I love my “Fred Moore or Less” readers.
Frequently, I get terrific feedback and stories that are just so dead on, and that fires me up.
Take last week, and the great story on Weber grills that I received from Peter Seymour.
Peter is my friend and a professional mentor of mine from way back in our New York Dancer-Fitzgerald-Sample days. In fact, I can distinctly remember, as a fresh-out-of-college, bewildered kid, stepping into Peter’s office in the Chrysler building at 42nd and Lexington. Something happened. It was magic. At that point, I totally knew this business was for me.
Peter is a very sharp brand guy. He totally gets this modern-day concept of “people believe people,” where your people are your brand.
So he sent me this great branding tale that so embodies why culture is one of the last great differentiators of products and organizations in marketing today.
I have a Weber Grill that has lived outside and been used year-round for almost ten years. With two teenage boys in the house, grilled meat (and lots of it) is a staple on our menu, and as a single dad, grilling is an easy way to get cheaper protein to taste good and is efficient, so that dinner is not a chore and doesn’t cut into my working day.
In the last month, I have noticed that the burners are corroded and the heat from the flame is not concentrated enough for searing the meat as it should be. On a whim, I called Weber customer service, and with my original paperwork in hand, spoke to a lady named Donna.
The first surprise is that I was speaking to Donna “live” within two minutes after pressing the appropriate number. The second surprise is that Donna knew her stuff and was incredibly efficient, informing me that, based on the serial number I gave her, the burners were under warranty (a ten-year warranty!) so Weber would replace them for free – including shipping. She also quickly took my information and registered my grill and my contact info into their database so that in the future, they could pinpoint the part I was calling about and get it out to me the same day (free if it was under the warranty, or at a reasonable cost if it wasn’t. I added an ignition unit, which I had to pay for, but came more cheaply than the same part through Amazon).
The whole process took five minutes (plus two minutes’ holding time) instead of the half-hour minimum that I budgeted into my schedule. Three guesses as to which brand of grill I will be extolling every chance I get, and when this one finally goes to the big patio in the sky, I will pay extra for another Weber to replace it. I have to say I was blown away by the experience, and it reminded me of the lessons we learned about branding over the decades spent in the business of brand communications. It is definitely not just about ‘talking the talk.’ “
Thank you, Peter. After all these years, I am still learning from you.