Hyatt: Innovation is Everyone’s Business

Hyatt Regency Washington DC - Lobby

Hyatt Regency Washington DC – Lobby

If you travel, which I’m sure you do, you have a choice about where you stay on the road. There is a time and place for Motel 6, Best Western, and the Comfort Inn…and you know what you’re going to get: an inexpensive, clean, no-frills room (and maybe a flat screen TV).

When you want amenities, like a pool, exercise gym or quality eats, you might pick a brand like Hyatt.

I’ve never considered myself a “Hyatt” guy, and I’ve usually chosen Starwood Properties, like Sheraton or Westin, but after a presentation by Hyatt Hotels Vice President of Global Innovation, Jonathan Frolich on how they’ve transformed their customer experience, and a stay in the Hyatt Regency – Atlanta, I’ve come to appreciate their brand and the desire to involve the guest in shaping their experience.

I had the opportunity to co-write a blog on the Great Place to Work site – enjoy…and try staying at Hyatt during your next vacation. I’d love to hear what YOU think.

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Your Brand Sucks. And It’s Your Fault. Wanna Fix It?

YBS_PINTOThe title says it all.

Seriously, if your brand sucks, it’s your fault. Not your customers, not your suppliers, not your real estate broker. Yours and only yours.

To keep it simple, we define a brand as how people feel about your products and services. The focus is on how your customers and clients think about you and what you do.

I’d even dare to say, we, your customers, often care more about your brand than you do.

Your brand means something to us. It can speak to us, enrage us, or inspire us. We memorize your jingles, often unwillingly. All the 80’s babies can sing along to “Always Coca-Cola” and if you need a more extensive primer in 80’s commercials, check ‘em out here.

We repeat your catchy phrases in public with friends. How many times did we say “Whaaazzzzuuuup!” to each other? 500? 1000? Still?

We do this for your brand. Sacrifice our money, time, creative energy and passion. But it’s a thin, long, emotional line between love and hate.

So, if your brand sucks, it’s certainly not our fault.

But I Have A Great Logo

Nobody dislikes a brand because of it’s logo. Now, it’s true, some of the best brands have iconic logos, but that’s not the main factor for disdain. Your logo will probably change. Don’t worry. Really…nobody really cares.The bright pink font might be annoying, but it’s Juicy (or my own!). And annoying isn’t hate.

But I can give you an annotated list of why your brand may be “underperforming” (business school speak for “sucks”). It’s probably because:

  • we have bad experiences

  • we hear of others having bad experiences

  • your brand represents something we do not value

  • your ceo is a rich brat and degrades women and minorities

  • your product broke, probably during the worst possible moment of use

  • your customer service sucks

  • you blame us when a product break or your Big Mac is too salty.

  • your partners don’t deliver. In fact they don’t even ship the item

  • you charge almost as much for the shipping as the item itself.

  • your company stole money during the recession

  • your company and an entire industry stole money after the 2008 recession

 Where does that leave you? Luckily, that’s what this blog is all about. Especially when we get to post #2. It’s simple, but it’s not easy.

Number One Rule To NOT Suck

Be intentional about your values. These means with whom, how, why you partner with other professionals and firms.

A company you’ve probably never heard of, the Florida-based PPR Talent Management Group, values their employees, and their health, above all else. They invest in organic fruit deliveries, health screenings, and they even exercise together on the beach – precisely what makes their beachfront location particularly enticing.     `

A company you have heard of, Zappos, is FANATICAL about their company culture. Founder and CEO Tony Hsieh, makes company culture the absolute first priority.

Priority over making money, innovation, and market share. People first, always.

Sheih is a culture guru for people like Rob LoCasio, CEO of LivePerson, an online customer service company, who tracked down Sheih for guidance on transforming his company culture.

“He said, ‘it’s a five-year commitment, if you’re going to do it. It’s a five-to-lifetime commitment; it’s not a two-year execution and you’re done. If you want to take it on, you’ve got to be willing to put that type of time into it.

Your culture starts with you. Even as a solopreneur, your staff are your freelance partners, your suppliers, your drop-ship provider – anyone who is responsible for delivering on your brand promise.

Number Two Rule To NOT Suck

Treat your customers fantastic. Create raving fans.

People love Nordstroms, the Seattle-based department store, specifically for their customer service policies.

It’s actually the stuff of which legends are made. Growing up in the Seattle, my aunts who regularly shopped Nordstroms and The Bon Marche told stories of returning items with no receipts and receiving CASH! I’ve heard of people who returned tires that were purchased at ANOTHER store (Nordy’s doesn’t sell tires) and returned them for a full refund, even after years of have passed.

True or false, these stories clearly reflect Nordstroms commitment to their customers. People who shop there will go there first. Almost always.

Let’s Start There

Understanding these things and your brand is free to be awesome. Stay alive and you can make us love you.

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