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4 Ways to Take Your Company from Good to Awesome


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4 Ways to Take Your Company from Good to Awesome

  1. 1. 4 Ways to Take Your Company from Good to Awesome By Scott Stratten Author of The Book of Business Awesome
  2. 2. Introduction We can’t all be or work somewhere super cool like Google. And I’m glad that we can’t, because if we were all the same, we’d all be perfectly ordinary. When we see awesome companies at work around us, a few things can happen. As customers, we love them for it. They make the day-to-day chore of being a consumer so much more fun. We’ve all seen enough boring commercials. We actually spend time and money on ways to avoid being sold to, so the last thing we’re looking for is another boring sales pitch. Let’s be honest, we get excited as customers when we’re just not treated badly. We can’t help but lose our minds when something great happens. 4 Ways to Take Your Company from Good to Awesome - Scott Stratten 2
  3. 3. As business owners, the effects are a little more complicated. For me, seeing and reading about the great things people do in business makes me feel like I can do great things, too. That’s why I love to share them. But sometimes, these examples can be intimidating and even limiting. It’s very easy to see an awesome company in action and think that you’ll never be able to do the things they can do, because you’re just getting started, or don’t have their budget or resources or because your industry isn’t cool enough, or you’re sure your customers wouldn’t like it. Other people’s awesome can sometimes make us feel a little small. Too often, feeling intimidated becomes our excuse not to be awesome. I want to make sure that, as you read this paper, you put yourself in the picture. Don’t be overwhelmed or think that you need to mimic the stories I’m going to share. Instead, be inspired to find your own brand of awesome, that only you can bring to the table. 4 Ways to Take Your Company from Good to Awesome - Scott Stratten 3
  4. 4. Using Situational Awesome to Build Relationships Business is built on relationships — on the simple act of people interacting and engaging with others — and that all starts with the individual, with you. In every great business story there is an individual who started it all. Every great marketing campaign started with someone deciding to take a chance and step outside the norm. The outstanding customer service a company is known for was executed one contact at a time and started with one voice deciding to care. They may not have always executed it on their own, but at the start there was one. I call this situational awesome, and we can all do it. We have access to it every day in our attitudes and interactions. It starts with the passion we have for our work and/or our product. It can be as simple as just giving a damn about our customers. Sometimes it’s as simple as saying “I’m sorry this happened” to a customer on the service line. It might sound simple, but this is the start of every great story I share in this paper. Someone decided to care or to try. This can be a cashier, a janitor or a volunteer. 4 Ways to Take Your Company from Good to Awesome - Scott Stratten 4
  5. 5. If you are a parent reading this, then you know all about the panic that comes when your child loses their favorite toy. You know the one, the tattered old bear they can’t sleep without. For my son, it was his “Soosoo,” a pacifier, and he’d rock three of them at a time. He’s something of a pacifier ninja. When pacifiers went missing, there was a panic of epic proportions. How will this child ever go to sleep without his Soosoo? If you don’t have children, just imaging leaving your iPhone somewhere. There you go. We all know that feeling of panic and how we’d do everything and anything just to hold our pacifier/iPhone in our mouth/hands again. When Chris Hurn’s family enjoyed a vacation at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, they returned home happy with their time away, only to find their son had left his beloved toy, Joshie the giraffe, behind. *Cue parental panic* 4 Ways to Take Your Company from Good to Awesome - Scott Stratten 5
  6. 6. They did what any good parent would do: They lied, explaining to their son that Joshie wasn’t lost, but simply enjoying an extended vacation. The Ritz-Carlton was in touch with them that night to let them know that Joshie had been found and would be returned to them as soon as possible. This is where a good story could end. The family was happy, Joshie was found and on his way home. The Ritz-Carlton provided a level of service so much better than what most businesses would do, it’s almost blog worthy in itself. But, it didn’t end there. As parents, we’ll do just about anything to stop this, including lie. 4 Ways to Take Your Company from Good to Awesome - Scott Stratten 6
  7. 7. The cleaning staff that found the toy understood just how important the little guy was and decided to take it upon themselves to go above and beyond ok, and be awesome. They took pictures of Joshie, enjoying his extended vacation — on the golf course, getting a massage, meeting up with friends, even working off his room bill by helping the Loss Prevention Team. They sent the photos, plus his Ritz-Carlton staff ID badge, home with Joshie. Joshie enjoying the pool. 4 Ways to Take Your Company from Good to Awesome - Scott Stratten 7
  8. 8. Amazing. The person who did this wasn’t a top-level CEO. This wasn’t part of any plan or statement sent down to the cleaning staff. This is situational awesome — employees, in this case a front-line worker, seeing an opportunity to be awesome and taking it. They earned more than the loyalty of the family. The story was written about and shared online and the awesome spread. With over 5,000 likes on Facebook and almost 600 tweets, the story reached a far greater audience than could have ever been intended. In light of this story, when I think about the Ritz-Carlton now, I don’t picture their fancy logo or crafted commercials; I think of the story of Joshie — and I bet others do too. That is what branding is all about, and it’s happening every day, dynamically changing based on the experience of our market. That is situational awesome at its best. Read more about Joshie’s stay at the Ritz-Carlton here. 4 Ways to Take Your Company from Good to Awesome - Scott Stratten 8
