Standing thigh-deep in a pool of mud, scrubbing the backside of an elephant got me thinking about the value of experiences.
At the Lanna Kingdom Elephant Sanctuary in Northern Thailand, I forked over roughly $100 per for me, Bernadine and our niece to have the experience of feeding, playing with and, yes, bathing rescue elephants. What I guarantee you is this: ten years from now I won’t have any idea what that experience cost. But I will have permanently etched memories of the experience including how it felt. And I’ll smile a big smile when recalling them.
That’s the value of experiences. How they connect with us emotionally. Because emotions are deeper rooted than thoughts. That’s what makes experiences memorable. And the experiences don’t have to be as exotic as washing elephants in Asia or swimming with piranha in the Amazon (for some reason Bernadine passed on that one!). I can remember just as clearly the hotelier on a small Italian island whose passion for making our experience “wonderful” blew us away. And the waiter in a Cleveland restaurant who simply could not let us order off the menu because the Chef’s creation was just so succulent, so delectable that we absolutely had to have it.
So what does this mean for business? It means that making moments memorable is a powerful way to create value. If you are intentional about evoking a positive emotional response from your customers, your employees, and your colleagues, then you will stand head-and-shoulders above the overwhelming majority of people. Creating experiences creates value.
Did I mention there is a lot of backside on an elephant to wash?