The Experience Economy personal brand

By Michael Seaver, Director of Alumni Career Services & Engagement

In 1999, B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore wrote The Experience Economy: Work Is Theater & Every Business a Stage. Pine and Gilmore posited that future economic growth lies not in goods and services, but rather in the value of experiences and transformation. Businesses that create highly personal experiences for their stakeholders are the ones that will see significant growth of their consumer brand.

The same can be said for your personal brand.

I am very fortunate to speak with Thunderbird alumni daily about their careers and personal brands. Many alumni ask why do they need to develop a brand? Here are three reasons. A 2013 survey by Gallup entitled State of the American Workplace found that 70% of U.S. workers are “not engaged” or are “actively disengaged,” costing the economy between $450 billion to $550 billion annually in lost productivity. Additionally, Daniel H. Pink’s research for his book, Drive, found that humans are motivated by extrinsic rewards to a point – but, past that point, intrinsic motivation drives us to find autonomy in our daily tasks, the ability to master our chosen craft, and the need to feel a sense of purpose in that what we do has an impact on the collective whole. Lastly, a 2013 study by CareerXRoads found that only 18.1% of jobs are secured via job boards (24.5% are had via referral). 

Because the majority of the labor force is unhappy, and wants to derive more intrinsic meaning from our work, the best path to job opportunities may not be online. Competition for desirable roles often relies on our ability to develop a consistent personal brand. And, through this brand, you must answer the questions: “What is the experience of interacting with you?” and “If we hire you, what are you going to do to transform our business?”
Landing the career of your dreams (corporate or entrepreneurship) is now, more than ever, based on:

  1. Living the Thunderbird Oath of Honor and “out-behaving” others by operating with integrity, being honest and trustworthy, and continually under promising and over delivering
  2. Remember that you’re always “on stage” by treating every single human interaction as a pseudo-interview and a chance to generate value for others
  3. Living your personal brand in-person and online so that your stakeholders know what your key strengths are and why they should refer you to potential employers and clients
  4. Developing your emotional competence so that you influence people to act without positional authority; leaders today aren’t command and control, they’re connect and nurture
  5. Seeing yourself as a corporation that has a mission, vision and value proposition, and a defined plan to continually grow your skills, nurture meaningful relationships and market yourself humbly

Some say personal branding is about visibility, which leads to credibility, which may lead to trust. If someone trusts you, you’re much more likely to land the job or secure a new client. Developing and living your personal brand is also about creating unique and highly personal experiences that generate value for those in your circle of influence. In the experience economy, you’re continually on stage. Are you ready to develop a memorable brand that opens doors you previously thought impossible?

If so, contact me at or +1 602 978-7080.

Magazine Department: