I’m convinced that one of the best ways to build a great brand is to consistently deliver whimsy.
Rather than spending money on extravagant ad campaigns, focus on systematically doing small and unexpected things that delight your customers. It’s probably cheaper, and often has a bigger impact.
Exceptional customer service. A product that works incredibly well. Some small detail that adds meaning to a customer’s life.
What I’ve learned over time is that a tiny act, dished out correctly in the right context to the right person, can make a huge difference. Take for example, the utterly delightful airplane-shaped salt and pepper shakers served with the meal on Virgin Atlantic. You can’t help but be tempted to slip them into your hand luggage. And then, when you get home, to your great surprise you notice you’re not alone because underneath you spot an embossed message that simply says, “Pinched from Virgin Atlantic”!
In most companies, the financial suits and run-of-the-mill managers would immediately conclude that all those stolen salt and pepper shakers cost the company a fortune. They don’t bother to see how those two little plastic planes can spark a dinner-table conversation for years. And each time the subject comes up, they’re turned over, checked out, and create smiles all around. Virgin Airlines becomes a regular part of the conversation. In fact if the idea is clever enough, someone might even write a column about them and publish it in Fast Company. Get my point?