As you blog readers have seen us post time and time again, we here at Q Media strive to produce audio tours that aren’t the run-of-the-mill-fact-data-date-talking-head audio tour experiences. An emotional connection between a listener and a facility through the tour is always our goal. Good story telling connects the listener on deeper levels to a subject; it is the rudder for our choices. We always strive to create the best tour experience we can for our clients, always with the goal of exceeding their expectations of what their audio tour can be for them and their visitors.
But I’ve become aware of a repeating pattern with our clients. As much as our script writing process is about the content, scope, and structure of a tour, our method and our process of developing the tour seem to benefit clients beyond the tour creation. Time and time again, when we engage decision makers with questions in the early-stages of creative development for their tour, it ends up being an exercise for them on what their core message is–the brand, if you will, of their facility for them and to the public.
A good example of this is the opportunity we have with our latest client, Exploration Tower at Port Canaveral. The Tower opened to the public in November 2013: a seven-story architectural marvel filled with exhibits that showcase the history and offerings of Port Canaveral and Brevard County, Florida. It is brand new; therefore, the client can seize the opportunity to establish what it is to the greater picture. Concepts can be discussed and considered to generate interest and understanding of the Tower and what it offers that resonates with the general public. This is where I believe our discussions help decision makers and staff gain a better understanding of their product and even provoke insights that focus and brand their unique site.
It’s like the story of a truck that struck a low bridge underpass and got stuck. When it happened a crowd gathered, and many adults with adult minds and adult solutions stepped up and offered ideas on what to do.
“Cut the bridge,” said one.
“Cut off the top of the truck,” said another.
None of the suggestions seemed to be the best option until a child stepped up and said, “Why don’t you let the air out of the tires to lower the truck.”
That solved the dilemma with the best possible approach. It also revealed that the adults had made the situation much more complex in their minds, failing to see the simple and most effective solution.
I see this analogy in our tour creation process. Our clients may see a problem (How do we create our tour? What will our tour talk about?) but not see the simple elegant solutions of the greater story, or the connection of their place to visitors, or other benefits/purpose of their facility through another’s viewpoint. They don’t see their offerings from a fresh set of eyes who are skilled in storytelling like we are.
Many times we arrive at a facility without deep knowledge of the subject of a place and, in doing so, we become the “child’s mind” that can offer solutions–perhaps a differing perspective to those who are close to the ideas and problems of a place. (If you haven’t read it, please see Peg’s blog about the beginner’s mind and how that helps her in the creative process.)
In the case of Exploration Tower, their tour concept of the “desire to explore” has already posed questions and concepts to the decision makers there that go beyond the “who, what, and when.” It allows them to see their facility in a new way, and doing so opens them up to a better understanding of their place, possibly with benefits to advertising, marketing, and branding. Our tour creation process take them out of their normal day to day relationship with their space and hopefully upward and beyond to the greater emotional experiences. It creates opportunities to connect with their visitors and enables a new understanding of their brand.
Our process crosses over from just the mechanics of audio tour creation to a much deeper core–seeking the organization’s greater purpose and emphasizing themes that create the emotional connection we strive for in our tours…
And all done with a simple idea: start by letting the air out of the tires.