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The Experience Economy: Work Is Theater & Every Business a Stage

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You are what you charge for. And if you're competing solely on the basis of price, then you've been commoditized, offering little or no true differentiation. What would your customers really value? Better yet, for what would they pay a premium? Experiences. The curtain is about to rise, say Pine & Gilmore, on the Experience Economy, a new economic era in which every You are what you charge for. And if you're competing solely on the basis of price, then you've been commoditized, offering little or no true differentiation. What would your customers really value? Better yet, for what would they pay a premium? Experiences. The curtain is about to rise, say Pine & Gilmore, on the Experience Economy, a new economic era in which every business is a stage, and companies must design memorable events for which they charge admission.


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You are what you charge for. And if you're competing solely on the basis of price, then you've been commoditized, offering little or no true differentiation. What would your customers really value? Better yet, for what would they pay a premium? Experiences. The curtain is about to rise, say Pine & Gilmore, on the Experience Economy, a new economic era in which every You are what you charge for. And if you're competing solely on the basis of price, then you've been commoditized, offering little or no true differentiation. What would your customers really value? Better yet, for what would they pay a premium? Experiences. The curtain is about to rise, say Pine & Gilmore, on the Experience Economy, a new economic era in which every business is a stage, and companies must design memorable events for which they charge admission.

30 review for The Experience Economy: Work Is Theater & Every Business a Stage

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    This book helped stretch my thinking on how businesses can differentiate themselves. Some notes: Mass customizing - efficiently serving customers uniquely - means producing only and exactly what individual customers want. Mass customizing any good automatically turns it into a service. Mass customizing any service automatically turns it into an experience. Embrace theatre as a model for performance. What would you do differently if you charged for admission? When a customer buys an experience, he This book helped stretch my thinking on how businesses can differentiate themselves. Some notes: Mass customizing - efficiently serving customers uniquely - means producing only and exactly what individual customers want. Mass customizing any good automatically turns it into a service. Mass customizing any service automatically turns it into an experience. Embrace theatre as a model for performance. What would you do differently if you charged for admission? When a customer buys an experience, he pays to spend time enjoying a series of memorable events that a company stages to engage him in an inherently personal way. Esthetic: what would make guests want to come in, sit down, and just hang out? (Grand Canyon, Rainforest Cafe) Escapist: draws guests in further as they become active participants (AOL, Aladdin Magic Carpet Ride) Educational: active learning by the guests (UPENN) Entertainment: passive enjoyment of an experience where guests only respond (movies) Five principles of THEMEing: 1. Theme the experience 2. Harmonize the impressions with positive cues. 3. Eliminate the negative cues. 4. Mix in memorabilia 5. Engage the 5 senses You are what you charge for. Variety means producing and distributing product choices to outlets in hopes that customers will buy them. Customization means producing in response to a particular customer's desires. Companies should charge based on the value they add. Not the costs they incur. Customer Sacrifice = what customer wants exactly - what customer settles for Customer Surprise = what customer gets to perceive - what customer expects to get Customer Suspense = what a customer does not yet know - what they remember from the past Stages of Story: Exposition, Inciting Incident, Rising Action, Crisis, Climax, Fallingg Action, Denouement Any offering increases in value when the worker on stage fills their activity with intention. Finish the description of any activity with "in order to..." Create transformation in your customers. The highest order of an economic offering. Experiences are memorable. Transformations are effectual. Commodities: you charge for stuff Goods: you charge for tangible things Services: you charge for the activities you execute Experiences: you charge for the time customers spend with you Transformations: you charge for the demonstrated outcome the customer achieves Businesses create value through: Origination - something new Execution - something done Correction - something improved Application - something used

  2. 4 out of 5

    Gretchen Rubin

    This is an absolutely fascinating look at the business of experience. I've become very interested in this, because of my interest in the senses.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    I really enjoyed this. It made me think about, not only what I was doing for other people, but what I actually experience when I go to a restaurant or store. The Experience Economy will stick with me for a long time.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Marian Deegan

    These smart HBR guys crafted a hard-to-find, dense, and not-so-easy-to-wade-through but definitive analysis of the sea-change that occurred in the business world fifteen years ago. Reading this book then revolutionized the way I thought about marketing and selling. At the forefront of the new horde of business Paul Reveres trumpeting the transformation from "commodity" to "service" to "experience", Pine and Gilmore present a carefully researched and supported analysis. As you chart a business These smart HBR guys crafted a hard-to-find, dense, and not-so-easy-to-wade-through but definitive analysis of the sea-change that occurred in the business world fifteen years ago. Reading this book then revolutionized the way I thought about marketing and selling. At the forefront of the new horde of business Paul Reveres trumpeting the transformation from "commodity" to "service" to "experience", Pine and Gilmore present a carefully researched and supported analysis. As you chart a business course for the future, it's always helpful to understand where we've been. This read is highly informative for anyone charged with attracting and cultivating clients, and that's everyone who is in business.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lamec Mariita

