Angel’s in the Details

Deadline time and since I don’t want to wade through my pile of drafts, I figured it was time to look a closer look at an old post and see if I’ve learned anything.

It’s the Little Things

A few years ago, I wrote that companies should sweat the small stuff, being impressed by the clever notes on AirTran pretzels.

What I said then:Your brand is everything, everywhere. It’s the people, products, places, promotions, everything. It all matters. Even the small stuff.

What I think now: Same. The other day while shopping at Marshall’s I was bemused by what I consider the Disney-fication of their fitting rooms: they put little signs on the hooks that read “maybe” and “probably” and “definitely.” Cute and functional.

The World of Walt

When you go to Disney World there are Hidden Mickeys in the parks, little touches that have prompted scavenger hunts to find them. (I do know of a few.) UN-Hidden Mickeys are EVERYWHERE. If there is a hole or window, a bag or fixture that can have a Mickey, it will have a Mickey.

Now of course, every ride dumps you out in a gift shop, but the theming and details are done in a fun way that makes it part of the experience, not just part of the marketing pitch.

Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.” – Walt Disney, which speaks to the ethos they have on always improving, always paying attention to those pesky details.. and making them the Angel on the shoulder.

Being on Brand, On Message

Plenty of companies like Disney, Apple, Starbucks invest time and money training their employees (or castmembers) to live the brand.

Whether it’s a brick-and-mortar store or an e-tail website, details matter and little things can make a big impression. It’s more than logos and e-newsletters, effective marketing, public relations, social media – yes I was getting to that – permeate a brand, surround and encompass it beyond the web, the ads and fan pages that count likes, not advocates.

How dumb was I?

Not very. I’m a softy for marketing done well, anything from product packaging to a clever wine label. You? When you’ve noticed the details, have they made a difference? What little details could improve your business?

Photo credit: ME. Mickey pumpkins and if you click on the tree, you’ll get the full size and maybe see one of a few hundred animals like a tiger and buffalo carved into that structure.

Comments (9) | Trackback

9 Responses to “Angel’s in the Details”

  1. I’m 100% with you on this, Davina. (And not just because I’m a Disneyland fan!) I’ve always believed that the smallest details matter to create a customer experience. For example, I just finished a small project to help a client improve a form that each new patient has to fill out and sign. Some people might not think of that as marketing, but I know it’s a critical part of the brand. Consistency is key–if you’re gonna be great, be great at everything!
    Marianne Worley recently posted..How to Transform Yourself into a Better Listener

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    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    Excellent example Marianne. For one of my franchisor clients, I reformatted their initial interest form.. just a basic one-page sheet that needs to be faxed, boxes checked, the usual. The difference it made to professionally typeset that, to add the logo; the readability, the ease to the user; making it all dark blue rather than black, etc. All those things, the client’s first reaction was “wow, this looks professional.” Little things like that project image; people may not officially notice or remark on somethings, but often they do notice when you don’t take those little steps. What gets me is – you have to have and print the forms anyway, right? So it makes no sense to NOT do it, not brand as much as possible. FWIW.

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  2. I love this quote from WD and how you wrote your post into it. As long as there is imagination, marketers will find a way to WOw! us and create this bond with the brand.
    You are right it’s mostly about the small stuff, the smile an employee gives you, a gesture, a word, a simple sign that the brand actually cares about you.
    Creativity doesn’t have to be the next big Ipad or iphone, sometimes a simple gesture can make a world of difference. The small stuff, the details.
    John Falchetto recently posted..Global assignments and how expat coaching can help

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    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    I forget the waits, the heat, the lines at WDW John.. I remember the good stuff, the rides, the nice restaurants and fun that makes me want to go back. I remember experiences and service like when a friend mentioned a food alergy and the chef came out, walked them through the menu to be safe; or when the street performers incorporated my grandfather into a skit, made him part of the show. These are relatively small, simple things that have turned me into a Disney fan AND brand advocate. You’re right, just takes a little creativity to make an impression with details.

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  3. Love the example of the Marshalls you went to Davina. Appears they’re starting to ‘get it’. (What’s the deal with all those depressing changing rooms out there anyway?? Never understood that one). I guess what it comes down to is we need to start asking ourselves the question: How can I bring this part of my business to life more? How can I get creative here? Is there a chance to think outside the box in this moment?

    Just a few of my thoughts ;)

    Marcus
    Marcus Sheridan-The Sales Lion recently posted..Timing: The Secret Ingredient of Viral Blogging and Building Authority

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    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    It just makes sense.. make that a fun part of the experience, and functional too since that’s how a lot of us try on clothes. I notice these things.. marketing touches that it’s like DUH Marcus; you have to make beverage coasters for the restaurant, why on earth would you NOT brand them with something cool and clever? I think any business can look at almost anything they do and find a little thing that could make a big difference. FWIW.

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  4. Bill Dorman says:

    Because I’m in outside sales with insurance, there is like a zillion of us running around.We are always working on being different, points of differentiation and it is usually the little things that will set you apart. It might be the type of questions you ask, the fact you don’t want to just ‘quote’ their business, or respectfully walk away when they don’t value what you can bring to the table.

    The other thing is say please and thank you, do what you say you are going to do and do it on time if not sooner. These little things will make you stand out and ‘brand’ you to a certain degree.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.
    Bill Dorman recently posted..Is 63.5 a good number?

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    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    It’s a good story Bill, I’d stick to it too. I just got back from a Social Media Club tweet up, and to my surprise.. got to meet Mark Schaefer, give him a big hug. Lots of other cool folks were there, but I just didn’t know Mark would be so.. treat. :-)

    Anyhoodle.. the meeting was at a rebranded Doubletree Hotel which featured a big sign talking up their new logo, branding push and what changes they’re making and closed w/ a tagline about how “little things can mean everything.” I though AHA! I might actually know WTH I’m talking about. FWIW.

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  5. That’s a great question Davina! What little details could improve my business? I’m working on that, or will be once my kids are back away in school. (So hard to focus on work while they are home! I just want to spend time with them!) After spending nearly 10 months trekking around the blogosphere, I realize how little I know about marketing PR and advertising; three things I’ve been “doing” on my own for my other business, http://www.terra-cotta-pendants.com So I’m back to the drawing board very soon.
    I do enjoy a clever marketing idea! I just wish I could come up with one :o
    Lori
    Lori Gosselin recently posted..How Important are First Impressions to You?

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