Searching for an Experience
We are no longer looking for entertainment. We are looking for an experience.
Every industry is undergoing the same challenge at the moment. A challenge that was brought on by the enormous technological innovations of the past decade. Whether it is the restaurant industry, whether it is movies or music, whether it is grocery shopping, consumers are no longer satisfied with quality. Quality is not a benchmark which sets competitors apart. Quality is an expectation.
It is what organisations do above this quality benchmark which provides differentiation for the customer . . . and that is where the ‘experience’ comes in.
The food industry is the best illustrator of this phenomenon and they have embraced it wholeheartedly (at the threat of otherwise being left out!). Quality food is important, but it is a simple expectation wherever you eat. No matter the location, we all expect the food to be good.
Innovators such as Heston Blumenthal have then looked to differentiate themselves beyond this quality mark – because everyone is doing quality food. All of a sudden the focus is turning beyond the plate. Does the ambiance of the restaurant reflect the meal? Are the customers transported to another location during this dining experience? Is there some extra novelty they weren’t expecting (e.g. the infamous meat fruit!)? Even the simple act of removing the barrier between the diners and the kitchen. All of a sudden, customers become audiences to a unique culinary show they can’t see at any other restaurant on any other night.
This experience chasing is defining all of our behaviour – even outside the culinary industry.
We can now interact with videos thanks to the latest technological advancements in 360 degree videos which place you right at the centre of the action and allow you to choose your journey through the video. Clothes shopping experiences have been revolutionised as theming is applied to the store creating a distinctive journey and discovery for customers. Even grocery shopping is focussing on the customer experience as supermarket giants can no longer get away with simply presenting the food they now have sushi chefs in the middle of the store preparing their products fresh (creating a entertainment experiences in their own right!). And now it is time for the theatre . . .
All audiences expect a show to be good. And why wouldn’t they with so many fantastic playwrights, composers, lyricists, directors and performers accessible around the world. The differentiation comes in the experience. Are you giving the audience an experience they cannot capture anywhere else? Because if they can get it somewhere else, chances are they will go there.
Can they be transported to a magical world as soon as they walk in the doors? Can you take over their phone once inside the theatre? Are they going to see something never-before-seen on stage – which is exactly what Hamilton is doing with its mash up of American history and rap!
More and more audiences demand experiences because they already expect quality. So, by all means, make sure your entertainment is in peak condition – but never forget the rest of the journey!