As marketers, there’s little we love as much as a good alliterative phrase; we love them even more if they’re irreverent, as in the mantra gaslight, gatekeep, girlboss. A caricature of the maligned ‘live, laugh, love’, the mantra highlights noxious behaviors that abound both online and off. We want to zero in, for a moment, on gatekeep—or rather, we want to zero in on how to combat gatekeeping in the realm of experiential.
Coined by social psychologist Kurt Lewin, gatekeeping refers to the filtering process of information. Within niche communities, experiential, and other third spaces, it’s an exclusionary tactic. Rather than producing a sense of intimacy, gatekeeping produces a sense of unnecessary snobbery, and in experiences, it can have a negative impact on brand perception. In place of gatekeeping, we offer up generous authority.
In our recently-published white paper, Experience 2.0, we identified and defined distinctive tenets of emotional presence; those tenets include Generous Authorities. As defined in our report, generous authorities are key figures within an event. They act as conductors, guiding the guest narrative from invite to exit, all whilst embodying and protecting the event’s purpose with a spirit of generosity and service. Whether they’re emcees, hosts, DJs, bartenders, or other figures, they create a sense of community and connection within an experience, bringing guests deeper into the world of the experience.
Some experiences and spaces have distinctive generous authorities, such as the safer space monitors of the New York dance club, Nowadays. The club, located in the Ridgewood neighborhood of Queens, is distinctive even within the expansive pantheon of NYC clubs. It operates under strict, community-centric Safer Space policies, aimed at creating a welcoming space for everyone who steps into its dancefloor. The policies, which emphasize consent and include limited cell phone use, are embodied and enforced by a cadre of people, from bartenders to to DJs—but it’s the Safer Space Monitors that transform Nowadays from a club to a community.