Brand Lands, Hot Spots & Cool Spaces

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Brand Lands, Hot Spots & Cool Spaces

by Christian Mikunda

Kogan Page © 2004, 261 pages, $39.95 (ISBN 0-7494-4256-5).

Welcome to the

Third Place
and the Total Marketing Experience

“Third places” are semipublic locations of business, neither home nor work, that we choose to visit. In Brand Lands, Hot Spots and Cool Spaces, consultant and mood management expert Christian Mikunda introduces readers to third places around the globe that link the desire for entertainment with emotion and attract sales by putting customers in the right mood. Ranging from Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin to British Airways’ “Lounge in the Sky,” these places not only make us feel good when we are there, but they create new “experience worlds” where art and science meet. These staged habitats allow visitors to recharge themselves with emotion and provide them with alternative places to spend leisure time.

In the 1960s, North America discovered the motivating force of an aesthetic working environment, which became known as the “second place” (with home being the “first place”). These second places took the form of generously spaced, open-plan offices that offered their occupants plenty of light, air and greenery, and often featured colorfully painted factory halls. The emergence of these new types of workplaces not only brought down the number of illnesses suffered by staff, but they increased their motivation and productivity as well.

Personal Habitats

Twenty years later, the trend of experience-oriented marketing began to spill over into public spaces, creating stores, restaurants, museums and hotels that featured such sensuality and homeyness that people were induced to perceive these spaces as personal habitats. According to Mikunda, these third places have since “become part of the vitality of our cities,” and encourage people to forgo movie theaters and bowling alleys to spend their leisure time in new places of business entertainment, shopping malls, and “experience” restaurants and bars.

Mikunda writes that many third places whose actual function is selling are also marketed as sight-seeing attractions. For example, NikeTown in New York City not only sells shoes, but it also features a huge silver screen that slides into the atrium every 13 minutes to play video clips in Dolby surround sound. The new Guinness Storehouse in Dublin is another third place and, with its atrium that resembles a giant pint, has become Ireland’s most frequented tourist attraction.

Within these types of staged attractions, Mikunda writes, a core function is complemented by an emotional extra of almost equal value. This means that shops double as tourist attractions, brand lands double as destinations for family outings, hotels double as meeting points that exemplify a lifestyle, and museums double as malls and places to re-energize.

Brain Scripts

Third places work because they trigger stories in our minds that tell us far more than the details that are presented. Mikunda calls these stories “brain scripts,” and he writes that these and other psychological mechanisms make these places hyperattractive. Apart from serving consumption purposes, third places also charge those who enter them with emotion. They pull us in by featuring landmarks that show us what to expect, he writes, induce “malling” by calling up our cognitive maps, provide a “golden thread” that provides the rational functions of a place by means of an all-encompassing idea, and arouse our curiosity with a central attraction that also relieves any remaining suspense when we actually visit it.

Other types of third places include relaxing spaces such as lobbies and lounges that use natural elements to create a soothing effect on patrons. Mikunda describes hotels in San Francisco, Singapore and Osaka that use indoor creeks, ponds and waterfalls to relax muscle tension, and sensory impressions like fragrances and sounds to slow down our body’s arousal, reduce the pressure to consume, and decelerate our lives.

In Brand Lands, Hot Spots and Cool Spaces, Mikunda explores the live experiences that have a higher collective value than simple advertising or conventional PR, and the many types of urban entertainment centers, bars, restaurants, flagship stores, malls, lobbies and lounges that stand out among their peers. By exploring the emotions they conjure and the power that the excitement they generate can have on customers and visitors, he demonstrates how innovative thinking and emotional appeal can be used to draw attention and create successful marketing. ~

Why We Like This Book

Brand Lands, Hot Spots and Cool Spaces provides a fascinating look at the concept of mood management and the ways well-designed places can make us feel better and bring us into balance while creating added value for those on a mission to make us smile. By highlighting designs, architecture and concept locations that embody a humanity-centered philosophy, Mikunda offers numerous marketing ideas that can be applied anywhere. ~

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