One of my favourite probing questions by Seth Godin is, “Who will miss you if you were gone?”
I would argue, if you are missed because you are no longer around, also makes you memorable. To be memorable, one could further surmise, you must be relevant. And relevance is what keeps the cycle of the relationship alive. We are most attracted to the people, and brands, that add value to our lives.
Years ago, I joined a company as their 26th employee. As a young company, they had carved out a slice of the market through a formidable combination of cutting-edge innovation and a cult-like ‘young-guns’ culture. The brand was on the rise and folks in the industry started to notice our presence. Already punching above our weight, we became emboldened to create something memorable.
In the quest to make the company memorable, our strategy was simple.
Challenge the status quo.
We set about bucking the trends the staid industry held for decades. We continually asked why things had to be done the way they are being done?
Through the chance merger with a smaller but very healthy and robust company, we discovered a valuable edge over the market. We brought the company and all their employees under our roof. Their leadership found our company to be highly efficient administratively. This freed up their time to focus on bringing in revenue. We, in turn, respected their obvious business skills and allowed them full autonomy while taking over the operational side.
It only took a few months to realise we had a niche business model we could replicate.
Our new partners became our best advertising. As industry stalwarts, they evangelised about their newfound quality of life to all that would listen. Their people loved the funky company culture and environment we had created. While our people learned first-hand how to treat our new ‘clients.’
As the significance of our market advantage became more obvious, we scaled the business to keep ahead of the growth that ensued.
One of our secret weapons was hiring right. The industry was in one of its cyclical flat growth periods, and many larger players were retrenching their more senior people. We saw this as an opportunity and picked up talented industry folk. We were bringing on more established businesses where experience trumped enthusiasm, and greater maturity was needed. To top this, the established businesses that were joining us brought along their knowledgeable people. Having access to such great experience and talent set us apart.
For some years we hosted an annual golf day. The industry was renowned for its many golf days on offer throughout the year. These were intended as opportunities to market to their clients in a relaxed environment. As a result, every golfing client, which by default was mostly men, jumped onto as many of these as were on offer. In such a crowded space, we decided to change the conventional approach.
We made our golf day by invitation only.
We hand-picked our top golfing clients and offered them an opportunity to bring along two of their top clients. We chose a top golf club to host the event, taking care of every detail to ensure a red-carpet experience. To include all our clients, not only the golfers, we hosted an evening dinner and dance event. It topped off a day that is still remembered years later.
Each year I was asked how we are going to better the experience the next year. Yet, year after year we managed to surprise and delight our clients.
It’s by being relevant and generous that we become memorable.
Have an awesome weekend and please be generous! 😄
As always, thanks for reading 🙏