We’ve gone from an agricultural economy, to manufactured goods, to services. What’s next? Experiences.
The experience economy (fast becoming common language) is based on providing continuously unique experiences that can’t be commoditized by competitors, as services and goods increasingly are. Experiences must be holistic, and examples include Southwest Airlines’ people-first mission, theatre restaurants, and Progressive Insurance’s commitment to improving the customer experience, to name but a very few.
The Rainforest Cafe is seen as “good but not quite.” The first experience may be unique, but it’s pretty much a rehash each time thereafter.
The overall concept is nicely captured in The Experience Economy: Work Is Theatre & Every Business A Stage. What’s next? How about the transformational economy the authors suggest, the simplest being something like Jenny Craig.