Be Brilliant at the Basics

Sep 26, 2017 | Brand Differentiation

The best things in life are simple, authentic, and real.

Real food. Real craftsmanship. Real customer service. Real products. They all have a quality that trumps the latest fads and innovations, because they’re true to their essence.

Great brands share a similar quality. By being brilliant at the basics, companies are able to deliver better service and better customer experiences.

The Basics Go Unnoticed

Steve Jobs learned the value of craftsmanship from his father, Paul Jobs.

Steve Jobs explained, “I thought my dad’s sense of design was pretty good, because he knew how to build anything. If we needed a cabinet, he would build it. When he built our fence, he gave me a hammer so I could work with him.”

Fifty years after the fence was constructed, Jobs showed it to his biographer, Walter Isaacson. Touching the boards on the inside of the fence, he said, “[My father] loved doing things right. He even cared about the look of the parts you couldn’t see.”

He said that his father refused to use poor wood for the back of cabinets, or to build a fence that wasn’t constructed as well on the back side as it was the front. He continued, “For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.”

Craftsmen like Paul Jobs value all parts of their work. That attention to detail allows their work to stand the test of time.

It’s the work that goes on behind the scenes that makes a product or service great. The work may go unnoticed, but the truly great brands don’t cut corners.

The Basics Are Purposeful

The basics may not be glamorous or exciting, but they’re essential.

Great customer service starts with employees who care. All it takes to form an incredible customer experience is a curious employee who is willing to help. The employee may not have all the answers, but they can create lasting customer relationships if they’re fully present and willing to aid their clients to the best of their ability.

Delivering great customer service is deliberate. Nordstrom, Zappos, and USAA insurance wow customers by investing in their people, systems, and technology. It’s more than a talented employee on the front lines that wows customers. It’s the system.

A company’s honest commitment to serving customers is very hard to replicate, and it’s profitable. Customers will pay more for brands that are brilliant at the basics.

The Basics Build Brands

It’s the little things that customers remember and appreciate:

  • An employee who was friendly and served them well.
  • A product that was incredibly reliable and never requires maintenance.
  • A company that anticipates its customers’ needs with new products and features.

These simple yet highly functional experiences create a sticky factor. And the more you deliver these experiences, the more your customers will come back.

Your customers won’t need to look anywhere else when your company is brilliant at the basics.

The basics are the building blocks of your brand. It’s not sophisticated, but often the basics are the hardest part of business. So ask yourself and your team one question on a regular basis: how can we be just a little bit better?

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Jeremy Miller

Top 30 Brand Guru

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