Nordicum - Real Estate Annual Finland 2016 - Page 11

Photo: Sini Pennanen must find ways to mobilise people in new ways. Joe Pine believes that if there is any magic left in shopping malls, at the core of it must be the experience. “The key battle in this shift into the Experience Economy is the battle for time, the currency of experiences. Goods and services are being commoditised everywhere because consumers want to buy them at the lowest possible price and greatest possible convenience – which in both cases increasingly means online – so they can save their hard-earned money and time on the experiences that they enjoy.” According to Pine, the only reason to go to a mall today is for the experience, whether that is as minor as seeing, touching, and using goods before the purchase, as traditional as people-watching, or as engaging as the many thoughtfully designed experiences that fill the more pioneering shopping centres today. Experiencing Finland A little known fact about Joe Pine is that he has a very strong connection to Finland. For one, his wife is half Finnish, hailing from near the Swedish border up in Lapland. Sec- ond, Pine has done a lot of work in the country over the past 15 years, including being at the birth of the Lapland Experience Organization in Rovaniemi and working with such companies as Finpro, Elisa, Tekes, Nokia, and, in real estate, Kiinko. “I love the place,” he grins. “It’s beautiful, and the people are warm even when the climate is cold.” In the experience department, Finland has not gone unnoticed either. Every year Joe Pine and his partner Jim Gilmore give out an Experience Stager of the Year (EXPY) award to a company that stands head and shoulders above its competitors – and in 2014, the award went to Ilkka Länkinen, the Managing Director of SantaPark. “First, he deserved it alone for the wonderful Santa Claus experience that is Joulukka, but when he and his wife Katja took over SantaPark a few years ago, they really turned around what was a fairly dead experience into a lively one, with wonderful workers and a great theme of ‘Christmas Every Day.’” As SantaPark was honoured, this marked only the second time the award went out to a European company (after LEGO in 2002). Travelling Man And that’s not to say that Pine hasn’t been travelling outside the US very much – in fact, just about the opposite is true. In 2014, he travelled over 170,000 miles, and 2015 was not that far behind, including two visits to Finland and hitting three new countries, Malaysia, Thailand and Morocco, respectively. His unofficial motto for the road is ‘Have audience, will perform’. Apparently, the only thing that makes Pine frown on the road are four-hour dinners which generally start at 7 or 8 pm – which means that it’s normally around midnight when you can check your e-mail and prepare for the next day. But then there was that one time in winter-time Lapland where the dinner stretched to about eight hours – but you won’t hear Mr. Pine complain about that. Hosted by the Lapland Experience Organization up in Rovaniemi, the “super dinner” started with a sleigh ride, ended in a sauna – with no dull moment in sight. “I loved every minute of it – and didn’t even think about checking my e-mail.” O Sami J. Anteroinen Nordicum 9