Be Like Amazon: Even a Lemonade Stand Can Do It
“George Eastman organized the Eastman Dry Plate Company in 1881 under four unifying principles: 1. Keep the price of the product low so the customer will find more uses for it. 2. Always sell by demonstration. 3. Be the first to embrace new technologies. 4. Listen to what the customer tells you.
“There are only four people on the ocean of life, and you meet them over and over again. The first person you meet is drifting. The winds and waves of circumstance push the drifter this way and that way, and the drifter just ‘goes with the flow.’
“The second person you meet is surfing. Surfers seem to be having a good time, but they never really get anywhere unless it’s by accident. The surfer is just looking for a wave to ride. The next big thing.”
“The third person you meet on the ocean of life is drowning.”
this third person is a professional drowner. You’ve met them. They whine and cry, ‘It’s just been the worst week of my life. I don’t know what I’m going to do.’ So you help them. You get them back on their feet. Then,
“The fourth person you meet on the ocean of life is the one that you and I want to be.”
“They usually succeed sooner or later, but success is an outcome. The reason they succeed is because they’re navigating.”“A navigator uses numbers, Poobah. Metrics. Graphs. Pie charts.”
“A mission statement is propaganda. Unifying principles are an operating system.”
‘Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.’”“A brand isn’t what you say about yourself, Sunshine. Your brand is built on your actions. Your performance. And the performance of your products.”
Vanderbilt stuck to that schedule no matter whether he was carrying one passenger or a boatload of freight and people. It didn’t take long before Vanderbilt had everyone on board
‘There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.’”
Customer centricity isn’t about customer love. It’s about learning what the customer wants and then giving it to them.”
“You can’t exceed a customer’s expectations until you know exactly what those expectations are.”
“Sam Walton’s 10 Commandments:
1. Commit to your business.
2. Share your profits with your associates and treat them like your partners. 3. Energize your colleagues.
4. Communicate everything you possibly can to your partners.
5. Appreciate everything your associates do for the business.
6. Celebrate your success.
7. Listen to everyone in your company.
8. Exceed your customers’ expectations.
9. Control your expenses better than your competition.
10. Blaze your own path.”
smart people are good at rationalizing things they came to believe for non-smart reasons. Smart people are able to brush off criticism since they’re convinced they’re right, and, due to their superior thinking abilities, they can usually out-argue their critics even when the criticism is on target. This is how and why smart people often quit caring.”
Success isn’t determined by the business you’re in, Sunshine. It’s determined by how you run your business.”
“What keeps companies from being agile?” “Bureaucracy. Arrogance. Fear of making a mistake. If even one of those creeps in, you no longer have corporate agility.”
“Your mind goes to a different place when you’re writing than it does when you’re talking. There’s a solitude in writing. A level of introspection we don’t experience when we’re speaking.”
The younger man said, “I see how a lemonade stand could brand like Amazon, so what keeps other big companies from building on those same four pillars?” The old man answered,
“ONE: An Organizational Focus keeps them from Customer Centricity.
TWO: Risk Aversion—maintaining the status quo—keeps them from Continuous Optimization.
THREE: A Competitor Focus—watching the industry leaders—keeps them from having a Culture of Innovation.
FOUR: Misplaced Accountability—the need to place blame—keeps them from Corporate Agility.”
‘Do the right thing’ is still the company mantra, and Costco employees really do try to live up to it. People who work at Costco say they hear it every day.”
Do they meet your best employee on that employee’s best day? Of course not. They meet an average employee on an average day. Or worse, they meet a below-average employee on a below-average day. And then you are confused by those negative reviews.”
‘People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.
“One. A Big Idea.” A second finger joined the first, “Two. Nuts and Bolts. How-to, step-by-step explanations and examples. Every good business book has these two things.” Now a third finger, “But the ones that sell a lot of copies have number Three. Entertainment.” The old man spoke. “Entertainment is the currency that purchases the attention of a too-busy public.” The younger man held up four fingers. “Four. The characteristic that will send your rocket ship to the stars is Hope.”
“Advertising is a tax we pay for not being remarkable.”
‘Story is What You Say. It’s the personality and promises you put in your marketing messages and customer interactions. It starts with We Believe and it includes, among other things, all your Brandable Chunks. Culture is Who You Are. It’s the experience your employees have inside your company.
Experience is What You Do. It’s what your customers perceive when they interact with your company. Authenticity occurs when your story and your customer’s experience align. When they don’t align, you get bad reviews. High Employee Morale is what happens when your story and your culture align. When they don’t align, you have cancer in the building. Brand Ambassadors are born when story and culture and experience synchronize.’ This is when happy customers become a member of your tribe, an extension of your brand. No one knows this better than Jeff Bezos.”
“Bezos once wrote to his shareholders, ‘Start with customers, and work backwards. Listen to customers, but don’t just listen to customers—also invent on their behalf. We can’t assure you that we’ll meet all of this year’s goals. We haven’t in past years. However, we can assure you that we’ll continue to obsess over customers. We have strong conviction that that approach—in the long term—is every bit as good for owners as it is for customers.’
“Word-of-mouth is triggered when a customer experiences something far beyond what was expected.”
Good service is expected. It’s bad service that people talk about. Excellent customer service leads to customer retention and loyalty, and it generates positive feedback, but rarely is customer service the basis for word-of-mouth advertising.”
“Nonverbal statements can be architectural, kinetic, or generous, but they have to go way beyond the boundaries of what’s normal if they’re going to trigger word-of-mouth.” “Architectural?”
‘Her name is Dulcinea and her condition must be that of princess, at the very least, for she is my queen and lady, and her beauty is supernatural, for in it one finds the reality of all the impossible.'”
“Quixote saw beauty where other people didn’t.” “And isn’t that the characteristic that defines an entrepreneur?”
bad advertising is about a company, a service, or any product the company sells.” “Yes, and good advertising is about the customer, and how that company or service or product will transform some part of the customer’s world
Our blogs (http://www.belikeamazon.com/blog and http://www.buyerlegends.com/blog) have more content and step-by-step guides to help you. There’s even a free survey for your colleagues and customers that will help you see your organization from a different perspective. Check out http://www.belikeamazon.com/fourpillars.