Go the Extra Mile…Build an Unforgettable Personal Brand
These days, hotel owners routinely supply their guests with hospitalities and amenities that were unheard of 15 years ago. An example of going the extra mile. There’s a simple reason for this: competition. They know they have a vanishing inventory. Any room that goes unsold tonight is a sales opportunity that’s lost forever. This means everyone is trying to outdo the competitors. So it follows that I’ve enjoyed some pretty good hotel experiences over the years.
However, I want to tell you about a recent experience that I won’t soon forget. It happened at the Marriott Maryville Hotel in St. Louis. A few weeks ago I was there for a two-day consulting session. Our sessions were in a small, but nicely appointed meeting room. The table was covered with a white cloth, the lighting was good, and the overall atmosphere was perfect. Throughout the time, the hotel had kept us supplied with a pitcher of cold tap water and glasses.
On our second day, I reached over for the pitcher to put water in my glass. As I began to pour, I noticed there was something stuck to the spout of the pitcher. It was gross. My host was mortified and immediately took the pitcher to management. I wasn’t going to make a big fuss. I simply waited, expecting someone to supply us with a clean pitcher of water.
But that isn’t the way the Marriott folks did things. Instead of a fresh pitcher of tap water, a few minutes later they returned with a bucket filled with bottles of cold purified water! Wow, what delightful overkill! We were all impressed. We all left with a high impression of the hotel.
What the Marriott had done was simple: they had gone the extra mile.
Where Do We Get the “Extra Mile” Concept?
The concept of going the extra mile hails back to a first century Roman law that permitted a Roman soldier to require a citizen to carry his gear for up to one mile. Of course, the citizenry resented it. But they obeyed the law to avoid punishment. At the end of the mile the citizen was ready to dump the gear and go on with his business.
We first read of “going the extra mile” when Jesus told his followers that, “if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.” He was instructing his followers to be willing to give more than is requested of them.
The Great Differential Advantage
In the marketing business, when I developed a product’s brand, I began by searching for that product’s distinctive (or Differential) benefit (or Advantage.) This was a benefit that our product offered that other similar products didn’t. This is what made our product distinctive, noteworthy, and special.
I’m convinced that if you want to build an unforgettable personal brand the starting point is to become an Extra-Miler. Remember, building a great brand involves two things:
1. Do something that’s different from what others are doing. This is that something that will make you unforgettable.
2. Be sure that your different something is a welcomed benefit in the lives of those people.
Where This Applies Today
Although still imperfect, through the years I’ve grown better and better at this. I’ve found that the more abundant I am with others, the more joy I see around me. This joy brings a positive energy into everything that we’re doing. Others feel better. I certainly feel better. And we get a lot more accomplished.
I’ve learned that when I set the example, others tend to follow. They become more abundant and giving. Their relationships improve.
Not trying to be overly dramatic here, but I do believe this is the key to building a better company, marriage, family…and even a better culture.
So, Here Are Your Marching Orders…
1. Look for a unique benefit that you can offer others.
2. Surprise them by giving more than is required…or expected.
3. Kill them with kindness!