Create an Experience
There are times when we do everything we can to reach our goal as quickly and as effortlessly as possible. This happens every day – drifting to the Starbucks drive-thru versus going inside, or when texting a note to a friend rather than giving them a call. We’ve accomplished what we needed to in a fraction of the time compared to the alternatives.
Sometimes there are obstacles that get in the way of simple, quick and easy. While they can be frustrating, they can open us up to a new experience that provides benefits well worth the extra time.
This summer my daughter and I drove to Madison, Wisconsin, which is just over 90 minutes away. She had an event early the following morning, so the plan was to leave late in the evening and spend the night near the venue. Madison is surrounded by a bypass called The Beltline. It’s a great concept, assuming it’s not rush hour (yes, Wisconsin cities do have a rush hour). However, I knew that a big part of The Beltline was under construction and a lot of the work was being done at night. Did it make sense to take the usual way, and risk being stuck or take a lesser travelled way and possibly pick up time?
I’m not trying to get too ‘Robert Frost’ on you; I knew one way could take longer, but the car would always be moving – the other would be filled with stops and starts. So, I took the road less travelled – and that made all the difference.
Fireflies – millions of them. On the state highway I took for part of the trip, there were almost no other cars. But there were forests, farms, fields and fireflies. There were hills and winding roads, and while nervous that a huge deer would jump out at any minute, I couldn’t get over the simple beauty of all of these tiny lights flickering, and how serene it all was. It was amazing. What was even more amazing is that my 17-year-old (who had friends waiting for her at the hotel) didn’t seem to care that we were literally out in the middle of nowhere. We laughed about silly things, she commented that the windshield was squishing fireflies as I drove (a sad fact), and we talked about life. For those of you with teenagers, you know this isn’t an everyday occurrence. When we got to the hotel, that magical hour ended, and normality resumed. But it was an experience that I’ll always remember.
When we reach out to our audience – whoever that may be – we are trying to hit them directly with a compelling reason to work with us, to buy from us – to take action in something involving whatever we offer. Depending on whose statistics you use, you have between five and eight seconds to capture someone’s attention. If speaking with someone, you have no more than five minutes to hold their attention.
Instead of simply throwing constant quick bytes of words, creating an experience draws people in. They feel immersed in what you’re saying, how you can help them, how what you provide is beneficial – it creates something better than what they’re already doing, and they’ll remember it. By capturing attention, and then building the experience, you’ve already moved beyond the noise. Think about what you do that’s different than the rest, and use that as the point of focus for the experience you’re providing.
The multitudes of little fireflies likely never gave any thought to the experience they were giving two people in a car that night. They just did a terrific job selling me on taking that same road again.