Create a Great Experience

in leadership. 1 Comment

It’s been a while since I last read Joe Pine and Jim Gilmore’s book The Experience Economy. If you haven’t read this book, trust me. Go buy it and start reading it right now. If you have a product or service that you offer (we all do, whether in business, church, entrepreneur, or the non profit arena), it is imperative that you grasp the context of the Experience Economy.

I am reminded of it because in a conversation recently someone asked me how I would recommend they keep their product from becoming a commodity. From just being lumped in with all the other similar products in their space, and being seen as just an option instead of the only option, the best option, and the option that is always recommended. Where price determines what the consumer chooses vs. other factors like emotionconnection, and memories.

In the book, Pine and Gilmore lay out the four levels of economic value : commoditiesgoodsservices, and experiences. Progression happens by moving from commodity to experience. Think about coffee. Coffee beans are a commodity, ground coffee is a good, a cup of coffee at dinner is a service, and a latte at a trendy cafe in Manhattan is an experience.

Or about birthday parties for kids- a cake is a commodity, a customized cake is a good, a birthday party with friends is a service, and a full fledged laser tag birthday celebration is an experience. Think about Apple stores. Disney World. You get the point.

The question is how are you creating an experience with the product or service that you offer? How are you allowing your customer to be so engaged with your product that they connect emotionally? Does your product or service creates memories for your customer? Do they want to tell their friends? Is your tribe willing to purchase or buy from you above all others?

There is also a fifth level of economic value, which is transformation. Incredibly hard to reach this level, but our goal should be to get there. Which correlates to our personal and spiritual lives, where transformation and being conformed to the image of Christ should be our goal.


  1. Bonnie Clark says:

    This post reminds me of “The Ten Faces of Innovation: IDEO’s strategies for beating the devil’s advocate and driving creativity throughout your organization” By Thomas Kelly.

    In the book he talks about being an EXPERIENCE ARCHITECT, where a good Experience Architect sets the stage for positive encounters with your organization through products, services, digital interactions, spaces or events. They design not only for customers, but also for employees. Their experiences stand out from the crowd. They engage your senses. They fend off the ordinary wherever they find it. They view the world as a stage. They believe in the movable feast – bringing services or products “nearer” to their customers. They see services and even products as journeys to be mapped. Finally, they have a talent for finding the experience in everything, even what otherwise seem to be the most run-of-the-mill products.

    He says Experience Architects know how to focus their energy. If you set out to make everything better about your product or service, you may end up with a gold-plated offering that few customers can afford, or with unfocused features few will fully appreciate. So start by asking what’s truly important to your customer. The answer may be something small, irrational, elusive and completely surprising. But finding that answer is often crucial to your success. It’s often just one or two essential elements or trigger points. (e.g. hotels: quality of the bed, quality of the alarm clock)

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