Some folks get a huge kick out of advertising, and often even recount popular ads for the fun and entertainment of others. Others tend to view advertising and other campaigns as an unwanted interruption and do their best to avoid them at all costs.
Some folks don’t mind taking a few minutes to take a call to answer questions and participate in a survey when approached by someone at a mall or other public space. Others hang up or walk on past.
And some folks are joiners – whether it means being part of a church, interacting with friends and family on Facebook (News - Alert) or another social network, or playing an active role in any other community. Others shy away from those kind of things and tend to prefer more solitary pursuits.
But every once and while an ad, a product, or an organization comes along that has such strong appeal that it attracts all kinds of folks and makes even those who don’t consider themselves joiners sign on the dotted lot. I believe that happens when an organization is able to both deliver a high-quality product that people want while providing an excellent customer experience.
Apple (News - Alert) is clearly one example of this. The company has marketed itself in such a way (“Think Different”) and allowed enough customization (choose your playlist, your apps, your phone case, your ringtone) that they make customers feel like they’re unique. At the same time, Apple offers elegant products and packaging that have mass appeal, and make some people feel they are part of something larger than themselves.
It recently occurred to me that the high school my daughter will be attending has a similar affect on me and on many of the other families who have enrolled their children there. The products coming out of this organization – educated students with a 100 percent college attendance rate, often at well-known institutions – are impressive. But, more than that, this organization has been able to create a culture of excellence that is inclusive, while recognizing the uniqueness of each student, is fun, and welcoming.
Whether we were checking out the school during the open house, enrolling in classes, or attending the new families day barbeque, this organization used humor and consistent messaging to educate us about the wide array of options for classes and clubs it offers, and all the accolades the school has won for both its academics and athletics. Each time, the same engaging person led the events, and the organization demonstrated its culture of excellence and inclusion by ensuring every student and parent was welcomed individually at each event by friendly and capable high-level staff.
Like our experience visiting an Apple store (at least originally) and using the Apple products, this organization created a truly unique and exciting experience that made us feel special but at the same time part of something bigger than ourselves.
That’s a lesson that more organizations should take to heart. After all, no matter what kind of a customer your organization is trying to appeal to, making people feel special and at the same time part of a fun culture that emphasizes excellence is what we’re all looking for.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi