Coffee Company Keys on Creativity, Humor, Relationships
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It’s always amazing to me how the media focuses on what’s wrong with businesses these days. From corrupt CEO’s to declining industries, it’s amazing how the negative stories far outweigh the good.
Here’s a positive story of growth and success that I was fortunate to be a part of. I *spoke at the annual franchise meeting for BIGGBY coffee. It was their 15th anniversary and the Lansing (MI) based company is experiencing a positive growth pattern. I must say that after observing and meeting many people involved within the organization, it doesn’t surprise me a bit that they’re bucking the trend and growing in today’s current economy.
I’d like to share with you three things BIGGBY is doing right that every business can learn from in today’s turbulent and quickly changing economy.
First, they allow creativity to flourish. I noticed before and during the meeting that new ideas were not only encouraged from the franchise owners, but also from the staff and customers. This is not only smart, but essential in a business that’s not only hyper competitive but also full of powerful competitors ranging from brand names such as Starbuck’s and McDonald’s fighting for caffeine loyalty.
Second, the culture is built on fun. What? Customers that actually have fun and enjoy spending money? Yes, in a crowded industry, BIGGBY has positioned itself as the happy place where people enjoy not only going to, but spending money at. From the company’s billboards that tout this message, to unique names for drinks, their culture is built on making people smile and laugh.
In my various travels as a speaker throughout North America and author of several books on the topics of marketing and sales, I can tell you that very few organizations pull this off. Employing humor and fun is a smart marketing strategy on many fronts and it also encourages repeat business, higher word-of-mouth and greater brand loyalty. I’ve often said that if you can get people laughing, you’ll get them buying. BIGGBY hits it out of the park in this area.
Finally, they build relationships with their customers. Yes, I know it sounds obvious, but again, so few businesses do this. I was stunned to see near the podium as I was setting up my notes a stuffed binder full of customer testimonials and comments raving about their favorite employee, drink, or story from their favorite BIGGBY store. I flipped through the thick black binder for several minutes and even mentioned it during my keynote address that this was incredibly powerful evidence that customers are responding favorably and feel great about spending money with the company.
*Mr. Rubleski received a paid honorarium for his keynote address on 8-26-10 in Lansing, MI at the BIGGBY annual franchise meeting