    This book will stretch your head in new dimensions. It takes a very logical and reasoned approach towards the theoretical next steps of economic expansion. The concept of the book is simple and the logic is understandable. If you're looking for a lesson on the difference between commodities, goods, services and experiences, then this book will provide it. It's a nice book to read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Eka Guledani

    The main idea is very clear at the beginning and can be expressed in two phrases, the rest of the book is just blah-blah and annoying examples. Three stars because, still, the main thought of this book is strong and useful.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    Slow starting, but profound insights into business strategy and market prospects with tools for engagement that extend well beyond the realm of business. Highly recommend.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bruce

    This book is an odd grab bag of ideas: many that are interesting and some that are downright bizarre. The heart of the book is Chapter 8 Now Act Your Part, which tells how to run your enterprise like improvised street theater or the Commedia dellarte. I found the why you should do it a little harder to swallow. It seemed to be how to be a success in business by being so entertaining that people should want to pay you an admission price just to browse in your store. Eventually youll build This book is an odd grab bag of ideas: many that are interesting and some that are downright bizarre. The heart of the book is “Chapter 8 Now Act Your Part,” which tells how to run your enterprise like improvised street theater or the Commedia dell’arte. I found the why you should do it a little harder to swallow. It seemed to be how to be a success in business by being so entertaining that people should want to pay you an admission price just to browse in your store. Eventually you’ll build yourself up to the point where you transform your customers’ lives, at a premium price, of course, because you’re so well rehearsed, and as a result so good at it they won’t mind paying top dollar. Towards the end they go all evangelical quoting Jesus, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel.” This is cited as an example of an excellent statement of strategic intent. Apparently they missed the part in that gospel that states flatly, “You cannot serve God and Money” (Luke 16:13 NIV)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Stewart

    As a theater person (at least in the past and randomly in the present at times) and an event designer/planner, this was the perfect metaphor for me. Making business "theater" by carefully crafting an experience for people resonated deeply with me. I was especially impressed with the sheer volume of good examples. I use to joke that I was going to buy the website nostupidevents.com to try to help people break out of the monotony of the speaker/food/mingle cycle, but if any planner (or business As a theater person (at least in the past and randomly in the present at times) and an event designer/planner, this was the perfect metaphor for me. Making business "theater" by carefully crafting an experience for people resonated deeply with me. I was especially impressed with the sheer volume of good examples. I use to joke that I was going to buy the website nostupidevents.com to try to help people break out of the monotony of the speaker/food/mingle cycle, but if any planner (or business for that matter) applied these principles, I don't think they would have the issue of being boring and forgettable. The last several chapters seemed less valuable to me. The hit big at the beginning and then just kept going and going. Which seems to be pretty normal with business books because people don't usually make it through the entire thing.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Anthony

