When we were kids, vacation consisted of many weekend camping trips to local parks and one “big” vacation to the shores of Lake Michigan.
The trip to the Lake was a monumental journey for our family. We went through three states: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan. We were in a different time zone. They had deposit on cans and different stores. We had to wait through many toll booth lines. It was like going to another country for us.
We stopped going for many years, and then the siblings decided to make a reunion trip there. We got out a map and looked all along the shoreline for the park we had frequented, but could not find it. It turns out we were looking in the wrong place.
We felt like we were in Northern or at least Central Michigan because we had traveled “so far”. In reality, where we camped was at Exit 12 in Michigan! With open road tolling and no camper to pull, you could make the trip in under two hours. But never did we imagine we were only 100 miles away.
Our parents were on to something. They created an experience that was special, memorable and attainable. It was within reality for them to provide, yet made us feel rewarded and giddy. We looked forward to the trip and enjoyed it as much as we would had we traveled much further.
Think about how you can replicate this illusion within your organization. Can you provide a perk that your employees cherish that won’t break the bank? (e.g.: closing at 3pm on summer Fridays) Or what about offering something of value to your clients that makes them feel important for being affiliated with you? (e.g.: free tickets to an exhibit my bank is sponsoring) What can you do to alter the experience into something that becomes special? (e.g.: having a hot dog cookout during Bring Your Dog to Work Day) Or how can you maximize the experience by paying attention to a few select parts of it? (e.g.: vacation in Quebec with a different language)
You, too, can make Exit 12 feel exotic and special if you try.