TEA Connect Blog

29 June 2016

TEA Member Spotlight: Klaus Sommer Paulsen, AdventureLAB

I could never imagine not being part of the Themed Entertainment Association. Being involved with the TEA continuously helps me define what the role of AdventureLAB is and will be in a changing world. I get to work with brilliant colleagues who fuel my own motivation and inspiration, personally and professionally.

-- Klaus Sommer Paulsen, CEO, Creative Director & Founder, AdventureLAB; TEA Europe & Middle East Division (EME) Board Member

 

Klaus Sommer Paulsen takes his role in the themed entertainment community to heart. In addition to serving on the TEA EME Division Board (since 2011), Klaus serves on two TEA Committees: Membership and Marketing & Communications. He is also an educator at the professional development and college levels. His company, AdventureLAB, based in Denmark, creates strategic experience concepts for themed and branded engagement, entertainment and exploration.

 

How did you get your start in the industry? 

I started writing and visualizing stories at a young age, and it came naturally to me to become a multimedia designer. That took me into integrated marketing and branded events, and along the line I did get to work with toys, attractions and game design.

Initially I did not think of my work as themed entertainment, but as I got more and more involved with the core brand experience of attractions, museums, hotels, destinations and musical acts, I would consider everything that made up that experience to the audience - whether customers, visitors, or both.

One day, in an informal meeting with the head of tourism management of a destination, the topic of increasing visits and visitor stay came up. We quickly went beyond discussing communications to how we could put people in the middle of exploring and experiencing the stories of the area. That grew into a project that marked my final transition to considering guest experience first and foremost in everything I do. 

 

How would you describe your company and its markets today?

We focus on what will attract audiences and make them come back for more. We take into overall consideration what happens before and after the visit, often creating the connection across time and space and adding a digital dimension.

We set the scene for and with the artists, ride designers, engineers and others to do their best possible work with a strong, overall themed concept and creative strategy in place to work from, regardless of whether we are talking about a park, zone or time-limited theme or event.

Most of our work has been in Northern Europe and North America, and lately also in Asia, but we have also been accepted as a possible vendor for the 2020 World Expo in Dubai.

 

Tell us about your educational endeavors.

We continuously work on being a constant progressive force of evolution in how audiences experience attraction, destination, retail and brand spaces with our involvement in areas such as professional training, education, events and acceleration programs for businesses.

One example is the recurring Integrated Storytelling online program, that addresses how to understand and apply new narrative structures. Another is myself developing and leading a college level course in my region in themed entertainment, now in its third year.

 

What is special about working in themed entertainment?

Where do I begin? The diverse talent, the never-ending journey of discovery, the incredible creations and events that emerges into reality from pieces of paper are just a select few things that come to mind.

At its core, the themed entertainment industry is about a wide range of disciplines and competencies coming together to bring a grand vision to life. And it functions on a truly interdisciplinary level, with success and amazing achievements again and again.

Image from a video presentation given by Klaus Sommer Paulsen
at a TEA EME gathering. Scroll down for the full video.

Share a project “war storywith us.

At AdventureLAB we often get to work with Viking-related attractions and events - even several at a time. It has become something of a specialty. On one such project, while audience testing a show we were strongly reminded why field tests are so important when doing mobile storytelling out in the open.

The show was a dramatization of a famous king’s feud with his son. The storytelling format was non-linear, and the user testing was to help ensure that no one would have their experience disrupted by technology barriers.

We brought the test audience to a place we already knew very well from previous, initial work, location scouting and exploration. Or so we thought. Nobody had thought of telling us about the goats living there, and we had not encountered them before.

It was one kind of challenge for people to be stepping in what goats naturally leave behind, and bravely still move forward. A still greater challenge was the appearance of a ram that was not happy to have mobile device-wielding people trampling around in his territory. The test audience actually never realized they were being targeted, as they casually made their way into the safety of an old Viking ringfort on their route. Luckily, no audience members or animals came to harm!

What motivates you to be involved with TEA? 

Like any other network, TEA is what you bring into it. Be actively involved, and you will get to know great people, and they will get to know you. I have certainly worked on projects that I believe would not have happened without being actively involved the TEA.

I first discovered TEA online while my company was making the transition from integrated marketing to strategic experience. I knew I needed to find a network of people, companies and competencies where we would fit in and be able to evolve.

Going to my first TEA SATE conference, I felt immediately welcome. The TEA membership have a shared mindset and passion for their work. Not only did people get what I was doing, they were doing it themselves in so many various and wondrous ways. 

Today, I could honestly never imagine not being part of the TEA.

 

Posted by Judy Rubin

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1 comments

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Adam Sharp  •  30 June 2016

Fantastic interview! Great stories shared! Thanks!

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