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Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Talking Trout. Seamlessly.
Every once in a while, I get asked the question, "So what is a seamless brand anyways"?
The philosophical answer is: "A seamless brand is one that actually makes and keeps a promise that matters", but since that sounds a little vague, I often follow up with a story about WestJet.
"You know how when you hit the check-in counter for a WestJet flight and you are greeted a certain way and then that spirit carries over to the cabin with the flight crew. And then you encounter the same spirit whether you are dialing into the call centre or watching one of their commercials on television. Whether its the internal culture and operations or the external marketing message, everything about the WestJet spirit seems to permeate every facet of their operation. Seamlessly".
The person I am talking with usually responds with an "OK, I get it now" and then asks the next obvious question. "So are there many other seamless brands out there? Where they actually deliver on what they say they're going to do in their marketing messages?"
There aren't many, which is why it creates such a strategic advantage for any brand determined to follow a path towards seamlessness. And since you don't see these brands on every street corner, it becomes something special whenever you discover one that actually "gets it".
Today, you are about to discover such a brand.
With one phone call.
Over the past few years, I have been involved with some staff training projects for Trout River Industries out of the tiny village of Coleman PEI. Driving by, you would have no way of knowing how seamless this brand is with philosophies, practices and performance second to none. Trout River Industries manufactures what is referred to as "live bottom trailers", designed in such a way to discharge a payload without the danger of tipping.
Founded by Harvey Stewart, it is also a company that truly believes in taking care of its customers and the well being of its employees.
And you can find out with a single phone call.
I am serious.
Way back when, Stewart decreed that a real person would ALWAYS answer the phone. In no way, would a customer or anyone else ever be sentenced to voice mail jail during regular business hours. To illustrate his point, Harvey gathered the staff in the parking lot one day and used a pay loader to crush an answering machine. Harvey's reasoning for this was quite simple: "Our customers are busy too".
Over the past several years, I have probably made a dozen or more calls to (902) 859-1200 and discovered a real person on the other end of the line EVERY time. If the receptionist is busy or away from the desk, someone else always picks up. You can try it for yourself in the middle of any business day and discover how such a little thing like answering the phone can help build a company from scratch to employ over 50 people and develop a brand worthy of being called "seamless".
Trout River Industries does more than manufacture world class products.
Harvey, Darrin Mitchell and the rest of the team have discovered a way to do it seamlessly.
With a brand built from the inside out.
"A brand is a living entity - and it is enriched or undermined cumulatively over time, the product of a thousand small gestures"
MICHAEL EISNER, CEO Disney
P.S.... Here is the video where Harvey Stewart demonstrates how dangerous a conventional trailer can be.
P.S.S... To see how a "live bottom trailer" discharges its payload, incident free, watch this.