experiences. So how do you design this set of experience to help somebody achieve their aspiration? Whether that’s to go from flabby to fit in a fitness center, whether it’s go from sick to well in a hospital, whether it’s to go from poor branding to having a great brand with consultants, right?

Consultants are really in the transformation business and need to view themselves in that way. And so that’s the highest level in this progression of economic value to think about particularly when you sell to other businesses because no business wants your offering, wants to buy your offering because they want your offering, it’s about a means to an end. And if you sell the end rather than the means, then you’ll gain much more economic value for it.

So think about staging even transformative experiences.

Boom, boom, that was awesome. And I would just say with the Matt Davies experience, you’re probably not getting much good aesthetic with my face turning up, but the rest of them aren’t.

Oh no, finely groomed. You gotta have that finely groomed beard. That’s a key part of it.

That’s why I grow my beard over my face, so hopefully it hides it.

And I love the whole black and white aesthetic. That really renders authenticity in what you’re doing.

That’s because, I’ll let you into a little secret here, Joe, talking of experiences. I go red really quickly. So when Jacob said to me, Matt, can we start this podcast?

I said, on one condition, we go black and white, so that when I start going red, no one can tell. He said, done. So that was that.

One final, final, final, final question, and that is where can people find you if they wanna talk to you, engage with you, get your books?

Sure, sure. So you can link in with me, right? Joe Pine, J-O-E-P-I-N-E.

You can follow me on Twitter, at joepine. You can go to our website, strategichorizons.com, right, strategichorizonswithanest.com, and there you can get access to all our books, for our certification course, our onstage training again, which, Jacob, to your question earlier, like any solopreneurs, right, they should take onstage themselves, right, and work on their own business and own that, because it really teaches them how to perform and how to be onstage. And so everything’s on the website there, that’d be the key thing to go to.

And obviously you can search for my name and go to Amazon, you’ll find all the books and everything. And we never even got to talk about authenticity, which is the one book I have that actually talks about branding, but, you know.

Next time, yeah, we need a part, we need a part two. Seriously, like that was absolutely wonderful. And I would definitely recommend Joe’s books to any listeners that want to kind of get into the customer experience and really dig into that side of kind of a strategic brand thinking.

Joe, Jacob, any final words to Joe before we say goodbye to him?

Wayne, can you come back for the second one?

Thanks so much, Joe. We really appreciate your time.

My pleasure, thank you.

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