Individual, isolated bad experiences can ruin a brand

Grant McCracken recalls a recent experience on a Virgin Atlantic flight:

I was trying to charge my phone on my Virgin Atlantic flight home from London and one of the attendants descended on me to insist that I cease and desist.  I tried to explain that a cell phone was essential to meeting up with one’s car service. She didn’t care.

We’ve all had a similar experience; a power tripping individual having a bad day. Trivial as it may seem, he makes a great point about all the work a company does to build a brand (and Virgin, generally, has a pretty good one) only to let it be quashed by a bad-adituded employee enforcing sketchy policy.

Rules are rules; until their mashed up with awareness. Grant suggests another approach:

Natalie could have found a way to give me an extra 5 minutes of charge.  "Our little secret" and “this is an exception I make only for you” would have augmented the brand wonderfully.

Two thoughts:

  1. Is anyone in your organization tasked with parsing policy to eliminate the largesse and communicate the changes appropriately? Most (all?) of the organizations I’ve had experiences with only create more policy, never eliminating any of it.
  2. This story serves as a great defense of spending appropriate dollars on training and education. Yes, it’s hard in an organization with thousands of employees to ensure everyone understands their role in advancing the brand, but that’s usually because enough effort isn’t paid to the programs (I think Tom Peters advocates transitioning 10% of your capital dollars to the effort, or some such). Most organizations don’t do nearly enough in this arena. It’s sad really, all that work by all those people to build and communicate your brand to patients only to be ruined by isolated, relatively routine experiences with individual employees.

The accelerant for healthcare conversation

Suddenly, you feel like John Nash, you can’t keep up with your own mind as geometric symbols float over the magazine articles in your lap. Someone strikes up a conversation about health care, and suddenly everything you’ve ever heard about the topic is at the tip of your tongue.

Damn, coffee is awesome.

You are Not So Smart because coffee is an amazingly addictive D-R-U-G; but it’s so good (and I need it in the morning).

I’ll see you in court

Duluth News Tribune:

“The basis for the lawsuit is the defamatory statements that were made on websites and to other sources,’’ Tanick said. “However, by no means does Dr. McKee want to in any way prevent or affect any kind of communications that may be made to the Board of Medical Practice or any other regulatory agencies. The purpose of the lawsuit is to prevent defamation being made on the websites and through other sources.’’

via @smhcs

I think this aptly applies to healthcare just as it does to advertising. Alex Bogusky: ”… there begins to be a protective mode in any industry. So as you go out and try to change the rules, and try to tear down some of the old ideas, it’s not just the other agencies that will try to protect that … there’s a lot of vested interests in the way things are done right now, to continue going on. And if you wind up on the ‘new’ side of that, you’re going to have a lot of people really unhappy with you.“

New ways to organize workers

From the obvious-but-not-no-so-obvious annals:

Given the realities of today’s complex business environment, it is no longer possible to satisfy a workforce with one broad, standard approach to managing talent. A perfect storm of events and trends is pushing organizations to abandon the traditional employment compact along with the one-size-fits-all approach to human resources.