What makes a Great Brand great?

People. that’s the answer. Plain and simple.

Of course a great vision and a decent marketing budget help but at the end of the day, it all comes down to a person interacting with you, the Consumer (I hate that one-dimensional word btw), and delivering a Brand Experience.

Good or bad, it may be up to that Central Market employee or that Olive Garden Hostess.
It just happened to me at a Starbucks. Sure, sure. I know what you’re thinking, but let me tell you that it’s not about the quality of the $300 cup of coffee or the cool music but it’s about the people working at the counter.
Ok, but let’s go back to the story. As I’m driving aimlessly in west Plano, after working on my taxes, I see a Stabucks that I’ve never been to nor I’ve seen in my life.

I decide to get a jolt of caffeine and stop by.

As I get in, the typical smiling face greets me, ready to translate my order into Starbuckian. You know, the 5-pump Grande Non-Fat Chai Latte Extra Hot or whatever it is.
The point is that I as ask for my NonFatLatte, the barista says: “Aldo? Oh my God how are you? it’s great to see an old friend!”

Wow. I’m shocked. It turns out that she transfered more than a year ago to this location from Uptown Dallas.
More than a year ago, and she still remembers my name.
Two possible reasons: she remembers because she associated me with the Shoe store of the same name, or she’s just simply that good.
Either way, I am a fan of her and of this brand. Customer Service doesn’t even start to describe it.
The embarrasing part is that I don’t even know her name.

I think Starbucks and Southwest Airlines are some of the few companies that are very careful about the people the invite on board and that’s one of the reasons their brands are among the most loved ones in the country.
I’m sure a lot of companies have the manuals and training on how to treat customers, but it really takes skill and effort to master it. And I don’t think there’s any training for truly caring about people and what they want from a brand. You either have it or you don’t.
This applies to Communication Agencies, CPAs, Supermarkets and even Shoe Stores.
We truly need to care about our clients, customers, partners and vendors. Because after all we are not only persons, we are also our own brand.
By the way, her name is Mary. (I apologized for my rudeness and for not asking her before and she told me not to worry about it, and asked me to be safe in the icy road. Of course.)


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