Pike Place Fish Market has spawned (!) at least two different motivational approaches for delivering a remarkable customer experience. One has to do with Flying Fish Presentations; the other with the Fish! Philosophy which Sandy Smith [whom you may remember from Getting More Customers By Articulating Expectations: Sandy Smith] described during a presentation to NTCA 5-Star Contractors.
Pike Place Fish Market Inspires Fish! Philosophy
According to the Fish! Philosophy, you're able to build strong relationships with customers [and employees] by knowing how to play, being there for customers, making customers' day and choosing your attitude.
Sandy Smith described the Fish! Philosophy during a discussion on motivation and leadership. For anyone dealing with customers, your customer experience is only as good as the last employee interaction. If employees aren't energized and fully engaged in delighting customers, there's no chance of creating a remarkable customer experience.
[Sandy brought up data from the Gallup organization about engaged employees. The latest data indicates that 30% of employees are engaged, 51% not engaged and 19% actively disengaged. Frequently, the weak link isn't the person, but rather the process or system which allows weakness and disengagement to happen.
In today's environment, we learn more from the kayaker than the sailor how to fail gracefully and recover quickly. Success comes from intense and ongoing communication with the members of a team. Training should be ongoing without being rushed. The team should regularly discuss, debrief, have conversation to learn from each situation [i.e., each new set of rapids]. The debrief process is a learning experience that makes possible the next level of complexity.]
Leadership Sets Tone for Remarkable Customer Experience
Ultimately, the quality of the customer experience we deliver comes from the tone set at the top of the organization. That's why it's so important to have in place strong leadership which identifies for the organization:
1. Purpose/mission: why do we exist?
2. Goals/direction: where are we going?
3. Role/clarity: what's our role?
4. Feedback: how are we doing?
5. Support: where can we go when we need help?
6. Rewards: what's in it for each individual?
A World Famous Customer Experience Defined by Pike Place Fish Market
Going back to Pike Place Fish Market, if you read through how they became world famous, you'll notice "The first step for us at Pike Place Fish was to decide who we wanted to be... world famous".
The next step was defining the meaning of "being world famous... For us it means going beyond just providing outstanding service to people. It means really being present with people and relating to them as human beings. You know, stepping outside the usual "we're in business and you're a customer" way of relating to people and intentionally being with them right now, in the present moment, person to person. We take all our attention off ourselves to be only with them...looking for ways to serve them. We're out to discover how we can make their day. We've made a commitment to have our customers leave with the experience of having been served. They experience being known and appreciated whether they buy fish or not. And it's not good enough just to want that - it takes an unrelenting commitment. We've made it our job to make sure that experience happens for every customer." To us, being ‘World Famous' is a way of being. You can't manualize it. It gets created by each one of us, newly every time. It comes out differently for different people. It also depends on who the customer is...how they react. It's about taking care of people. We're always on the lookout for how we can make a difference in people's lives."
Remarkable Customer Experience is About Motivated People Delighting Customers
What I find so remarkable about this is the focus on people, and creating individual remarkable experiences based on human interactions [not too different from Social Media: Corner Grocer Style]; it's passion come to life through fun, focus, humility, teamwork and a desire to delight people. It's the equivalent of Zappos' Customer Experiences that Wow, Zappos Embodies Customer Service and Zappos and Service.
How do you create remarkable customer experiences?
I'm always on the lookout for innovative business marketing ideas, ones that simplify or solve problems, that breakthrough humdrum routines. Columbia Business School's BRITE '12 Conference did that with Julie Cottineau's presentation titled 5 Strategies for Successful Entrepreneurial Branding.
Julie Cottineau, founder of BrandTwist, was immersed in breakthrough business marketing ideas as vice president, brand, Virgin USA. Her focus at BrandTwist is challenging perspectives to come up with unexpected solutions, juxtaposing two brands - for example - twisting their essence together to generate a fresh take.
As with the framework described during BRITE 09: Innovating During Downturns & Surviving the Worst, I found Julie's 5 successful strategies for entrepreneurial branding and the brand fan inspirational exercise thought-provoking...
Here follow my highlights:
How to take the desire to do things better and funnel that into entrepreneurial success stories?
1. Make it personal. Take something you care intensely about and figure out to to make it reality. The idea for Virgin came about because Richard Branson believed that people deserved better.
2. Take a fresh look. What would a McDonald's plane look like? What about a mashup of Delta and Starbucks? KLM announced social seating for flights. How might more "Apple-ness" be integrated into businesses?
3. Be useful rather than innovative. This places the customer as the center of the thought-process for breakthrough business marketing ideas. Think how useful Zappos, Pinterest, Starbucks, Trader Joe's are to customers. Innovations add value and usefulness.
4. Live in constant Beta. Never achieve perfection; be constantly innovating, improving, adding usefulness. [I find 'living in beta' takes away the stress associated with a project and turns it into an ongoing learning experience.]
5. Fail smarter. Learn from every experience so the next iteration is that much better.
Julie Cottineau then took us through a 'brand fan inspirational' exercise:
Step 1: Think of brands you admire intensely [no lukewarm brands here!]; ones that are intensely customer focused [Zappos], anticipate customer behaviors [Amazon], solve old problems in new ways [Apple]. Detail the following:
- What do you admire about this brand?
- How does it solve customer problems?
- What is the customer experience like?
- What makes the brand effective? Is it people, processes, products?
