There's only one way to eat a Dorito.
This has been my lifelong MO. Every. Single. Chip. I. Eat. I look at both sides and make a split-second decision as to which side has the most flavoring and then place that side immediately in direct contact with my tongue. Taste bud celebration ensues.
Mockery by friends and family my entire life has not deterred me one bit. This is where my inner obsessive side shines. I\’ll even turn on the interior lights when I’m driving at night so I can see each chip. I am determined to make the most of every bite.
Now I ask you, how long have you been eating Doritos with reckless disregard and missing out all of the enhanced flavor experiences? Please resolve today to never let that happen again. On behalf of your mouth, I thank you.
Wait, that’s not right. She said, “LIFE is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” Quirky and bizarre, my Dorito-taste-optimization practice has come to represent my deep desire to dial-up every experience to the max in order to create a lifetime of daring adventures. To live every aspect of life to the fullest — a carpe-diem-kind-of-jump-on-your-desks-Dead-Poets-Society-style life.
For example, when my future wife and I start our family, you better believe I’ll be championing the BOGO pregnancy. That’s right, maximize. Twins. It’s the ultimate two for one. No one’s getting any younger here — let’s get this show on the road.
AND, while I have no desire to run even a half marathon, if you Spartan-ize it and have us leap over fire, swim through glacier-fed ponds, crawl under barbed wire in the mud, and run over 14 miles with a 4,500 elevation change in the Sierra Nevadas, now you’re talking!
How does this translate into our businesses? Could creating a better brand and customer experience for our teams, clients and partners make as much of a difference as eating Doritos flavor side down does for me? Why should we as business leaders even care about maximizing the experience for our people? Is is really worth the effort? Could it possibly help our businesses thrive? Is it outrageous to think that the brand experiences we create could make people happier, feel a sense of worth and importance? Could our brand experiences possibly add real value to people’s lives and even change the world?
Early on in my eclectic entrepreneurial career, I learned a valuable lesson that changed my perspective and efforts forever — level up your brand and customer experience and you will thrive (and even build a lasting legacy as a force for good).
My obsession for brand experience began years ago when I was running a nursing home in the Pasadena area of Southern California. Our business model was to take over distressed nursing home properties and turn them around. In this case, when I took over operations at Mission Care and Rehab, the facility was bankrupt and very few doctors or hospitals knew we existed. With next to no budget to dedicate to marketing efforts, we had to do somethingto get the word out, to stand out and get noticed. We needed to find our sloth factor.
So instead of being noisy, I figured that if we could create a brand and customer experience that was so surprisingly special, so unique, so different than all of the other 200 competing nursing homes within a 10 mile radius, we could not only pull ourselves out of bankruptcy, but it would be transformative — we would thrive.
Like most organizations, we had an awesome mission and values that we nicely framed on our walls. But I started to wonder…how do we bring this mission, our values and our well-defined brand and customer experience to life? How do we embed this into everything we do? How could we design a brand experience that was “flavor side down?”
So I began to study and learn best practices from titans in business — from organizations that were wildly successful at creating brand and customer experiences that are legendary. We began implementing best practices from Apple, Disney, Zappos, Nordstrom, Trader Joe’s and even Chick-Fil-A and In-n-Out. We developed a system and framework to create an extraordinary brand experience in a nursing home of all places.
We worked hard to restore humanity to the nursing home experience by simple things like smiling, calling everyone by name (not “Bed #3B needs an IV” — a personal pet peeve of mine, our residents are human beings and not numbers), training our team at the Ritz-Carlton, and making it the standard for our team to go above and beyond to make our residents and guests feel important and special.
Fast forward one year. Not only were we out of the red, but we hit $4.5 Million in revenue and were full to capacity. Most importantly, we were well-known in the community for our world-class brand experience and we had recruited and retained an absolute rockstar team that felt fulfilled and empowered to make a difference in our people’s lives. We leveled-up our brand and customer experience and we thrived.
Ever since then, I’ve been obsessed with the power of brand experience.
And I have some great news. Because we live in a world where average to bad brand experience is the norm, if you and I level-up our brand and customer experiences (flavor-side-down style) we will stand out from our competitors like a purple cow.
In the same way we can save ourselves from a lifetime of eating Doritos the wrong way, let’s not settle for creating mediocre brand and customer experiences that are nothing more than heartless and dehumanized transactions.
Let's seize the opportunity to create unforgettable, human-centered brand experiences that will positively change the world.
Just imagine the positive influence you can have on your team, your partners and your clients. We have the ability (and even responsibility) to transform our companies, non-profits, families and personal brands and effectively make the world a better place one micro-interaction of happiness at a time.
Flavor side down.
What’s your “flavor side down” and how has it transformed your business, organization and life? Please comment and share your story.
I’d love to have you join the journey to discover the secrets of extraordinary brand & customer experience AND find the best tacos in the world. Who’s with me on the Search for the Perfect Taco?