Read a great story this morning on Dave St. Lawrence's blog that compared his experiences at two different wineries. At the first winery,
"We admired the appointments, drank our lattes and left, feeling that we had somehow missed the point of going there. It had been an interesting experience, to say the least, but not very satisfying, like going to the Museum of Fine Art for lunch. We recovered from our puzzlement by stopping in at the Jefferson winery on our way home. The wine drinkers in our party sampled everything in sight and we ambled out of there with arms full of wine bottles and other purchases."
A perfect example of the new brand imperative: creating customer experiences. A brand is no longer just for show, especially in today's society where customers have more choices than ever before. Successful companies take the time to understand the type of experiences that customers want. Reminds me of a gift that I once received that was more reflective of the giver... I had absolutely no desire or use for a see-through phone that lit up when it rang. I knew this person well enough to ask, 'did you really think I would like this?" and after a moment's reflection, he responded, "no, I guess you wouldn't like it. I just thought it was cool."
I'm not advocating a purely altruistic 'we gotta do whatever the customer wants whether we like it or not' philosophy. There's a happy win-win zone when you can create the kind of customer experience that's both in alignment with your values and vision, and also one that your customers love, pay for and refer others.