Every time you interact with a potential capital investor or site selection consultant, you create an experience that either strengthens or erodes the perception of your community, region or state brand. Every experience, no matter how small, is an opportunity to reinforce your place promise and differentiate your location from the competition as a desirable choice for capital investment.
There are several keys to success in creating memorable experiences that will help your community, region or state to be at the top of a capital investor’s “must explore further” list. And, when you consider 71% of deal opportunities (DCI 2008 study) never contact an EDO until a short list of locations is pre-determined, it is definitely a list you need to be on in order to achieve your economic portfolio and jobs growth goals.
To begin, it is helpful to have a basic understanding of how memory works. Frank Capek did a great job of providing an overview in a blog post he titled “Making Experiences Memorable”. Frank makes several important points –
- There is no experience without memory.
- A lot of information is lost in the process of transferring it from short-term to long-term memory.
- People process experiential data selectively.
- People remember high contrast (unique) elements most readily.
- Recall is not reliable and can often be inaccurate.
Frank summarizes his post with a few tips on how you can create more memorable experiences for people. He also has a fun card trick you will enjoy built into the post as a way for you to remember his counsel.
In addition to Frank’s advice, here are four tips I have learned over the years that may also help you create memorable experiences for potential capital investors or site selection consultants.
- Make the experience personal. Think of the person as a guest in your community. Help make personal connections for them with people that they can relate to and will reinforce your place promise. Anticipate their information and comfort needs. Give them your undivided attention; make them feel as though they are your most important priority while visiting your community. And, listen to what they have to say. Don’t spend the entire time telling your story. Hear the meaning behind their words. It makes a difference when you care enough to understand what is truly important to them.
- Put your guest at the center of the experience and make your place promise come to life in an engaging, authentic and relevant way. Build the engagement around meeting their needs. Present information in a way that is tailored to them. This obviously takes pre-work in getting to know the person or company, but will pay dividends in your delivery. It is important to be genuine and authentic in both your actions and behaviors. If your place promise is authentic, then this should come naturally.
- Be certain the experience is consistently delivered. Think the experience through completely from start to finish and execute with excellence. It is important that everybody involved understand what you are trying to accomplish and are aligned with doing his or her part. In this way, the sum of the parts will be much greater than the whole. If you don’t, you run the risk of creating “high contrast” inconsistencies you’d rather not have remembered.
- Go above and beyond what is expected. Make certain there is no ambiguity in the schedule or confusion in the logistics that could create an inconvenience. Be sure to follow-up on all commitments and make your guest feel comfortable, welcomed and important.
Creating memorable experiences is hard work and often underappreciated. But, it can make a powerful difference in the perception of your location. The big difference between what you might already be doing for familiarization tours and the above advice is likely the purposeful focus on having the experience bring your place promise to life for your visitor. Do this well and it will help improve the overall perception of your location as an ideal choice for capital investment. Do it well and you will gain a higher share of the 71% of opportunities called out in the DCI research.
I would appreciate it if you’d share your experience or thoughts about creating memorable experiences by leaving a comment to this post. Maybe it is an experience you remember or one you had a hand in creating. Your comments help enrich everybody’s understanding by providing important context to the discussion. Thank you in advance for contributing.