Back then, I also ran across this post, Experience the Message: THE HUMAN TOUCH:
The Hollywood Reporter has a brief interview with Judith Regan, the publisher and media mogul, for the "future of entertainment" special. Surprisingly, the woman whom made millions with tawdry tell-all books, political muckraking and celebrity gossip, sees the future as a step away from the "pornoization" of American culture.
In doing so, she echoes experiential marketers' calls for a humanization of marketing, and of using real people to engage with other real people, instead of the mindless gloss of traditional marketing and advertising.
"The central problem in America is lonliness, which comes out of consuming all this pop culture and yet, not having human experiences. I call it the "pornoization" of the culture. If you look at where the culture is going, there is no love, there is no tenderness. The images my daughter sees are devoid of love. I actually see in the future that simulating love or some authentic human experience will become what people desire and what they want to pay for."
It made me think of how often we eat at Burger King just because they have an indoor playground. And it's not just about the actual playground. It's Sydney's desire to play with a group of other children her age and the social aspect of that experience. It's not about the food there (sorry Burger King!), it's about it being a Third Place for Sydney.
It also made me ask the question, what is the value of real estate for retailers today? Does a record store really need to exist as it's been for the past 40+ years? Or banks, grocery stores, fashion retailers? If, thanks to the internet, people are much more comfortable getting their purchases sent to them, rather then getting them right away, do we need that much space dedicated to merchandise? So, if we can do away with the inventory portion of most retail spaces today, what else would you do with the space? How could you make it a much more social environment, rather then being a retail environment? After all, this is exactly why places like Starbuck's or the Apple stores have boomed -- they created a social space, rather then a retail space.
But, while people look at Starbuck's or the Apple stores and say "Yea, that's great for them, but it doesn't apply to me," I think that they're missing a huge opportunity today. I continue to think that there's a coming trend to socialize the retail environment instead of just merchandising the real estate space. And the more we try to use the space for our purposes rather then our guests, the more they'll stay away.
I'm doing some interesting research on this topic now, so stay tuned for updates.