Become a Superhero to Customers, and Watch Your Brand Soar
Customer satisfaction is a four-letter word these days. It's also the new bare minimum. All "satisfaction" means is that your client only has one wandering eye and one foot out the door. What your prospects and clients are looking for is a superhero -- specifically for you to be their superhero.
How do I know this? Our society is fascinated with superheroes. There are 29 superhero movies slated to hit the big screen over the next four years. "Be a superhero" was even the theme of a national recruiting conference I recently spoke at.
Why this fascination with superheroes? I asked Dan Tudor, president of Tudor Collegiate Strategies, why he selected this as the theme of his conference. He explains that "in every business, even college recruitment, people are looking for someone to rescue them."
I couldn't agree more. Just like our society roots for superheroes in comic books and movies, in business we like to root for people who solve problems, right wrongs and defeat evil.
Tudor says that "we're at a point in business today where if you aren't exceptional, you're not going to win."
This stands to reason, given the fact that people are so over-marketed to and have become jaded. Your best marketing is to be exceptional and even a little odd. When you're odd, you're not trying to appeal to everyone. Remember, superheroes can't and don't save everyone.
The importance of being a superhero extends well beyond the big screen and conference stages, it shows up on entertainment stages too.
In an interview with Charlie Pennachio, tour manager of Big & Rich, he explained that "to create an exceptional experience for our audience, we've assembled what we call our superhero team by adding artists whose strengths complement one another. For example, we're now touring with a DJ and a rapping cowboy (DJ Sinister and Troy Coleman) who bring a different vibe and new energy to the tour."
He went on to state that they've gone so far as having Spiderman make appearances on stage to add that odd element to the performance and create crossover pop culture appeal. In the process, the tour members differentiate themselves even further from their peers.
You don't have to actually don a costume to be a superhero. It could be as simple as what Nashville's Gaylord Opryland Hotel does. During a recent speaking engagement there, I needed to be rescued several times.
Shortly before my flight home, I forgot I had two cases of leftover books that needed to be shipped. Normally, I'd call guest services, but the Gaylord doesn't have guest services and there's no guest services button on the hotel room phone. Instead, they have Consider It Done Agents (the hotel's version of superheroes) and a "Consider It Done" button on phones (complete with a smiley face).
Consider It Done isn't just some pithy slogan, it's actually woven into the fabric of the culture. When I got off the phone with Summer, who arranged to have the boxes immediately taken from my room to FedEx, I began connecting the dots.
Those boxes I mentioned got shipped to the hotel a few days earlier and were nowhere to be found upon my arrival. Gaylord staff didn't tell me, "call FedEx yourself and ask them to track it." Instead, the front desk manager said "we will find your boxes and bring them to you."
Sure enough, within 20 minutes my cell phone rang and he informed me the boxes were waiting for me in my room along with a hand-written thank you card from Summer, the same agent who rescued me at the end of my stay.
With a "Consider It Done" culture the Gaylord superheroes put guests' minds at ease by delivering an exceptional experience. I was impressed to the point that I wanted to manufacture some sort of outlandish crisis just to see what they could do for an encore. But I think we already know the answer.
Here's how you can build your superhero reputation:
- Determine the evil your customers need to be rescued from. For example, bankruptcy.
- Figure out how your super power aligns with this. One of my colleagues, Kim Fowler, is a realtor specializing in short sales. The evil her customers need to be rescued from is often foreclosure. Her super power is that she's a certified distressed property expert.
- Give your superhero self a name. Kim's superhero name is THE Real Estate Lady (it's her version of Wonder Woman).
- Give your superhero a motto. The Gaylord Opryland's is "consider it done" and Mighty Mouse's is "Here I come to save the day."
Like these examples from various industries, define yourself as a certain type of superhero according to what you're exceptional at. It will be what sets you apart and gives people a compelling reason to root for you.
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