  9. 9. Finding Our Occupational Awesome Next we have occupational awesome, which although similar to situational awesome, comes with a little more definition. Occupational awesome is about our roles and how they define windows of awesome for us. While it might be easy to assume that more senior positions would have an easier time finding opportunities for awesome, this isn’t always true. For example, customer service agents — because of their daily interaction with customers — have a special opportunity to make amazing things happen in their companies every day. Front line workers are given the ability to make a huge impact on brand perception, because their jobs give them so many opportunities to engage with customers. Other positions in a company come with their own opportunities. Every single job in a company is important, and every single person is a part of your branding and marketing. 4 Ways to Take Your Company from Good to Awesome - Scott Stratten 9
  10. 10. A while back I did a marketing experiment and went to my local mall on a Tuesday afternoon — not exactly a booming time for retail. I walked from store to store and paid attention to the staff and how I was met and treated at each stop. In all but one store, I was ignored or, at best, tolerated. Business would be so much better without these pesky customers, right? Questions were answered as quickly as possible, and I was treated mostly as a nuisance. Until I came to Lush. Lush sells soap, bath balms and salts — all 10 x 10 feet of it. I walked in and was greeted excitedly, offered a tour and went on to learn more about soap than I had ever intended. I walked out 20 minutes later with $80 in unplanned soap purchases, all because someone cared that I had chosen her store for a visit that day. She didn’t know I would write about her or speak about her. She didn’t care whether I was a returning customer or a new one. She simply cared about her job and showed a passion for her product. And you know what happened when the next person walked in? The exact same thing. Her job meant that she was responsible for greeting customers and answering their questions, and she did so awesomely each and every time. 4 Ways to Take Your Company from Good to Awesome - Scott Stratten 10
  11. 11. To foster occupational awesome at your company, you have to inspire your employees about your products, service and offerings. Help them connect what they do every day — no matter what it is — to the overall business. Businesses that do this will enjoy better occupational awesome. 4 Ways to Take Your Company from Good to Awesome - Scott Stratten 11
  12. 12. Inspiring Divisional Awesome Next up on our list of awesome business is divisional awesome. This section of awesome business is about the amazing things that can happen when people work together and the results of their collaboration are greater than the sum of their parts. It’s easier to understand divisional awesome, by understanding what it is not; you don’t have divisional awesome when your great service doesn’t extend through the resolution chain. To be divisionally awesome, you have to be awesome at every touch point with your customers. 4 Ways to Take Your Company from Good to Awesome - Scott Stratten 12
  13. 13. As businesses, we run our companies through silos. There is marketing, customer service, sales, human resources and more. We use these divisions to keep ourselves organized and make sure we aren’t missing anything important, right? The problem is that customers don’t see silos. If they see your company name on a social media account and reach out to you, only to be told that the account isn’t the right place to ask customer service questions, they will likely be upset to be in touch with a company official who isn’t willing to help them. No matter where someone interacts with your company or brand, you better offer them an outstanding experience; if you don’t, you’re not awesome and you run the risk of losing customers. Here’s an example of divisional awesome: I travel around the country speaking to audiences about awesome and unawesome business stories, which means I spend a lot of time in airports. A few months ago, I was waiting to go through security for a Delta flight. It was a busy time at the airport, and so I had given myself lots of extra time for the wait. As I finally made it to the front of the line, a group of flight attendants pushed their way in front of me. 4 Ways to Take Your Company from Good to Awesome - Scott Stratten 13
  14. 14. Now I understand the first rule of flight club: the plane will leave without me, but not without them. I know they need to get through security. But after the fifth person pushed my bag out of the way without so much as an “excuse me” my patience wore thin. And I said, “Come on now. Not even an ‘excuse me?’” The attendant right in front of me took some offense to this and, in her snarkiest tone, replied, “We said excuse me. Why don’t you open your ears?” Seriously? I could not believe my very open ears. Did she not realize I was her customer? She was a Delta employee, wearing a Delta uniform with a shiny Delta pin, and, at that moment, she was Delta to me. And I was furious. And so I did what we do these days. I tweeted. 4 Ways to Take Your Company from Good to Awesome - Scott Stratten 14
  15. 15. Within a few minutes, the Delta account replied to me with an apology. And that was it. They didn’t offer me a jet or a free flight. No one delivered ice cream to gate D9. They sent a simple acknowledgment and that was it. The social media department used the opportunities for awesome available to them and diffused an angry customer. They made the difference between me speaking across the country about “why I never, never, never fly delta and you shouldn’t either,” and made it a story about brand recovery instead. That is divisional awesome. 4 Ways to Take Your Company from Good to Awesome - Scott Stratten 15
  16. 16. Within divisional awesome, there is opportunity for situational awesome and occupational awesome. The difference is that divisional awesome extends to an entire department. When you start to achieve divisional awesome, use that department as a model for other departments that need to get awesome. When one division of a company starts to shine, hopefully the others will be inspired to stand out, too. 4 Ways to Take Your Company from Good to Awesome - Scott Stratten 16
