Popcorn Time: What I Learned While Traveling For Work

Whenever I take my kids to an amusement park, my mom and aunt love to go with me. They never ride anything. Instead, they just like to stroll along, sit and people watch. I have some friends who love to go to the beach and do the same thing, and in third grade, I had a teacher who used to make us repeat this crazy rhyme:

“The wise old owl sat on an oak,
The more she heard, the less she spoke
The less she spoke, the more she heard
Why can’t we all be like that bird?”

This week while I was traveling for business, I thought it would be a good time to put my people-watching skills to the test and act like that wise old owl. My hope was that I would walk away with an insight on how to better connect with the customer when creating marketing plans. 

Here are my top 3 takeaways:

1. People really DO follow the crowd in real-life situations.

At the airport, we received a text that our departure would be delayed by 30 minutes. Yet, when two people – who must not have received that message – stood up under the “Group 1” sign at the normal boarding time, I watched almost the entire rest of the waiting area get up and get in line. For what? It was a good 30 minutes before we were going anywhere. When I asked people why they were in line, not one person could give me a justifiable answer.

Takeaway: Find real-life brand ambassadors and influencers to drive crowds.

2. The art of customer service has been lost to the art of cost-cutting.

On the plane, the WiFi wasn’t working for a few people. After multiple people called the flight attendant, instead of helping them troubleshoot, she said, “Look, be happy you saved $12.99.”

Takeaway: A brand needs to define what the customer interaction goal is: Efficiency or experience. It doesn’t appear there is room for both.

3.Innovation is everlasting!

At the hotel, I saw a show on sushi boat companies who have redesigned their circular displays to be more cost-effective, yet serve more people. I was blown away with the simple innovations applied to these businesses and the big difference they made, including a slot at the table where you could slide your dirty dish to make room for more sushi!

Takeaway: Sometimes, it’s the simple things that make a big difference. Fund innovation. 

They may seem simplistic and basic, but these three items can make the difference in your organization and brand success. What do you think?


Homepage image via Shutterstock

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