What Brands Would You Invite To Dinner?

One of the best things about the American holiday of Thanksgiving (besides the plethora of food), is that it provides a great time for reflection. We are surrounded by the people that know us best and we have a little bit more time than usual to think about what we are grateful for. As I sat down for Thanksgiving dinner, I thought about the different personalities of the people in my family and what unique perspective and qualities they brought to the dinner table.

Returning from the reflection of the long holiday weekend and sitting down at my computer, I had a moment of connecting what I do in life to what I do at work. I found myself asking myself – as cheesy as it sounds – “If I had to sit down to a Thanksgiving dinner with different brands, who would I want at my table?” (I also thought about who I wouldn’t want at my table, but let’s focus on the positive, shall we…).

One of the main goals at the dinner table is to fill your stomach. And let’s be honest, for brands, it’s to generate revenue. BUT, both people and brands have to choose – will you (forgive my language) ‘chew and screw’ OR will you bring pleasure to those around you – engage in conversation, be “real” and be kind and thankful (to your customers).

A few brands and their admirable qualities captured my attention this Thanksgiving holiday…

Thanksgiving Eve brings massive amounts of traffic on the highways. Leave it to Zappos.com to brighten people’s day by covering the cost of tolls on the Mass Pike, both decreasing the traffic volume and allowing people to get home to their families a little quicker. Let’s not be naïve, it’s definitely a planned PR strategy, but hey I’ll take it! Zappos.com is a brand that regularly goes above and beyond with its customer service, creating strong relationships and loyalty with its customers, so this type of stunt definitely falls in line with their “Go Beyond the Box” strategy.

Go out of your way to “make people happy.”

Can you imagine a holiday dinner where conversation leads to the faltering economy, the global climate crisis, etc.?! They probably all do at some point, but then a little child or crazy Uncle Billy breaks the ice with some sort of silly comment or action to lighten the mood. Leave it to Google’s Google Doodles to do the trick every time. They can’t help but put a smile on your face. Sure Google’s motive is to drive searches, but it’s definitely about more than that. According to the Google Doodle Department (yes, there’s a department), their purpose is to 1. Celebrate innovation and 2. Establish and grow an emotional connection with their users. So what was the purpose of the silly Thanksgiving Hand Turkey Google Doodle? To make you feel like you are five years old again – carefree and just plain fun!

It’s okay to be silly and have fun! Be real, like human real.

And finally, is it really a Thanksgiving dinner if you haven’t touched upon the latest and greatest viral videos? Not in my house. A little entertainment, please!

While the news continually traumatized us about the number of “frying turkey incidents” that have happened since 1998 (111 in case you are wondering, approx. 8.5 each year), William Shatner and State Farm had some fun in this little gem, “Eat, Fry, Love“. Moral of the story? Maybe you should take your safety seriously, but life, not so much?

Poke a little fun at yourself. Don’t take your brand so seriously and people might start to think you are more than a commodity.

Do you know what your consumers think of your brand?

  • Would they invite you to their dinner table?
  • What do you bring that other brands don’t?
  • Do you make them happy? Are you real? And do you not take yourself too seriously?

Photo courtesy of The Shopping Sherpa (Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/49333775@N00/)

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