The Power of Being Human to Surprise and Delight for Businesses and Brands

by Gregg on November 17, 2013

photoI love telling stories about businesses and brands that are human, and I’ve got a new one.

Dorothy and I went to her in-laws yesterday morning for our annual job of cleaning the gutters, which accumulate a ton of leaves, branches and other matter over the course of the year. We normally both get on the roof and scoop out the crud, but since Dorothy’s due date is in January (yes, we’re expecting!) I drew the roof assignment exclusively this year.

It’s an arduous task, to be sure, and I was using a hand shovel and a leave blower that’s not as powerful as it probably once was, and I had geared myself up for a long morning. Below me already at work was the crew from my in-laws’ lawn care service, R and K Maintenance, based in nearby Bridgeview. As I was using my leaf blower, one of the guys on the R and K team yelled and caught my attention, holding up a gas-powered blower and motioning me toward my ladder so he could hand it to me. “It’s more powerful,” he yelled up.

Truthfully, I wasn’t sure it was going to make a big difference, but once I got it in my hands, it was clear that more power made a huge difference. Within 15 minutes, I had the gutters clear, and was blowing off the branches, acorns and other debris, all the while cheering in my mind the fact that I had just saved myself a lot of time. As the photo shows, the gutters are now ready for the winter.

And it occurred to me that that is what powerful brands do – they act human, and do things that surprise and delight others. One of the crew simply noticed I was in need and responded; it wasn’t scripted and designed to cajole new customers to get them into the sales funnel. It was spontaneous and left me smiling.

After I got off the roof, I talked to R and K owner Randy Siepak, who’s been in business 25 years and had no pretentiousness. I half-expected to hear PR key messages about how “doing things like that is just part of our culture” and “we value our customers so much that we keep an eye out for things like that.” Nope, just a guy with a good team and a lot of common courtesy. Instead, we talked about the pros of propane-fueled mowers and pubs I used to work with in the lawn and landscape industry, like Landscape Management, Lawn & Landscape and Total Landscape Care.

It was just a simple illustration to me that at the end of the day, there’s power in being human to surprise and delight, and people will talk about that, like I am in this blog post. To me, that’s more powerful than anything a business or brand could say in an ad, online or in social media channels.

Can it really be that simple? Because it’s not strategy…it’s common sense.


P.S. If you’re in the Chicago area, you can contact R and K Maintenance and owner Randy Siepak by calling 708-430-1777.

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