What companies need, therefore, is a new approach to demand creation that actually enables — make that forces — a company to be what it says it is. To borrow the phrase architect Jon Jerde made famous, that discipline is placemaking. Places are what provide the primary means for companies to demonstrate exactly what they are for both current and potential customers. Companies that embrace placemaking understand a fundamental dictum for contending with authenticity: The experience is the marketing. In other words, the best way to generate demand for any offering — whether a commodity, good, service, other experience, or even a transformation — is for potential (and current) customers to experience that offering in a place so engaging that they can’t help but pay attention, and then pay up as a result by buying that offering. Stop saying what your offerings are through advertising, and start creating places — permanent or temporary, physical or virtual, fee-based or free — where people can experience what those offerings, as well as your enterprise, actually are
Ugh. Pine and Gilmore are famous for their concept/book “The Experience Economy: Work Is Theater & Every Business a Stage” – which posits, essentially, the death of the age of products and services and the rise of the age of elaborately staged customer experiences that suck in consumers and entice them to pay for those experiences. Gee, i wonder why business gets a bad rep?
It seems that Pine and Gilmore have made a (seemingly positive) shift to suggest that businesses, instead of advertising their staged experiences on trumped up billboard images that make the performance look better than it is, instead put the players themselves out on the sidewalk so that the customer can see a part of the actual performance, and thereby make an informed and authentic decision as to whether or not they want to pay for the full performance. This is a method, of course, that has been used for a long time in software – in the form of a time-limited trial period In other fields this is sometimes called “tryvertising.”
The loving post structuralist critique, however, would point out the fact that Pine and Gilmore seem to be missing a key implication of their own concept (and a valuable one) – that customers in “places” construct the conception of what “the enterprise actually is” – rather than just hear it from the company. And the loving post structuralist recommendation would then extend Pine and Gilmore’s idea to say that the smart enterprise will build “places” that allow the customers to express who the enterprise “is” – to explicitly involve them in the process that already occurs – rather than to continue to pretend that it doesn’t.
This of course is a key point for us to consider in a class on Interaction Culture. Our current culture of Interaction has enabled long-range, hyper-fast, persistent interactions through various connected digital technologies. From a post structuralist standpoint, we could say that identities are constructed for and with more people simultaneously, which means that a business, a person, or a software product has even less control (if they ever did at all) over who they “are.”