Ever since Jim Gilmore and I first talked about experience staging we have related the importance of both to have a theme – the organizing principle of the experience – and to embrace theatre by directing workers to act.
(In the 2020 re-release of The Experience Economy we use the terms cohesive and dramatic for these two elements of remarkable experiences to go along with the three others: robust, personal, and even transformative.)
Embrace Theatre – Acting With Intention
Only in the past few years, however, have I noticed how intertwined these two elements really are, or at least should be.
In a private (and virtual) Experience Economy Expert Certification course last year I said something I hadn’t said before about the Geek Squad.
From its inception in the mind of Chief Geek Robert Stephens its theme – “Comedy with a Straight Face” – is very much how they do what they do.
That is our very definition of acting with intention.
(And few embrace theatre better than Robert! Note that law enforcement – with an STP-inspired logo – is merely the 24-hour Computer Task Force’s motif, not its theme.
For more on the Geek Squad illustrating the difference between these two concepts, see our article “Differentiating Hospitality Operations via Experiences” and DVD The Geek Squad Guide to World Domination.)
Develop an Intention Statement
As we relate in chapter 6 of the book, work becomes more engaging when performed with intention, turning any mundane interaction into an engaging encounter.
All it takes for any given task is developing an intention statement:
Perform _______________ in order to _______________
The first blank to fill in is the what; the second is the how.
Impressions = Intentions
And in chapter 3 on THEMEing, the second of five design principles for depicting any experience is harmonize impressions with positive cues. Such impressions – the takeaways of the experience – can be a great way of providing acting intentions, I now understand. With a nod to Michael Kearns,
impressions = intentions
Embrace Theatre for a Cohesive Experience
Moreover, matching theatre (one of the four forms of theatre we introduce in Chapter 7 – the model for different types of acting) is all about ensuring that all interactions with customers (whether live, over the phone, via an app, email, website, chat, or any other medium of experience) match together, with nothing at odds or out of place, like scenes in a film or TV show.
And what does such matching theatre yield? The cohesiveness of a well-themed experience.
Therefore, when you design a cohesive experience via THEMEing you are well on your way to determining how to direct workers to act. And when you embrace theatre and determine the intentions by which you want those employees to act, you are well on your way to depicting a cohesive experience.
It’s all about determining how you do what you do.