Dumpster Diving to Delight

Brand stories are a wonderfully rich way to share defining moments that epitomize the essence of a Brand. My favorite is the legend about a man in Alaska who took a pair of used snow tires to Nordstrom’s return counter. He was asked what he paid and promptly given a full refund – without question. This story epitomizes Nordstrom’s customer service credo: The customer is always right, even when he’s provably wrong.

I lived one such story last week. I was a guest at Adobe Grand Villas, a Bed & Breakfast in Sedona, Arizona. I picked Adobe Grand based on reviews on Trip Advisor. It was the #1 rated Sedona property. Reviews were chock full of stories about extraordinary service. The villa we stayed in (Timbers) was spectacular, with a bathroom the size of most hotel rooms, complete with a large hot tub and fireplace (http://www.adobegrandvillas.com/rooms-timbers.htm) The guest book in the villa was filled with stories about above-and-beyond service.

Upon return home, we realized that we accidentally threw away a tiny $500 mouth-guard in a tissue (a clear bit of plastic large enough to cover only 4 front teeth). Grasping for straws, we called Adobe. They were apologetic and empathetic, but did not offer hope. “It could be anywhere in the dumpster by now”. Three days later, a small package from Adobe Grand was in our mailbox – the mouth-guard, found by the innkeeper who “dumpster dove” to find and return the missing treasure. Our story is now part of the intricately crafted Adobe Grand tapestry on Trip Advisor. It’s already been read by hundreds of potential customers.

It’s not every day that a Brand has a chance to “Dumpster Dive” to inspire “loyalty beyond reason”… to create stories that build a Brand legacy. That said, I bet many Brands miss daily opportunities to show what they’re really made of and create stories. What is your Brand doing to surprise and delight in a way that lives the Brand promise/values and creates “loyalty beyond reason”?