Take Me to My Happy Place


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If you log onto The Borgata hotel, casino and leisure complex in Atlantic City, the website says “Take me to my happy place” just above the menu of things to do there.

Only six words, but shows a real understanding of how to see yourself through your customers’ eyes and be clear on the part you are offering to play in their lives.

As we all know, Starbucks positions itself as The Third Place (a respite between home and work). The Borgata presents itself as ‘My’ Happy Place ( more personal and also a lot clearer as a proposition than ‘The Third Place’, which means nothing to most people and is a bit pseud-y, to be honest).

So, what part do you play in your customers’ lives? What place are you, from their perspective? How do you fit into their lives? This is the new marketing. It’s not about you as a product or service or company. It’s about you as a piece of someone else’s jigsaw; an understanding of how you fit into their lives.

Phil Dourado
Author, Speaker, Independent Consultant
Founding editor of Customer Service Management Journal in the United States, and of its companion title, Customer Service Management Journal (now rebranded as Customer Management Magazine) in the United Kingdom. He is the author of The 6 Second Leader (Capstone, John Wiley & Sons, 27). www.PhilDourado.com


  1. Phil,

    I don’t think that Starbucks uses “The Third Place” to attract customers the way the Borgata slogan does. However, the ‘Third Place’ is a reality. It fits for coffee house across the USA, not just Starbucks. The new Bedouin’s (I’m one) grab their laptops and head out to spend part of their working day amidst java, wifi and a steady stream of patrons.


    John I. Todor, Ph.D.
    Author of Addicted Customers: How to Get Them Hooked on Your Company.

  2. You are right, of course, John, that ‘The Third Place’ is not an explicit customer communication in the way that ‘My Happy Place’ is. I was being a little glib. There was some serendipity, though, with Starbucks that wasn’t, as far as I know, in the business plan. The emergence of millions of us who, in our heads, are constantly in The Third Place (halfway between work and home) because that is how we work nowadays, not anchored to an office, and with work and the rest of our lives snaking in and out of each other rather than being delineated, is something Starbucks and the other coffee houses who went for wifi cottoned onto rather than anticipated. As it’s become commoditized, Starbucks itself has been losing ground lately. You’ve reminded me of their original supposed structure chart, which I have somewhere and will find and post.

    Phil Dourado

  3. I’ll admit to never having visited the Borgata resort. Hey, I’ve never been to Atlantic City, but I will say this. If I were the marketing director for the resort complex and I wanted to promote it as ‘my happy place’ I’d certainly want to show pictures of people enjoying it as ‘my happy place’. The illustration shows an immaculate spa with immaculate loungers in equally immaculate military formation. There’s no-one in the picture. Where are the happy customers experiencing ‘my happy place’? Francis Buttle

  4. If anyone from The Borgata reads your point, Francis, I suspect they’ll do one of those Homer Simpson ‘D’ohhh!’ slap-forehead moments and go out and shoot some pictures of happy people having fun. Unless all they can find is miserable customers who just lost all their money.

    Phil Dourado


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