largersmallerreset

Now Economy Marketing

May 2, 2009

I was born ugly* and that wee DNA mishap has given me a life time of social proof  that we use visual shorthand to form opinions.  You can use this insight to help your business prosper in the now economy or you can ignore me, which is okay. I’m used  to it.  I’ll make you laugh, which is precisely how I got noticed, that and learning how to kick school yard bullies in the head. (Thank you figure skating coach Lucy Kovac).  We are a superficial species drowning in slogans which promise the world only to destroy it.  Who wants whiter whites?

Last summer I had jaw surgery which resulted in a Hannibal Lector contraption over my braces to hold my upper and lower jaw in place.  Doesn’t that sound kissable. No one was mistaking me for Angelina Jolie and small children hid behind their mothers. I went about my business even talking on the phone. Call centre staff spoke V E R Y slowly and in short sentences. I quickly discovered that if I faked a British accent they stopped treating me like an intellectually challenged Hannah Montana fan. Unlike most jaw surgery girls, I left the house. I ran errands. I even entered a speech contest. I gave the front row Kleenex.  Using every once of my training as a social scientist, I observed  how people,  who didn’t know me, treated me.  It was complex. I couldn’t talk clearly = I was an idiot.

The world seems genuinely surprised that ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ Susan Boyle can sing because ugly isn’t supposed to have any redeeming features.  If the British have anything to teach us, besides the beauty of a silk tie in a Windsor knot  and the importance of flossing, it’s that dowdy and talent can live in the same body. (I can say this, my mother’s a Brit). Back to business: we use visual short hand to make judgments because our brains are full of trivia, to do lists, or, if you are an over achiever, you might be using the law of attraction visualizaitons to find lost car keys. Some researchers say, if it’s the male brain they are thinking of only one thing, the economy.

I am treated differently based on how I appear and how I dress.  We all know this truth but it doesn’t always translate into our own business practices.  Each moment a client comes in contact with you,  opens your door, enters your lobby or speaks with your cheerful or anti-depressant ingesting receptionist, you are sending a message that either elicits delight or disappointment. Customer experience is made up of tiny moments that build into an avalanche of  awe, average or awful.

It is time to invest in the now economy.  When I opened my new Mac computer,  I was startled by its packaging and the sheer beauty of the styrofoam. I kid you not. Dell was dull in comparison. Great companies have figured out that design matters and each moment of a customer’s experience counts. For instance, everytime I wrap up my MAC powercord I am reminded of Apple’s thoughtfulness. The plug tongs fold in. The cord wraps neatly around two sweet little arms that I can pull out when the cord needs a hug while travelling. I just used the word hug. That’s delight speaking.   Can you say the same about each moment someone interacts with you or your service? For instance, if you have an important client are you waiting at the door for them?  Or do they end up waiting for you?  Little moments, big messages.  Remember that book ‘Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff’, it’s wrong.

— *I was born with a cleft lip and palate which meant I could make water come out of my nose. This won me a lot of candy at the water fountain, especially after Hallowe’en.

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If it is not your genius it is not your job.
Louise B. Karch