Use “place” to help drive differentiation

I really wish brick-and-mortar concepts would use the idea of place in a much more differentiated fashion.

Especially around their experiences.

Too often, when I travel now, it feels like every place is similar.

Region to region.

City to city.

It all feels the same.

You can see it more broadly in products as well.

Heck, look at the attached visual.

But place is interesting.

Place can evoke emotions and emotions can help sell.

Yet many experiences feel for lack of a better word, vanilla.

There are places that harbor typical memories and emotions.

And with the right design, trigger a powerful sense of nostalgia in customers.

Grandma’s house with its rustic charm.

Or that sun-soaked beach that instantly calms our nerves.

Any product creator or concept builder will tell you that the trick lies in balancing the familiar and the novel.

But I fear we may have tipped the scales towards the familiar a little too much.

This is more than design for design’s sake.

There is a revenue and profit angle here.

Evidence shows that a relatively differentiated experience with distinctive assets outperforms those measures.