July 28, 2020 by Jaisica Lapsiwala

What does the AV industry and Ferrari have in common? Quite a lot according to Claus Raasted, Director at the College of Extraordinary Experiences.

In 1998 Joe Pine and James Gilmore coined the phrase ‘Experience Economy.’ The concept argues that businesses must orchestrate memorable events for their customers, and that the memory itself becomes the product. In recent months, the lack of physical interaction due to COVID-19 has caused the experience economy to face unprecedented challenges.

During a spotlight session at InfoComm 2020 Connected, Raasted gave his view on how the experience economy is still relevant today and why the AV industry is in prime position to apply this thinking.

Raasted kicked off the session with a thought-provoking quote, “Every brand should be a universe and every universe should be a brand” and gave the example of the universe that Ferrari has successfully created — fast cars, toy cars, interactive comics, factory tours, roller coasters ... the list is endless. The Italian car company has created a universe where every interaction with its brand is a unique and distinct experience. Ferrari is not alone in this ... the likes of Star Wars and Disney also do ‘brand’ well.

“Our brains are wired with stories, so if we want to change things, we need to create better stories.”
Claus Raasted
Director, College of Extraordinary Experiences

So, what do AV companies have to do with the experience economy? It’s a good question.

Claus explains, “The pace of change will never again be as slow as it is today and only the robust will survive. Everyone in our industry is trying to do ‘remote’ well but not everyone has a universe where this comes from. If you build ‘stuff,’ you are building another product but if you have a universe, you are expanding what you already know. The more different experiences you have to offer (in your universe), the more robust your business is.”

Here are five tips from Claus on how to build your universe to survive tough times:

  • The experience economy is not going anywhere, but the type of experiences that are popular is changing.
  • You can spend energy on making your products better or you can spend your energy on building your universe.
  • Find people to help you transform your products and services into a coherent universe.
  • Once you no longer have just a brand, but a universe, you’ll find it easier to delight your fans in new ways.
  • Don’t be afraid to invent new markets.

In these challenging times, a bonus tip is always gratefully received and here is Claus’:

  • The odds of things getting better if you continue doing things in the same way is very low.

One viewer voiced a concern we were all thinking, “Ferrari is in a unique position and needs little to no marketing, so it’s easier to create a universe.” Claus advised, “No matter where you start from, it is easy to build upon. Look at how much you already have and what can you build from there. It could be a logo, a space, or a story. If you start with one simple thing, it is very easy to build on that, as long as it is coherent.”

And if you are in a place of desperation?

“Desperation will spur you on to make a change. Time, connections, resources, money or fame — don’t let that stop you, just work a little harder.”

Some final advice from Claus, “Our brains are wired with stories, so if we want to change things, we need to create better stories.”

So back to the original question, is the experience economy still relevant? The answer is yes, more than ever.

Watch the full session: Live Events Spotlight: Is the term ‘experience economy' still relevant? 

About Jaisica Lapsiwala

Jaisica Lapsiwala is a member of the content team at AVIXA. She is also the founder of event and digital content agency Purple Ripple and co-founder of Soho Media Club, a networking club for media professionals. Lapsiwala has two decades of experience in digital and live-event content, working with world-class brands including Informa, Retail Week, IBC and The Telegraph. She has a track record of successfully transforming, scaling and launching new products including large-scale conferences, invite-only summits, fringe events, awards, and networking forums.

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