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What Are You Promising?

I loved Ryan’s corner shop when I was a little girl. The smells of freshly delivered bread mingled with newsprint from the Evening Herald. It was a relief that Mr Ryan knew exactly what kind of ham your mother would want, without you having to explain in detail the part about making sure it was sliced thinly and not ‘too fatty’.

And even when supermarkets began to pop up all around him, selling things in bulk, at prices he just couldn’t compete with (he didn’t even try), Mr Ryan kept going and stayed afloat because he was able to make a different promise to his customers. He knew them after all, in a way that even the data we can gather with repeated swipes of a store loyalty card today, never could.

Sometimes we’re so busy trying to catch up to the gold standard of the industry, or the market that we forget to set and articulate our own standards. If the hotel we compete with has five pillows on the pillow menu, we go one better and make a menu with six. We open longer hours and give people more of what they’re already getting, but we lose sight of what it is we are promising our customers and what it is they really want.

Are you going to be ethical, fair, true to your word? Are you the company that just won’t compromise on your values no matter what. Are you the consultant who will be honest, look clients in the eye and tell them, “this might not work”.

It’s never been more important to know what you stand for and what difference you create.
What are you promising your customers? What’s your story? What’s theirs?

Image by hugovk.

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