Making People Fall in Love
As we pulled up to the porte cochère, I remember getting excited. The entrance of the hotel had a magnitude and energy I’d rarely, if ever, experienced before. The valets were all perfectly dressed in crisp white outfits, the people getting out of their cars were beautifully put together, and the architecture was the perfect combination of classic Art Deco and clean modern lines.
While the arrival alone was magnificent, it wasn’t until I entered the lobby that my breath was taken from me; fifty-foot ceilings, a straight-shot visual hundreds of feet from the entrance to the rear orchard, and charming vignettes of whimsical seating and social areas throughout. The beauty was unmistakable, and the energy was so real you could almost drink it. Every step I took built on the drama of the experience. By the time I exited the lobby and stepped into the orchard, I was a different person, evolved in my appreciation of what the human imagination could manifest. I didn’t say a word for ten minutes after I walked outside. I just smiled, completely satisfied by what I had just consumed.
My first visit to Ian Schrager’s Delano South Beach, 1997.
While many say Schrager’s work is about design, it isn’t; it’s about ideas and experiences. Ian uses the power of his ideas to tap into what he calls the “collective unconsciousness, the ethereal, elusive, and hard-to-define magic and energy.” He understands the power of this intangible and emotional place and uses it to connect deeply with his customers. He knows, that “the way a product makes you feel is more important than how it looks. The goal is to create experiences that people will remember, to touch them in emotional and visceral ways, to lift their spirits, to assault their senses, and to wow them in tasteful ways.”
Ian Schrager understands the art of making people fall in love.
Why do I say love? Well, if you’ve ever fallen in love—and I hope you have—you know that it’s quite an unexplainable emotion. Yet there’s no questioning it when it happens. When you feel love, it’s unmistakably present, and when you don’t, there’s no doubting its absence.
The energy behind magic is very similar. When you’re around a product, organization, or person in touch with their magic, there’s no doubt that something special is happening or someone special is present. An emotional reaction takes place that binds the energy of these experiences to your soul and leaves you wanting more, not much different from when you’re in love. That’s why you sometimes hear people professing strong feelings for their new electronic gizmo, their favorite hotel, an item of clothing, or a great performer: the emotional impact of the energy that person or product generates makes a tremendous connection with the consumer, so much so that they fall in love with it.
Happy Valentine’s Day.