    An interesting view on a business. Working for a hotel, I can acknowledge that facilities don't mean as much as a total guest experience, and one of the more significant parts is friendly human interaction. That couples with a strong Customer Relationship Database is an unbeatable formula for a successful property. My key points: -"Customer sacrifice is the gap between what individual customers settle for (in buying mass produced goods and services) and what each wants exactly." -Think of a An interesting view on a business. Working for a hotel, I can acknowledge that facilities don't mean as much as a total guest experience, and one of the more significant parts is friendly human interaction. That couples with a strong Customer Relationship Database is an unbeatable formula for a successful property. My key points: -"Customer sacrifice is the gap between what individual customers settle for (in buying mass produced goods and services) and what each wants exactly." -Think of a business as a theater. -Time is the currency of experiences. -"workers need to understand that in the Experience Economy every business is a stage, and therefore work is theatre." -" Most parents do not take their kids to Walt Disney World only for the venue itself but rather to make the shared experience part of everyday family conversations for months, or years, afterward." -Customers seek experience, not commodities. -"activities—some old, some new, but all engaging: houseboating, portaging, mountain biking, cattle driving, bobsledding, tall ship sailing, tornado chasing, canyoneering, wagon training, seal viewing, iceberg tracking, puffin birding, race car driving, hot-air ballooning, rock climbing, spelunking, white-water rafting, canoeing, heli-hiking, hut-to-hut hiking, whale kissing, llama trekking, barnstorming, land yachting, historic battle reenacting, iceboating, polar bearing, and dogsledding." -"Those that thrive will do so because they treat their economic offering as a rich experience—and not a glorified good or celebrated service—and will stage it in a way that engages the individual and leaves behind a memory." -"Remember that staging experiences is not about entertaining customers; it's about engaging them." -"Time: Traditional, contemporary, or futuristic representations of the theme Space: City/country, East/West (to which we might add North/South), home/business, and indoor/outdoor representations Technology: Handmade/machine-made and natural/artificial representations Authenticity: Original or imitative representations Sophistication: Yielding refined/unrefined or luxurious/cheap representations Scale: Representing the theme as grand or small" -"offstage personnel to answer phones so that front-desk staff won't have to interrupt face-to-face conversations with paying guests to field telephone calls; make sure bellmen and maids perform their tasks unobtrusively; and so forth. Only then will their guests be made to feel truly at home" -Develop memorabilia -"Consider other such per-period possibilities. Imagine paying a company an annual fee to carefully manage an ever-changing mix of toys as part of a child development offering—instead of family and friends showering children with too many (inevitably unused) toys." -"The surest way to provide poor service is to walk every client through the same rote, impersonal routine, never varying, no matter who the individual client is or what he really needs. " -" After all, customer satisfaction really measures market, and not individual customer, satisfaction. Few managers bother to scrutinize the individual results. They just view a few “CustSat” numbers that supposedly represent various market segments. They design surveys to ease tabulation, and not to gain true insight into customer-specific wants and needs, and all the customers who bother to fill one out know that they will gain no direct benefit." -While companies employ total quality management (TQM) techniques to drive up customer satisfaction, they must employ Mass Customization techniques to drive down customer sacrifice. -same way that Amazon.com does. Would you switch? No way! It would take you months to teach this new company what Amazon.com already knows. In the meantime, you would miss out on many custom recommendations that the new company would neglect to make while it was still learning your needs. -Greater revenue per customer: Because you know more about each customer than does any competitor, customers keep coming back to you every time they enter the market for what you offer. -Mass Customization bids us to return to an axiom frequently ignored in the homogenized world of Mass Production: every customer is unique, and all deserve to have exactly what they want at a price they are willing to pay. -time they check in to a Ritz-Carlton hotel (“King size or two doubles? Low floor or high floor?”), the chain established a less intrusive means of learning about individual needs. Its associates observe the preferences that individual guests manifest or state during each stay, whether it be for hypoallergenic pillows, contemporary jazz radio stations, or perhaps even Pepsi over Coke. The company then stores that information in a database and uses it to form a learning relationship with individual guests, thus eliminating unnecessary service intrusions on subsequent visits. The more frequently someone stays in Ritz-Carlton hotels, the more the company learns, and the more customized -f businesses, from airlines to parking garages, from credit card companies to coffee bars. Designed to foster customer loyalty, these programs in fact have a fatal flaw: they encourage customers to expect free goods and services. -To truly differentiate themselves, businesses must focus first on increasing customer satisfaction, then on eliminating customer sacrifice, and finally on creating customer surprise. -They execute their day-to-day responsibilities as mere happenings; their work is lifeless. To engage customers in the Experience Economy, act as if your work depended on it!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Andy M

    This book offers a convincing argument extended too far. I read the whole book, and it's clear that the original business journal article written by the authors was padded to become book length. Publishers are often reluctant to publish pamphlets for fear of putting out a competing product that puts a downward pressure on the prices of actual books, and books like this are the result.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Devin Partlow

    This book goes a little further than expected. Just when you think the experience economy is the goal, wait there's more! Kinda weird that most of the book was dedicated on how to make great experiences when there's an economy even better (allegedly).

  13. 5 out of 5

    Wade M

    Good book, but highly repetitive

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    A great book for entrepreneurial minds, who realise that 21st century business is more than simply goods and services. Over the course of reading the book I've come to realise that I have instinctively come to similar conclusions myself, over the course of studying business management. It was nevertheless nice to see so much information about experiential business and marketing codified in the form of various models and theories, succinctly presented and backed up with ample real life examples. A great book for entrepreneurial minds, who realise that 21st century business is more than simply goods and services. Over the course of reading the book I've come to realise that I have instinctively come to similar conclusions myself, over the course of studying business management. It was nevertheless nice to see so much information about experiential business and marketing codified in the form of various models and theories, succinctly presented and backed up with ample real life examples. Critics of Pine and Gilmore's influential book point out that the concepts presented here do not stand up to rigorous methodological scrutiny, and sure, in that sense the book is far from being a bona fide business textbook. But I believe that knowledge comes in all shapes and forms, not solely in the form of scientifically rigorous, objectivist, empirical data. For me personally, the fact that the book has managed to greatly influence my thinking, allowing me to spot the principles outlined here being used in marketing communications all around me, is evidence enough of the book's usefulness.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Larisa

