After every 5 days or so, I go to buy eggs from the grocery store around the corner. The process is the same every day. I go to the grocery store, produce a 50 rupee note and ask for eggs. The shopkeeper quietly packs the eggs and gives it to me. Done.
To date, I have never spoken to anyone about my egg-shopping experience.
Not a single person.
But then, sometimes, some experiences leave a mark on you.
There is a caretaker who comes every day to my house to take care of my Ajji (Ajji is the Marathi word for Grandmother). Yes, she is polite, patient and very kind. The other day, however, she went one step beyond.
She brought a gajra for my Ajji.
Gajra is basically a small garland of flowers, which women wear in their hair traditionally. My ajji had not worn a gajra for years, after my grandfather’s death.
This small act became something that my family spoke about the whole day. We laughed, teased Ajji and clicked photos of her.
It was a simple act. She didn’t need to spend a lot of money. All she had to do was be empathic towards my grandmother, care about her and just give her a simple gift.
There is a clear difference in my egg-shopping experience and the experience that this care-take created for us.
This got me thinking.
Some moments are memorable… others are boring.
It goes without saying that businesses and marketers need to focus on creating memorable moments for the people they seek to serve.
While most of the businesses say something like “We are customer-centric”, most of them do not focus on creating these special moments to delight the customers.
Once, I had gone to Hard Rock Cafe for the first time for some event. In the middle of the event, the whole crew went on stage to dance on the song YMCA. I was very amused and told many of my friends about it.
You see, a repetitive, boring routine never creates a memory.
Memories are created by emotions. They are created when patterns are broken. And most importantly, they are done intentionally. You can’t just hope that they happen. Brands need to be aware of this. You simply have to create them intentionally.
This, however, is easier said than done.
Why is it so hard to create such memorable moments?
Well, firstly. Many times, there is no roadmap to creating these beautiful memories. Many times, these memories have to be created on the spot, without any guidance.
Take the example of a flight attendant. The flight attendant is expected to do the same mundane job of repeating safety instructions on every flight. The instructions are important, yes, but we all know how repetitive they are.
Now imagine, if a flight attendant decides to make the whole experience interesting. What if he chooses to tell jokes, and make the whole event funny? What would happen?
Well, a traditional airline would fire him.
But, not Southwest Airlines.
Southwest Airlines has a reputation for making the safety instructions process really funny. The flight attendants are given the freedom to use humor and jokes. It is like a stand-up comedy act. People love it of course. They are many youtube videos that attest to that fact.
Bosses have the responsibility to give freedom to their Marketing team. The Marketing team needs to be encouraged to fail, and be innovative and create these moments for the customer.
On the other hand, the Marketing team needs to be step up and act like human beings. They need to up their game and commit themselves to create these moments.
The status quo is dangerous. It eventually catches up to you. It is quite easy to just fall in the routine. But this trap needs to be avoided by Marketers.
Another example is that of a family who was staying at Ritz Carlton. I read this in a wonderful book known as “The Power of Moments” by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. After their stay as the family went home, they realized that they had forgotten Joshi at the hotel itself. Joshie was the name of the stuffed giraffe which belonged to their kid. Joshie was the kid’s best friend, and he didn’t go to sleep without him.
The moment the parents realized that they have forgotten Joshie, they panicked. When their son was having trouble sleeping without Joshie, they told their son a cooked up story that Joshie had decided to extend his vacation at Ritz Carlton. In the meantime, the father reached out to the hotel staff and requested them to pack and send Joshie home.
Now, what do you think the hotel staff did?
Returning Joshie would have been a very normal thing to do.
But they went one step ahead. In fact, you know what… they want many steps ahead.
They clicked photos of Joshie at different places in the hotel. There was a photo of Joshie relaxing by the pool, with cucumber in his eyes, and then there was a photo of Joshie getting a massage, driving a golf cart and so on.
The family was delighted by this gesture. The father wrote a blog about it, which went viral.
So now, the question is, what kind of experiences can you create for your audiences? How will you break the pattern?
There is no one answer here. But we all need to try.