Why would Ted Baker fly someone over 3,000 miles, just to shine people’s shoes? It’s not a rhetorical question. This actually happened last week, to me, just some regular guy browsing shoes in Bloomingdales. As someone who works in digital media (and a jaded New Yorker) I was confused. No scale of audience, no trackable ROI, just me and this shoe shiner ?
What’s going on here?
As consumers, we all crave authenticity, so sometimes we’re not interested when brands want to be “social” in media or in real life. That’s why it’s still worth offering people great customer experiences to start relationships off on the right foot. Marketers of every stripe can find inspiration in this humble shoeshine.
Our social media contract with brands is simple: offer us something we value, and we’ll endorse it with our shares and engagement. But sometimes, enough is enough. Tweet your hashtag? What have you done for me lately??
More noise in social media makes it harder for brands to connect with us in authentic ways. More brands want to sell us, and we simply don’t want to be sold all the time. That’s true in real life, especially when we’re actually shopping. We say no to salespeople, all the time, even when we intend to buy.
Do you need any help? fuggedaboutit. Would you care for a free shoeshine, courtesy of Ted Baker?
… Absolutely, my good man!
In his friendly Scottish accent, Ted Baker’s “highly polished” shoeshiner Jock Kennedy talked shoes with shoppers while performing his craft. In the time it took to shine a pair of oxfords, this experience delivered on Ted Baker’s brand identity, won purchase consideration, and (by virtue of this post) won a social media advocate.
Ted Baker knows you only get one first impression, so they flew Jock the shoeshiner over 3,000 miles to treat its NYC customers to a proper shoeshine. That customer experience transformed an ordinary stroll through the shoe department into an authentic and memorable branded engagement.
This post isn’t just about shoes, it’s about the customer experience. Every exchange between buyers and sellers is an opportunity for an authentic experience. Quality matters more than ever, especially as we social media users discover our voices as customers, as well as consumers and producers of content. After all, that’s how a great shoeshine just might make a social media advocate out of an ordinary shopper.
Dan Gonzalez, Sales Manager, New York City.