Create stories that create engagement
The Human Touch Blog on Hotels Mag by Robyn Pratt
Thank you for the many comments and insights I received as a result of my first Human Touch blog. As I mentioned, every communication or interaction with a company creates an expectation in current and prospective customer hearts and minds.
Talking about “bringing a brand to life” and making it happen can be two very different things. Unfortunately, there is no magic wand we can wave that makes you rest easy knowing that the vision you spent a lot of time and money creating is being experienced at every customer interaction.
Whilst there is no magic to it, there are a few secret ingredients that I can share – one that is paramount is the importance of consistently sharing the stories that reinforce your philosophy. These provide a backbone for your brand and communicate the ethos of your business.
Think about it: We all love a story. We love to be part of a story. We love to share our stories… the good, the bad and the ugly. We relate to each other through the recounting of our experiences. How do we do this? We listen to and tell our stories.
And these days, news spreads like wildfire on an international basis through the internet. I’m sure you would agree with me when I say that this has its pluses and minuses. We all want positive stories to spread, but it’s another thing when guests share their disappointments to the world. How we deal with these opportunities is also a very important element of the human touch and something I will speak about in a future blog.
Bringing stories to life
I challenge you to consider the stories being created daily about your brand through the people who are the ambassadors of your brand. How is the human touch bringing to life stories that will enhance the vision you have established for your company?
Allow me to share a personal experience to illustrate my point. Recently, I held my team’s kick-off in an 18-room boutique hotel. The hotel is a wonderful refurbishment of a beautiful palazzo, and we all had stylish and well-appointed rooms. However, what surprised, delighted and resonated the most with each of us was our breakfast experience. Whilst the food was delicious, the positive feelings we felt were all due to a human touch. In particular, one breakfast cook took it upon herself to set the stage for stories for her guests every morning.
(Let me set the scene – but first, an important point: I was born and grew up in Australia and now live in Malta, where my business is based.)
Now back to the story: We arrived at the small breakfast room and proceeded to the complimentary continental breakfast buffet. Placed on small plates at the end of the buffet were some small plates of various cakes and biscuits – to my surprise, I read a neatly presented label that read “Anzac Biscuits.” I stopped for a moment and thought I had misread – I had grown up with Anzac Biscuits as a treat made for us by my mum with my grandma’s recipe! We were always reminded of the reason behind the name, which stands for Australian, New Zealand Army Corps. The biscuits were sent by wives and women's groups to soldiers abroad because the ingredients do not spoil easily, and the biscuits kept well during naval transportation.
You can imagine my feeling of nostalgia and my delight when my team had picked up the biscuits without knowing and came back to the table commenting that it was nice to see something different. They had no idea the recipe was from “down under.” I was able to share my story with them. And it turns out I wasn’t the only one to be moved!
My American team member was completely charmed to see flapjacks displayed. We had smiles all around that morning, and of course wanted to know the background of “why” and “how” of these regionally specific little dishes.
We stopped the breakfast cook when she came to replenish the plates. When asked, she had a great smile and said proudly, “I always like to find out where our guests come from. When I know that, I also try to ask what kinds of dishes they like to eat from home. Then, I teach myself wherever possible to make them.” Impressive – and a great example of “if you don’t have a story – create one!”
As I said, the architecture and renovation of this small boutique hotel is beautiful. But what made the experience even more memorable is that small but very special human touch. So, I ask you again, what type of stories are your teams setting up for your customers to speak with fondness about your brand?
I would love to hear from you! Every day is a day for learning, and through your feedback I am positive there will be many new perspectives for me to gain as we share discussions on the impact of The Human Touch in bringing ongoing growth and success for your brand/company. What are some examples you’ve encountered as to how the Human Touch has added to or detracted from your experiences with brands?