10 Years Ago…

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10 years ago this week, I started blogging for the first time. A lot has changed over those years (my daughter is now 13!), but somet hings haven’t changed. Some, not all, of the things I discussed a great deal in those, is still relevant today. Like:

  • What does place mean?
  • How will physical retail change because of the impact of digital and mobile technologies?
  • What is the future of advertising? Interesting that in a post in 2004, the ARF was looking at the future through a multiphase approach. As I wrote back then –

    The third phase will focus on the “co-creation of stories,” which researchers believe will be the future of ad communication. During the co-creation process, consumers receive an ad message, incorporate it with their “existing thought structure, and “create new meaning,” said Zaltman, who gave a rousing presentation during the ARF conference that seemed to inspire a good amount of thinking among the ARF attendees.

    Of course, there were people back then who worried about how the creative aspect of advertising would fare in the future:

    In a follow-up presentation, Keith Reinhard, chairman of DDB Worldwide, and a chief guardian of Madison Avenue’s creative process, bristled at the notion that neuro researchers might create a “new set of rules” for ad agencies to create ads around. While he said he welcomed “new learning,” he argued the creative process should be left to the creatives. “Artists have always intuitively known this. That’s why they are artists,” Reinhard countered, referring to Madison Avenue’s implicit understanding of the role between emotions and advertising.

  • The role of experience and the difference between experiential (usually event) marketing and experience marketing. Wrote about a Tom Peters article on experience in May of 2004 –
    • Value added for most any company, tiny or enormous, comes from the Quality of Experience provided.
    • An experience is holistic, total, encompassing, transforming…and emotional.
    • A service is a transaction. An experience is an event. An event (happening) with a beginning…a middle…and an end. An experience-event-happening leaves an indelible memory.
    • This “experience” thing is…extremist. Not just a dab of delight here; not just a pinch of amusement there. But…an Entirely Different Way of Parsing Life. (Emphasis mine)

    Instead, we must focus on creating a scintillating…encompassing…dramatic…novel “customer experience.” We must understand that experience is not only a very big word with gigantic connotations…but it is nothing short of the basis for a…Totally Revised Organizational Lifeform.

It was a lot of fun to take the trip down memory lane and revisit those posts from so many years ago. I’ll repost some of those older articles that I think still resonate today. Let me know what you think.

Here’s to another 10 years!

Neighborhood Changes (Originally published April 24th, 2004)

You know, a few years back when it was announced that Canal Jeans, an institution in SOHO was closing & Bloomingdales, Bloomingdale’s for heaven’s sake, was moving in, you could hear the folks in SOHO lament the end of their neighborhood.

Tonight, as I left my office to go home, I passed a line that was almost around 3/4 of a NY block – folks waiting to get into Bloomingdales for their grand opening event. Now, if you don’t really know NY, you might not think that’s a big deal, but it’s a darn big block!

In the conversation about experience, we’re frequently speaking in terms of brands & commerce, but there are many experiences that don’t have anything to do with either of those two issues. At least not directly in any case.

For years, SOHO was the place to find lots of trendy & unique boutiques. There were almost no large chains there, but there was a great deal of unique charm & personality. That’s not to say that all small stores have charm & personality and that all larger stores don’t, but you know the kind of neighborhood I’m talking about.

Soon, of course, the small, trendy, hip stores starting seeing the kind of rent increases that only larger stores could afford & before you knew, many of those stores were gone. Replaced by the same stores that we see in malls across the country. In fact, to many older resident’s, SOHO became a large, open-air mall.

I once remember talking to a business colleague who had moved from the States to Greece. She was actually complaining about the lack of chains in Greece! She missed walking into a chain store & knowing exactly what they had and even usually where it was in the store. Sometimes I guess our drive for comfort and familiarity are pretty strong!

Recently, during a discussion about the potential move of the EXP3 conference to NY, Doug Rushkoff, a commentator, futurist & author (and, by way of full disclosure, an advisor to BEL), reminded the group It could be valuable to bring the notion of “experience” beyond the idea of retail place. He pointed out “As I’ve come to understand it, experience is something that occurs in time more than space.”

What happens to the experience of a place like SOHO when it changes dramatically? How do you create the appropriate urban renewal opportunities for businesses, while striving to maintain the ‘personality’ of the place that made it so special in the 1st place?

Speaking of places that should have been truly special, have you been to the new Time Warner Center? Here was a project that could have been an incredible gateway to the upper West Side & Central Park, and instead is usually described as a mall! Talk about a place w/o a sense of place! I mean, it’s beautiful throughout & it does have the best Whole Foods on the planet (if not the galaxy), but it seems almost devoid of a soul. To me, it doesn’t make a unique statement on it’s own, nor is it particularly a uniquely NY experience. It’s a very pretty mall. Now, to be very fair, I hear that some of the stores are doing quite well — is it possible that creating a place with a soul isn’t necessary to be successful?

I’m happy to say that a new neighborhood, Nolita, has become the new SOHO in many ways. It’s filled with many great, small boutiques, lots of cool restaurants and kinds of places that make it become a unique experience. And, of course, new “SOHO’s” are appearing in many new neighborhoods throughout the city. That’s the great thing about the world. We’ll always find a time and place for great experiences!

Image via flickr

Original Post: http://blog.polinchock.com/2014/04/10-years-ago.html