Content-driven experiences
“We’re technology-rich, but experience-poor.” So said Frank Oppenheimer, founder of San Francisco’s famous Exploratorium hands-on learning museum.

Hands-on, content-led experiences drive deeper engagement

Hands-on, content-led experiences drive deeper engagement

One core aspect of Oppenheimer’s sleeves-up philosophy was to give people tools and experiences to drive deeper understanding of the world around them. “By understanding the world around them, they’ll make better, more-informed life decisions,” he asserted.

EXPERIENCE TIP: Build ‘content-driven’ engagements with your audience members. Think about hands-on activities and exercises that have a story or lesson to tell.

As cool as the hands-on stuff is at a living laboratory like The Exploratorium, the ‘stuff’ in itself is just a means to an end. Every crazy gadget, exercise, activity or mechanism has an underlying story to tell. The gizmo is what makes that story ‘stick’.

  • As the saying goes, content is indeed king. It’s also the capital and medium of learning and knowledge exchange.
  • Technology and learning design are the means by which content is presented and shared.
  • Physical and digital experience design rounds out the learning environment.

Too often, marketers begin with the tools before considering the story they can activate. When this is the case, I often provocatively ask my team or clients: “in order to say or do what to whom?!” It helps them validate that the tools are even relevant to the learning or knowledge opportunity.

Start with the content, from the ‘inside out’. Make sure you know what the story is, and to whom you’re telling, before employing the tools and the technologies. In this way, the delivery method or channel serves a much more essential purpose – as the draw, the activity, the FUN – behind the story or message. Then, as your audience has the chance to amplify the experience (e.g., via social media), the underlying message will shine through as brightly as the activity portraying it.

Tools and technologies will always be changing. Our job as experience marketers is to get the story right first, then craft the experience to bring that story to life.