Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Branding & Burning Man Lesson #3: Experience: Maximize Every Rotation

Okay, I only had four days to fully experience Burning Man. As I mentioned previously, I hit the ground running and didn’t waste a single minute. After the long drive, I knew I was going to be ready to stretch my legs, hop on my bike, and get to it.

Now, a lot of stuff goes on at Burning Man. It is quite hedonistic to say the least. Sins of the flesh abound, but Burning Man is not a free love orgy. It is about removing the barriers of everyday life that keep a person tied to the expectations of others—at times, the expectations of our own doing.

Expectations keep us from experiencing some of life’s simple and purest pleasures. Expectations keep us from maximizing each rotation of the earth. The earth rotates every 24 hours. In general, that breaks down to 8 hours of sleep, 8 hours of work, and 8 hours of other stuff (play, chores, commuting, appointments, etc). At Burning Man that allocation is allowed to adjust. That really changes the experience.

Brands are created based on one set of expectations but are experienced based on another set. Internal expectations (even if based on stellar research) generally shape the brand’s initial incarnation; however, the marketplace is quick to make modifications. The marketplace wants to maximize its experience with the brand. Why shouldn’t they? They bought it. The marketplace does not want to be
told that the brand is best experienced 8 hours here, 8 hours over there, and 8 hours way over there. The end user wants to be just that…the end user. That is to say, they want to experience the brand as it best suits them.

So take a look at the Burning Man experience…let the end user feel like they only have a finite amount of time with the brand. Let them determine how it is best experienced. Let them decide how each rotation will be spent.

Next thing you know, the end user will be deeply connected to the brand. It’s about them; it’s not about you. Your ego will survive.

Additional Chapters
Give (coming soon)
Protect (coming soon)
Educate (coming soon)
Go (coming soon)
Final Thoughts (coming soon)

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