You might be the inappropriate dolphin

Flush Mob. Inappropriate Dolphin. Breaking Silos. JFDI. Giraffe Problems.

If you’ve never been to Summer Brand Camp, a restaurant marketer conference hosted in Dallas, you may not be familiar with the above terminology. After experiencing the event first hand last week, I can say with certainty that the absurdity of the language is an evolution of true experiences with real-world application.

Along with the personal take-aways that derived from the inspirational presentations, there were resounding lessons that I couldn’t resist but share.  Thus, I’ve forced myself to condense them into five digestible learnings.

1) You want word of mouth? Do things worth talking about

“The inappropriate dolphin,” a seemingly ridiculous statement, as described by Scott Stratten, author of “QR Codes Kill Kittens” is in my mind a representation of companies “doing things worth talking about.”

During his presentation he tells the story of a Ritz-Carlton hotel that, upon finding a stuffed animal left by the eight year-old son of a hotel guest, went on to wine and dine the plush giraffe, taking photos of him sun-bathing, getting a massage and making new friends. The animal was then returned (free of charge) to its owner with a portfolio of his adventures around the property.

The above and beyond level of customer service went viral on social media and in return the hotel received abounding publicity and loyal customers for life.

Viral marketing is inspired by doing “things worth talking about.” It’s the result of understanding who people are and not being afraid to act on that in everything that you do.

2) JFDI (Just Freakin Do It)

I heard this statement intertwined with several of the speeches and throughout every activity during the conference. Props to Amanda Hite from BTC Revolutions for the clear definition!

When Anne Mahlum, founder of Back on My Feet, spoke on breaking down barriers to start the first homeless running program, she mentioned the hesitation she felt before deciding to JFDI.

When Avery Block, Social Marketing and HR Engagement Manager for Taco Bell spoke on helping a future employee purchase a uniform for their first day, her motive was to JFDI.

And when the fellow attendees at Summer Brand Camp joined forces to help raise $30,000 for the No Kid Hungry foundation, the resonating motivator was JFDI.

It was the theme of no longer fearing barriers but deciding what you value most and going after it, or just freakin’ doing it.

3) If you’re afraid to cross the line, then move the line

Avery Block from Taco Bell spoke on the need to de-familiarize yourself with the ordinary. In order to create meaningful brands, products or experiences, each individual within a company must challenge themselves to think differently and embrace that difference.

Her experiences with Taco Bell clarified how change isn’t easy but brands must learn to “be comfortable being uncomfortable” to learn who you truly are as a brand and what you represent.

4) Immediacy is just as important as authenticity and relevance

“The ability to respond in a timely fashion is almost just as important,” said Scott Stratten during his presentation titled “QR Codes Kill Kittens.”

Our expectation for immediacy is growing every day, in everything from the tweets we send out to the complaints that we submit online. The brands that will win the war in mobile will not only be those that are authentic and relevant, but those that are timely.

5) Don’t be afraid of big ideas.

I think the final and one of the most inspiring lessons I’ve taken away was to “not be afraid of big ideas,” as Jon Wolske, Culture Evangelist at Zappos.com put it.

Jon spoke on some of the big leaps Zappos.com has made culturally that may have appeared eccentric or far-stretched but ultimately created a very innovative environment, making the company consistently ranked first in customer service.

Overall it was refreshing to see brands stand together with cause and purpose. The MomentFeed story of helping brands every day to be relevant, authentic and timely made us feel like a perfect partner for this event.

I’ll save the explanation of FlushMob for a future blog post, or simply encourage you to attend next year’s Summer Brand Camp and find out for yourself.

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