Abstract: First there was agriculture, then manufactured goods, and eventually services. Each change represented a step up in economic value--a way for producers to distinguish their products from increasingly undifferentiated competitive offerings. Now, as services are in their turn becoming commoditized, companies are looking for the next higher value in an economic offering. Leading-edge companies are finding that it lies in staging experiences. To reach this higher level of competition, companies will have to learn how to design, sell, and deliver experiences that customers will readily pay for. An experience occurs when a company uses services as the stage--and goods as props--for engaging individuals in a way that creates a memorable event. And while experiences have always been at the heart of the entertainment business, any company stages an experience when it engages customers in a personal, memorable way. The lessons of pioneering experience providers, including the Walt Disney Company, can help companies learn how to compete in the experience economy. The authors offer five design principles that drive the creation of memorable experiences. First, create a consistent theme, one that resonates throughout the entire experience. Second, layer the theme with positive cues--for example, easy-to-follow signs. Third, eliminate negative cues, those visual or aural messages that distract or contradict the theme. Fourth, offer memorabilia that commemorate the experience for the user. Finally, engage all five senses--through sights, sounds, and so on--to heighten the experience and thus make it more memorable.
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