- How does the brand take part in the digital world? Does it help the customer experience?
- How does it behave compared to competitors?
Step 2: Think about your own business.
- What are customer 'pain points' that you wish to improve?
- How would you surprise and delight customers?
Step 3: Get inspired!
- What if your model brand had to solve your problems? How would it approach them? What would it do? What would it change?
- How would Apple deal with your problems? How would Whole Foods or Trader Joe's? How would a mashup of Citibank and Google reinvent your banking customer experience? What about a combination of Barnes & Noble and Starbucks for a local public library? [Which is the case in Bibliotheek Almere For an Unforgettable Retail Experience].
Pretty interesting, do you think?
You can hear Julie Cottineau speak about 5 Strategies for Successful Entrepreneurial Branding in this 7 minute video.
[Click on Five Strategies for Entrepreneurial Branding, Julie Cottineau, Founder, BrandTwist, former VP of Brand, Virgin USA to link directly to this video on YouTube.]
What are your reactions?
How do you plan to develop breakthrough business marketing ideas for your organization? Which brands inspire you the most and how do you see twisting them?
In his BRITE '12
presentation titled A New Path to Purchase, Moving at the Speed of Digital
, Marc Speichert, Chief Marketing Officer, L'Oreal USA, used the 'loyalty loop' to demonstrate how Dermablend, a L'Oreal brand, raised awareness with customers using digital tools.
I was particularly taken with the example Marc shared to illustrate the consideration phase of the loyalty loop
, a product used for skin coverage. As described in Dermablend's About Us
: "For the past 30 years Dermablend has been recognized as an expert given the exceptional performance of Dermablend products in terms of coverage, wearability and skincare benefits. High performance wear and coverage has ensured its well-known and renowned recognition by the medical community and professional makeup artists.
In other words, this is a serious skincare product.
It's also a brand with a very low advertising budget, yet which needed to generate more awareness for itself.
Not only did this approach generate awareness, but it also created a powerfully visual and talkworthy story shared online through video. Read through the comments on Go Beyond the Cover; you'll notice conversation about societal perceptions, norms, individuality... This reminds me of Dove - What Is Real Beauty?
The Zombie Boy transformation is dramatic. The resulting story creates a powerful testimonial for those who have been disfigured and want/need to look 'normal'. Imagine the strength of this product's loyalty loop. It won't take much to transform buyers into long term brand advocates!
Results: Go Beyond the Cover with Zombie Boy generated 5.7 million views and 576k shares on Facebook in 10 days.
Marc concluded with the following takeaways:
- Know who is your shopper
- Understand the consumer journey
- Spend where it matters to connect with customers
- Measure, evaluate and experiment
What's your reaction to the loyalty loop? Do you find it helps put into perspective the changes you've noticed in your marketplace?
How might you create your own 'go beyond the cover with Zombie Boy' story?
How intensely do you pursue business innovation? Are you relentless about it? Do you find opportunities for innovation in extreme places?
The article below, titled "Extreme Foreignness, Innovation & Execution", was my contribution to the 2010 edition of Age of Conversation, a collaborative book series which brought together bloggers from around the world who each contributed one chapter. [See Age of Conversation 3: It's Time To Get Busy! for more perspective.] It focuses on innovation in business and the benefits that come from embracing the intensity and 'foreignness' of the experience through conversation.
My nephew, Sean B. Sullivan, inspired the article. At the time, he was living in Tokyo, surrounded by foreignness, learning intensely.
Have you had a similar situation?
Extreme Foreignness, Innovation & Execution
By C.B. Whittemore
Opportunities for innovation surround us. Yet, we don’t always recognize them. Why not? I believe because we shut ourselves off from them. Some of it has to do with so much doom and gloom that we’ve squashed our intellectual curiosity; some, with not having figured out how to manage the information chaos both personally and corporately; and some, with not being sure how to explore, experiment and exchange ideas. How to stop shutting out innovation?
Imagine that you are American and have been sent on assignment toTokyo. You may admire Japanese culture, but you can neither speak the language nor read Kanji. What then?
Will you opt to seek out others just like you, perhaps through the American Consulate? Will you limit interactions to fellow Ex-Pats, live within an American compound, send your children to American school and do your best to purchase only American-like foods?
Or, will you open yourself to full foreign immersion: walk the streets, listen for patterns, observe body language, go to local Yakitori BBQ joints and ride the subway? Take Japanese language classes and find bilingual sherpas with whom to bridge the cultural and language barriers and engage in conversation to make sense of the differences? Pretty soon, you reach a point where you are able to participate fully in the experience and are already considering new integrated approaches.
I equate innovation with the experience of extreme foreignness. Not that you have to go all the way toTokyo. Rather, by opening yourself up to conversation and the variety of perspectives that conversation uncovers, you open the door to innovation – to hearing about customer frustrations and suggestions for improvement. That’s what Fiskars has done with its brand ambassadors, the Fiskateers, who provide feedback on products and obtain insights from retailers and consumers.
Conversation can also help ensure better execution. Take Wiggly Wigglers and its crowdsourced catalog. What better way to engage customers and community by executing as a result of conversation-based innovation!
The best part of these types of conversation based innovations is that they lead to continuous improvement; to small successes that build one on the other and that enable you to rapidly become fluent in what one was a total foreign language and culture.
Are you ready for a dose of extreme foreignness?
By the way, the foreign theme also appears in Getting Started With Social Media Marketing...