Austin's unique "BE"

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

“Locate, Engage, Wow!”

-- As told by ATXEquation student Amarette Edmonson --

“An experience occurs when [an organization] intentionally uses services as the stage, and goods as the props, to engage individual customers in a way that creates a memorable event.” – Pine and Gilmore. Recently in class, we spent the evening talking about experiences and what comprises an experience. We began class by looking at how parents prepare for a birthday party as an analogy of experiences. There are four important things that compose an experience design: commodities, goods, services and an experience. Goods are composed of commodities, services are delivered using goods, and experiences include various services. In relation to the birthday party experience, Chuck-E-Cheese allows the parent to relax and enjoy the whole experience because it stages the experience.

There is a whole business of experience design and how to create an experience that can be compared to a film production. The organization is the producer/designer of the experience; the audience is the customer; and the actor is the employee. In order to create a memorable experience, its important to understand the needs and wants of the audience or as Michael Barnes stated, “align goals” with your audience and “attune personality” with your goods or services. An experience designer has to be able to slide up and down the scale of commodities, goods, services, and experiences depending on the level of participation and engagement of the particular audience. For example, a movie buff might be more interested in the experience of watching a movie in a theater with surround sound and a huge screen, whereas another person might be interested in simply renting the video from Redbox or something like that.

According to the ATXEquation model for experience, there are three parts of creating a good experience: locate, engage and wow. Locate happens before the experience and its important to find your audience where they’re at and help them navigate the experience. During the experience, it’s important to engage the audience. For example, make them work, make it meaningful, personalize when possible, and gather key data. After the experience, it’s important to wow your audience by customizing the outcome, give a take-away, and by adding some element of surprise and delight factor. All of these elements are an important part of the experience. In Austin, Amy’s Ice Creams has done a good job of utilizing all three of these elements in their stores. There are so many examples of this model in all kinds of experiences, large and small. Since learning about these elements, I’ve been noticing them when visiting different places in Austin. What are your favorite Austin Experiences?

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