  17. 17. Using Institutional Awesome to Be Totally Awesome And last, but certainly not least, is institutional awesome. This is where you find companies who through the work of individuals and groups have created brand- wide amazingness; it’s the highest level of awesome, because it means situational awesome has turned to occupational awesome to divisional awesome and onto institutional awesome. Institutionally awesome companies are the ones known for their outstanding customer service, products, services and campaigns. This level has an especially powerful role to play through hiring and human resources. Here, a company can create opportunities for awesome at every level, from the individual up. 4 Ways to Take Your Company from Good to Awesome - Scott Stratten 17
  18. 18. As far as I’m concerned, HR is the most crucial component of a company. If you don’t hire the right people, nothing that marketing or sales can do for you will matter. The old “warm body” syndrome, where hiring would simply mean filling in lower-paid positions in your company with anyone who came along, is really asking for trouble today in the Internet era. It is these frontline workers, who are usually the least paid and least appreciated, who actually have the most influence day to day on your brand. And unlike pervious generations, customers now have a loud and public platform to voice their grievances. People are a funny species. We all think we’re unique in what makes us successful in our industries when, in reality, we all thrive off the same basic principles. We want to matter. We want to believe that we have a greater impact with the work that we do. And the minute we think that we don’t, our carelessness comes to the surface. If your employees know they make a difference on a day-to-day basis, I can promise you that not only will they do their jobs better, but they will remain with your company longer. And awesome HR is the key to making all of that a reality. 4 Ways to Take Your Company from Good to Awesome - Scott Stratten 18
  19. 19. Unfortunately, most of the time HR is involved on the negative side — with what employees are doing or can do wrong. Rather than focusing on the “what ifs” on the bad side, we need HR to be a catalyst for what employees can do better. This is especially true for social media and establishing guidelines to create opportunities for success rather than trying to censor workers. At the institutional level we also see what public relations can do for a brand and how awesome PR will not only do damage control, it will make the company come out looking even better than they did before the mistake. A great example of the value of a prompt PR recovery that demonstrated institutional awesome was FedEx’s response after a video of one of their employees went viral back in December 2011. The video was a 10-second clip of one of their delivery drivers chucking a computer monitor over a fence rather than ringing the bell at the gate and taking it to the front door. The video could not have been shot more brilliantly. The camera angle showed both the driver walking up and the FedEx truck, complete with logo perfectly positioned into the background. One guy, obviously dissatisfied with the service, shot and uploaded the video. Then the geekalanche began. The un-awesome spread, and millions of views poured in. 4 Ways to Take Your Company from Good to Awesome - Scott Stratten 19
  20. 20. Faster than any brand I have ever seen, FedEx responded, and within a day or so, there was a blog posted to their corporate page titled, “Absolutely, Positively Unacceptable.” You can read the post here. A bad delivery by a FedEx employee. 4 Ways to Take Your Company from Good to Awesome - Scott Stratten 20
  21. 21. The post was thorough, showed remorse and gave no excuses. Comments on the page were left open for anyone who wanted to contribute. An overwhelming percentage of these comments ended up being positive and supportive to the brand. They included a video of their senior vice president of U.S. operations apologizing for the customer’s experience and let everyone know publicly that they have resolved the issue with the customer and were disciplining the driver responsible. The apology was widely shared online. And although it did not catch up to the spread of the original video, it did hit the majority of their customer base. 4 Ways to Take Your Company from Good to Awesome - Scott Stratten 21
  22. 22. Coming Together in Awesomeness Together, situational, occupational, divisional and institutional awesome come together and become your brand voice, the message and the image people think of when they think about your company. No matter whether your business is a one-person show just getting started or a multi-national corporation, whether you are a front-line worker or a top-level executive, you can create awesome. Don’t let the awesome of others intimidate you or keep you from moving forward. Focus on finding your own windows of awesome every day and remember the individual is the start. How can you be awesome today? 4 Ways to Take Your Company from Good to Awesome - Scott Stratten 22
  23. 23. About Scott Stratten Scott Stratten is the President of Un-Marketing. He is an expert in Viral, Social, and Authentic Marketing which he calls Un-Marketing. It’s all about positioning yourself as a trusted expert in front of your target market, so when they have the need, they choose you. He has over 135,000 people follow his daily rantings on Twitter and was named one of the top 5 social media influencers in the world on His new book entitled “The Book Of Business Awesome: How Engaging Your Customers And Employees Can Make Your Business Thrive” is a best-seller, breaking the rules of how companies are truly marketed and grown through the current online/offline world.
  24. 24. About the sponsor About LogMeIn, Inc.LogMeIn, Inc. (NASDAQ:LOGM) simplifies how people connect with each other and the world around them to drive meaningful interactions, deepen relationships, and create better outcomes for individuals and businesses. One of the world’s top 10 public SaaS companies, and a market leader in communication & conferencing, identity & access, and customer engagement & support solutions, LogMeIn has millions of customers spanning virtually every country across the globe. LogMeIn is headquartered in Boston with additional locations in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.