A work trip last week took me to Chennai to work with a new Life Sciences client and the whole experience had me making a “note to self” to re-read Hamish Pringles excellent book from 2001 called Brand Manners.
The reason for this that the brands I interacted with throughout my stay displayed, in my book, the most important aspect of a powerful brand. An inherent politeness and thoughtfulness that just makes me feel great.
From my travel experiences with Emirates to my stay at the Radisson Blu in Chennai I was looked after with a subtle and delightful care that wanted nothing more than for me to be happy during my brief time with each brand.
The same was true of Mr Gopi, the driver who looked after me for the 4 days I was there. It was not so much the highly entertaining conversations ranging from the traffic to cricket or the fact he was always 10 minutes early to pick me up, but it was the whole way in which he looked after me, how he made me feel on my first trip to his country. We also talked about his vision for the future of his two daughters in an India that has a big role to play in the world of commerce and the pride he had in them and his country.
And then there was my client. Having had the privilege of talking to the full spectrum of people throughout the business it was evident that here is a team of people who have a vision for their brand and an understanding of the new era of brand building that will, no doubt, power the future of their growing company.
I am sure their absolute focus on the future needs of customers and a passion to deliver and continuously improve the customer experience will be the stuff of famous differentiation. Without doubt, it will make their clients feel great.
This got me thinking about another business that has benefited from the Indian brand attitude, Jaguar Land Rover. A brand portfolio that has had new life breathed into it under its Indian owners through their deep commitment to making customers feel great again and their total commitment to looking forward with just a gentle eye on the past. It is not the misty eyed nostalgia that many European brands look at the world through, these are eyes focused on the horizon powered by visions that are huge, but realistic.
As a very wise lady, who cooked a very special meal for my chum and some very senior players at Merlin said the other day (when I was in India) “People will forget what you say. People will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel”
And she too was from India.