Promises, Perception and Performance: The Brochure vs. Reality
Not long ago, I wanted to find a nice getaway for me and my spouse and so like everyone does these days; I went to that little black box and searched for what I was looking for. I found it…I thought.
On the opening page of their electronic brochure it described all the amenities I was looking for; cozy, bed and breakfast style, pool and golf course, perfect; according to the brochure. Based upon the information promoted to me (this is key to this writing), I made the decision to buy and clicked purchase.
Upon arriving at our destination after 4 hours of travel, it became clear that reality was not the same as the brochure. It was cozy in the fact that the rooms were very small and crunched together, it did have a bed and you could get breakfast at the café across the street, there was a pool but it was not ready for use and finally, I asked about the golf course and was informed that the public course was just a few blocks away.
Now, they did provide everything they said in the brochure, and maybe to some extent, knowing where we were headed, I may have expected too much? Hmmm. However the reality of my experience as to my expectations was a big disappointment; so much so that I am writing about it now. Obviously, we will never return there and if I am ever asked about the place, you know exactly what I will say.
Companies spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars developing a promotional piece they hope will set them apart, grab the prospects attention to want more and then act upon the perceived value promised in the piece. It is a huge responsibility that should never be taken lightly.
Not all brochures come in paper form. They are not always found nicely arranged on tables in lobbies or in display cases on desks; yet every organization will have them. These brochures walk and talk, and encounter those you serve or hope to serve every day. They are your co-workers, teammates and employees; they are the reality of who you are!
Answer this question. Does every member of your team, every person who represents your organization have the same value and appreciation of customers, clients, or teammates as the owner, manager, the leader…or you? It is critical you understand that one person has the ability to make or break a relationship. Do you believe that what your marketing team is selling when promoting who you are is validated at every level and every role within your organization?
I walked into a financial institution once and upon entering, I first noticed a very nice arched shaped desk and sitting behind it was a person whose job I assumed was to greet me. As I approached her to ask how to speak to the owner, I noticed she was writing a memo or something. She stopped for a moment, stared at me, then went right back to writing! BOOM! I had to say “excuse me, could you tell me where (owner’s name) can be found. Without hesitation she POINTED me in the direction of his office. Here is the point, regardless of what that company’s brochure said, the reality was at that moment I DID NOT MATTER! Everyone else in that building could have been great to work with but because of one, just one, they will never get the chance to change my reality.
I am sure you have had similar experiences with the same results.
Ahh, but the beauty is that it works both ways. One person, going above and beyond the call of duty creates an image of my reality that positively impacts the entire organization. For you see, because my great experience with one creates the perception that everyone I encounter within your organization will validate my reality in the same way!
In closing here is a checklist regarding the brochure and reality.
- Be transparent: No hidden agenda, no fluff, what you see is what you get.
- Know before you show: Make sure of your message: that is it clear and it is something you can consistently deliver. This is your promise.
- Create a culture to exceed expectations: You have heard this time and time again, but make it part of your culture to find opportunities to go above and beyond the stated or the expected. Nothing validates reality more than this
- Everyone takes ownership. Perhaps the most critical of all is that everyone at every level has the same positive, dedicated commitment to validating your brochure; that they individually have the power to make or break a great business relationship.
So please take a close look at your brochure to insure when the time comes to prove what you promise, everyone, everything, everywhere is meeting or exceeding not only what is stated in the fine print but in your actions too!