Like millions of others, I didn’t get to visit Downton Abbey this week. I was a bit lost Sunday evening. Sure, the Motion Picture Academy offered some alternate programming, but it just didn’t fill the void. So I channel surfed and ultimately dozed off unfulfilled.
While I certainly missed the comings and goings of the wonderful characters, I also missed the opportunity to visit that place in that time. In fact, I think one of the reasons the show is so successful is that it is less something to watch and more a place to visit. I credit that to the level of detail the producers take to ensure the Downton Abbey environment remains true to the times.
Of course, this isn’t the first time I’ve tuned into a place. Mayberry (Andy Griffith Show) comes to mind…at least when it was in black and white. Uijeongbu South Korea (M.A.S.H.) is another. Faber College (Animal House) too.
All of those places featured interesting characters and storylines…but the whole environment created for each made them places that I cared about, felt an attraction to and were integral to the overall experience. They made me want to return over and over again.
In our business, we call these experiential places – branded environments. All the places were we live, work and play are branded whether planned or not. Branded environments don’t need to be expensive or fancy…just authentic and relevant to what the place needs to convey about the brand – whether a person, service or other offering.
The ones that work the best, invite us to return over and over again. The others – not so much.
I would be interested to hear which branded environments you think work well and why.