You Are What You Charge

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!

In 1999, Joseph Pine and James Gilmore offered this idea as a new way to think about connecting with customers and securing their loyalty. As a result, their book The Experience Economy is a classic, embraced by readers and companies worldwide.

Fast forward to today. The world has changed in many ways since then; the way to a customer’s heart has not. Make no mistake, goods and services are just no longer enough.

With a fully updated edition of the book, Pine and Gilmore make an even stronger case that experience is the missing link between a company and its potential audience.

The Experience Economy (updated version 2011) is an insightful, highly original, and practical approach for companies to script and stage compelling experiences.

In doing so, workers become actors, intentionally creating specific effects for their customers. And it’s the experiences they stage that create memorable-and lasting-impressions that ultimately create transformations within individuals. Experiences are the foundation for future economic growth.

In fact, the idea of staging experiences to leave a memorable impression is now more relevant than ever. With an ongoing torrent of brands attacking customers from all sides, how do you make yours stand out?

Your brand is now a promise of an experience. Here are five approaches to leverage your brand experience:

Customization of a service can make it an experience. Anything digitized can be customized.

Gamification uses game thinking and game mechanics to enhance non-game contexts.

Subscriptions can stimulate “using” as an experience.

Admission Fees can force you to think what can be done differently.

Transformation is the result of customizing an experience.

You are what you charge for! At the end of the day:

– If you charge for stuff, you are in the commodities business
– If you charge for tangible things, you are in the goods business
– If you charge for activities you execute, you are in the service business
– If you charge for the time customers spend with you, you are in the experiences business
– If you charge for the demonstrated outcome the customer achieves, then and only then you are in the transformations business

Try this exercise with your leadership team. Shift your team’s perspective to experience and transformation for your customers. This frame shifting can produce a difference in what you charge for.

Contact David Carter at or 267-279-9520 for help in frame shifting your business to the experience economy of today.
Copyright 2013 David Paul Carter. All rights reserved.


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