Over the holidays, I placed an online grocery order with a very popular and successful grocery chain based in Texas. My order arrived on time and outside of an extremely large can of beans, everything looked correct. However, as I was putting away the groceries, I noticed four white cereal bowls. I hadn’t ordered these so my assumption was someone, somewhere, was wondering why their bowls had not arrived with their order. I called HEB to let them know and offer to drop them off the next time I was in town.
A young woman cheerfully answered the phone. After I explained the situation, she quickly responded that I could keep the bowls because bringing them back would be an inconvenience. Instead, she asked if I would mind giving her the barcode. She used it to look up the order and said that she would have a driver send out the bowls to their rightful owner, right away. She thanked me for calling and wished me a Happy Thanksgiving. As I hung up, I thought to myself, that’s culture. That is employee culture combined with the right systems, showing up in the customer experience. I wondered how many other customers, like me, had the pleasure of that type of experience and how often that kept them coming back.
Several years ago, when I was leading Brand Communications, I led the social media team. One day we were contacted by a mom who was desperately trying to get her daughter, who was originally from Texas but now living out of state, her favorite breakfast meal.
You see, her daughter had stage 4 cancer and had been moved to hospice care, we did not have restaurants anywhere near her home, yet all she felt like eating was our honey butter chicken biscuit. At the time, we had a pretty strict policy about shipping products for fear they would not arrive in the condition they left, so we would typically have to send retail items in their place.
However, under these circumstances, my team asked if we could make an exception. I went to our CEO and pled the case. Long story short, my team worked with the supply team, and soon we were transporting all the ingredients and instructions to the mom for how to make a fresh honey butter chicken biscuit for her daughter. We later received pictures of her enjoying the food and the retail items with sincere gratitude from their whole family.
This wasn’t the first time we had gone out of our way to help a customer; we did this often; it was part of our culture. However, this particular situation was one time I’ll personally never forget, and I assume this family will never forget it either. I remember being so grateful to be with a company that allowed us to do the right thing for people even when it meant extra time and effort.
I was recently told about a minor league baseball team out of Savannah Georgia called the Savannah Bananas. They are experiencing tremendous success after what appeared to be a challenging start back in 2016. As I did my research on the team, I was blown away by the fun culture and how it was driving their success. Their mantra is “Fans First. Entertain Always.” They very clearly state that “We are not your typical baseball team. We are different. We take chances. We toe the line. We test the rules. We challenge the way things are supposed to be.” They have defined their purpose.
To that end, their ticket price includes all concessions, they have a group of dancing women (over the age of 60) called the Savannah Nanas and a mascot named Split. Frequently, they feature players breaking into dance on the field, then quickly resuming their positions and the game. They know how to use social media, they know how to connect to their customers, they’re making baseball fun and fans love it!
This doesn’t happen by accident. It is only with great leadership, a supportive culture, the right systems, and some creative marketing that this kind of success comes to life and success is exactly what they’ve experienced. In 2022 they won the CPL Championship for the second year in a row.
They have over 100,000 fans, sell out crowds and people traveling from all over the world to experience Banana Land. On top of that, they’ve accumulated 4 million fans on social media and have been featured in mainstream media multiple times. They own their fun culture, and it is leading to incredible success!
Are you ready to build your unbeatable brand?
You too can have this kind of success. It is not beyond your reach. In fact, with a few steps, you can begin building a culture that is something truly special. A culture that will not only inspire loyalty among your employees and improve their experience, but one that inspires loyalty among customers and builds an unbeatable brand.