There’s a flower shop near my home that uses a clever sign to lure customers into the shop. It says, “Come on in for a free rose if your name is Samantha!” Each day, they change the name. They’ve done Amanda, Tim, Bryce, Alicia, Tara, Lindsay, and Jason. (I declined my rose, thus sending myself home from this episode of The Bachelor in Rye Brook.)
We see that sign all the time, though it comes in different forms depending on the business. It’s a clever ploy to catch the eye, a pithy statement to acquire a customer, and a get-it-while-you-can deal to prompt an action. But these are just gimmicks, short-sighted approaches to marketing. They don’t change how the business operates.
But they should.
Imagine if that flower shop was all about human connection. They’d use that clever little sign to advertise not JUST that they have flowers (congrats, so do all your competitors), nor that they’re giving free roses to (checks today’s sign) Marie. Instead, if they were all about human connection, they’d use that sign to introduce you to that concept in a short, delightful way, before you tumbled into an entire business that was all about human connection.
They’d show you a slew of products you could personalize for that special someone. They’d follow-up with a touching, non-automated email or phone call or postcard. They’d remember your birthday and your partner’s. They’d hire empathetic people, participate in their local community, and partner with only the warmest of local business owners. Because to them, human connection isn’t a stunt to drive a sale. They’re not interested in whatever “works” before moving on to the next thing. For this business, human connection is the way to operate. They’re all about it.
We keep talking about things like “authenticity” and “customer-centricity,” and we’ve long talked about differentiation. But what we forget is how to turn these nice ideas into action. It doesn’t happen through one-off stunts or clever ploys. It happens everywhere across the business in small ways ongoing.
When an organization allows that core idea to seep into every nook and cranny of the business, those clever signs and messages aren’t gimmicks. They’re a tiny ray of light shining through, and if you decide to look behind the curtain, you’d be positively basking in sunlight. Because it’s everywhere. It’s not a gimmick or an ad. It’s the way they operate.
Whatever you do, whatever your “thing” is, ask yourself: Are you all about it?