The word “experience” gets overused but the concept is worth paying attention to.
Last weekend I was watching a special on the creation of Black Spire Outpost, Disney’s new Star Wars destination.
It got me thinking about the lengths Disney Imagineers go to when creating an experience for guests.
It’s not only the incredible detail. It’s how they arrive at those details that intrigued me, and why the details they focus on are important.
Let’s start with the description of Black Spire Outpost from starwars.com:
The largest settlement on the planet Batuu, Black Spire Outpost is an infamous stop for traders, adventurers, and smugglers traveling around the Outer Rim and Wild Space. Off the beaten path, this outpost has become a haven for the galaxy’s most colorful — and notorious — characters. Widely known for the petrified remains of its once towering ancient trees, the spires now stand guard across the river valleys and plains and have long captured the imagination of travelers to this planet. To the first settlers, these petrified spires became more than just landmarks; they became the heart of the outpost itself.starwars.com
The description makes it clear that Imagineers didn’t settle for creating something. They gave that something a backstory.
I’m sure the Imagineers dream up even more backstory than we’ll ever know. But the point is that even if you’re never told the backstory, that’s what brings the part you experience to life.Backstory creates context, which in turn creates immersion in the experience you're creating. Click To Tweet
How does Imagineering apply to our businesses?
The customer persona is a concept that has been around for a long time. Personas are a powerful and useful tool for helping you focus your messaging and attract the right customer.
They’re also a pain to create.
What if, instead, we started by creating a backstory. Storytelling is a more natural way for us to create the context in which our customers will interact with our business.
The benefit of creating a backstory is that your customers will relate to your business through an experience rather than a transaction.
Experience taps into emotion, and emotion is a powerful trigger for motivating action.
So my challenge, and yours, is to create the backstory for your business.
Once you have that backstory, think about how that translates to:
- your website
- your copy & the language you use
- the images you choose
- your tweets, instagrams, and other social media communications
- your color palette
- your logo
- and so on…
Aligning those elements is much easier when there is a cohesive story binding them together.
Also, I’m not recommending that you don’t create personas. But I am advocating that you create the backstory first.
For example, from the Black Spire Outpost description we could create personas for the characters they mention in their story:
traders, adventurers, and smugglers
After all, these are the people attracted to Black Spire Outpost.
If you want to dig in a little more here is the Disney Imagineering process summed up:
- Blue Sky: What could it be?
- Concept: What is it?
- Feasibility: What will it take to make it real?
- Design: What are the details to bring it to life?
- Production: How do we build it?
- Installation: How does it all fit together?
- Opening Day: How did we do?
Note: On the site linked above, they gloss over the backstory part but I know it’s there from the documentaries I’ve watched.
I’m working on the backstory for Rogue Mogul now and will share it with you next week.
Business Examples To Inspire You:
Sol Orwell founded Examine.com, a research site dedicated to well-researched, authoritative, Nutrition information.
Sol grew the company to 7+ figures by building out detailed processes and systems that freed him from the day-to-day tasks that bog down many business owners.
Orwell went on to scale the company in a more traditional way by adding employees.
With that structure in place, the company runs in a way that does not require Sol to manage everyone leaving him the freedom to travel or follow other pursuits.
The bottom line, document your processes and systems so you can free yourself to grow the business and pursue other things.
Newsletter Growth: 66 – 66
It’s been a flat week for subscriber growth. A few new people joined (welcome!) and a few dropped out. Time to up our game on driving a lot more subscribers.
- Improving SEO of existing content. Traffic is finally ticking up. SEO is a long game but after a few weeks, we’re seeing results. Organic traffic to the site jumped 6% this week.
- Social promotion. I’m using SparkToro to find new places to engage the ideal audience. I signed up yesterday so I’ll let you know how it goes. See Tools & Resources below. Also, you might have noticed the “click to tweet” box in the first section. Since Twitter is my main avenue right now I thought that would be worth trying. Give it a go if you want and let me know if you like it.
- Building a dedicated landing page for the newsletter. Had to bump this one for a week but it’s still a work in progress.
- Better CTA on all sign-up boxes. I’m keeping the “Join the Movement” CTA for now but made a few other small aesthetic changes and updated the copy. We’ll see how it performs and report back.
Tools & Resources
Yesterday I added SparkToro to the list of tools I pay for. I had been playing with the free version for a while but this tweet from Rand Fishkin got me over the hump for something I’ve been working on.
SparkToro is a way to discover what your audience reads, watches, listens to, and follows. And once you get the hang of searching, it’s quite powerful.
In their own words:
SparkToro identifies your customers’ biggest sources of influence, and the hidden gems—so you can reach them where they hang out.