    The book is not only informative but transformative. I gives you new perspectives on what any business should have as an end goal. "You really are what you charge for. If you charge for - stuff, then you are in the commodity business - tangible things, then you are in the goods business - the activities you execute, then you are in the service business. - the time customers spend with you, then you are in the experience business. - the demonstrated outcome the customer achieves, then and only then are The book is not only informative but transformative. I gives you new perspectives on what any business should have as an end goal. "You really are what you charge for. If you charge for - stuff, then you are in the commodity business - tangible things, then you are in the goods business - the activities you execute, then you are in the service business. - the time customers spend with you, then you are in the experience business. - the demonstrated outcome the customer achieves, then and only then are you in the transformation business." Also, as the title reveales, the book showcases how to offer and how to stage experiences.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Taylor Smith

    Loved the concept of this book. Parts of it toed the line of being too theatre-focused and losing the reader, but I thought that there were 4 or 5 compelling frameworks and ideas that will be game changing in terms of how I approach building my own business (demand chain, "the product is the customer", etc). As a reader, be prepared to do some critical thinking to tie the concepts in this book to your day to day. If you're willing to put in the work, the book is worth its weight in gold.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Karina

    I absolutely adored the epilogue. Wouldn't have given it 4 stars without out. That's the issue with this book though. It has some brilliant, thought provoking moments. But then it overextends it's examples, causing it to drag. I found some of the theories to be a little too extreme, but overall I feel like the ideas in this book can be used for both life and business conservatively.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Hardy

    I think that this is an effective frame for viewing the evolving economy and has been helpful for me as I have considered industries and opportunities of the future. They took the work as theatre idea further than was helpful for me, but I think the overall mentality is important.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    There's a lot of interesting content and it's organized well, but it reads very much like a textbook. The authors were clever by adding "intermission" and "encore" sections, but the book itself feels more like a good or a service than an experience.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Libby

    Good book overall. Definitely helpful for the work that I do as I feel like Im constantly thinking about how to create a better college visit experience for students. Anyone who works in a people facing job, which is a lot, I think this book has a lot of helpful tips. Good book overall. Definitely helpful for the work that I do as I feel like I’m constantly thinking about how to create a better college visit experience for students. Anyone who works in a people facing job, which is a lot, I think this book has a lot of helpful tips.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kunal

    Although what the author wants to say is phenomenal, this sadly became the management book which just uses a plethora of examples and use cases just to make one single point. A read through the Author's article on HBR was enough to grasp what the book wanted to say.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Brilliant! Mind changing!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Harry Li

    Good concept but lacking depth.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Chiara

    It contains a lot of information that could be interesting if read by the right people. Unfortunately it talks more about theater than about its application in the economy.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Brian Nicholson

    The Experience Economy makes the point that economic value has progressed over the decades from the extraction of commodities, to the making of goods, to the delivering of services, to the creation of experiences, and ultimately to the promise of transformation. I found that general construct, and its related points, helpful in thinking through how a marketing agency and my marketing clients might be encouraged to move up that value ladder. The main reason for a 3-star rating is that the The Experience Economy makes the point that economic value has progressed over the decades from the extraction of commodities, to the making of goods, to the delivering of services, to the creation of experiences, and ultimately to the promise of transformation. I found that general construct, and its related points, helpful in thinking through how a marketing agency and my marketing clients might be encouraged to move up that value ladder. The main reason for a 3-star rating is that the unabridged Audible version I listened to was quite bloated, with very long stretches of dull material. There were also places where I thought the authors stretched the idea of how every business is a stage and every job a role in the theater. I recommend a standard edition of the book, which might be much tighter and offer more value for the time invested. There's good material in here if you have a more tightly edited version than I did.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Stark

    This is a must read for anyone who runs a business. I'm serious. Anyone. Who. Runs. A. Business.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Fkupfer Kupfer

    Good reference book, although not as groundbreaking or relevant as when it was first released. It is full of examples from various industries.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michael Tarpinian

    Interesting book about using mass customization and using elements of theater in selling commodity type goods and services.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

    Fantastic. Businesses can get so much value from following the authors' advice.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Timur

    This book has a great underlying theme... But the book is itself is truly awful

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