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Come to your “senses”

Not to keep banging on about my trip to Italy but the food (and wine) was amazing. Wood-oven thin crust pizza with tomato sauce so fresh and flavourful topped with large leaves of basil and creamy buffalo mozzarella. Not to mention pairing it with a fine Chianti; who knew house wines could be so good! And the gelato – the limone and pistachio (that’s pronounced – pist – ack – eo). All of this while sitting in a cafe watching the Italians go by. Let’s face it, they know how to dress and ooze style. Women in stilettos driving on scooters, men wearing scarves stylishly knotted at the neck. What an experience!

Ahh back to reality… (and now that summer is here not too harsh of a reality). Yesterday I was at the Royal Botanical Gardens -a beautiful venue – where I was practising what I preach; networking after a networking workshop I did for the Burlington Chamber. While sipping on wine we got to talking about wineries. Living a half hour drive from Niagara wine country we lamented how good the wine tastes when you are at a winery and the winemaker is passionately telling you about the grapes he selected, why he selected them and his entire process from vine to bottle. Top that off with tasting tips on how to best enjoy it in the glass (letting it breath, swirling before smelling and tasting – you get the idea). One of my fellow networkers Rick lamented “and then you buy three cases but it just doesn’t taste the same at home”.

We are sensory beings ruled by emotion vs. logic (although we like to think the contrary). We respond to stories, are stimulated by sight and sound. It’s how we’re wired or hard wired according to Evolutionary Psychology which tells us our brains haven’t changed all that much since we roamed the Savannah. It is indeed the emotion we feel from experiences that shape our lives.

As a business we have an opportunity to create a mediocre or spectacular experience. So what kind of an experience are you giving your customers? Is it happen-stance or have you carefully crafted it to meet their needs. Is it consistent and memorable or easily forgettable? Back in my advertising days, one of my key messages to clients was “I can get them in the door, what are you going to do keep them”. Before you discard the concept, thinking your business is different, you don’t sell wine or food, think again – a transformational experience is possible in any business, it simply needs to be gift wrapped uniquely for your customer. And the bonus – companies that provide exceptional experiences are rewarded with loyal customers that happily pay a premium. Perhaps it’s time for your company to move into brand prominence.

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