You Are the Brand

by Emily Pirraglia

14 June, 2013

Last week, Keith, Kathy and I had the opportunity to travel to Providence, R.I. for the Honey Summit and meet a few amazing, dedicated bakers. The Honey Summit was a great time for the bakers and for us—we spent many hours researching flights, hotels and working through all the details of the event, and it was a relief to see everything go as planned.

Preparing for an out-of-town event took a lot of coordination with our contacts in Providence. Their service and efforts reminded me of a valuable piece of advice: your actions represent more than just yourself. As a brand manager, many interactions—both online and offline—cross my path that echo this thought.

Lately we’ve seen a lot of ways an individual’s actions impact a brand. From the good (Abid Adar’s excellent customer service at Dunkin’ Donuts) to the terrible (NYU professor’s fat-shaming tweet), everything you say and do will ultimately be a reflection of your employer.

Our last night in Providence, we experienced first hand what it means to be a reflection of your brand. Stranded in an unfamiliar city with no taxi in site, we gave up trying to find one and started the long walk back to our hotel. Passing the Hilton, we tried one last ditch effort to arrange transportation by asking an employee* hanging out by the entrance if they had/knew of any available cabs that night.

His response? “No,” he said, “We don’t have any taxis around, but I wouldn’t mind giving you guys a ride to your hotel myself.” No mention of cash or reimbursement entered the discussion—he was just happy to provide exceptional service, even to people he knew weren’t Hilton customers.

At the end of the day, he didn’t stand to gain any personal recognition by helping us—we weren’t staying at the Hilton, we didn’t know his name and although we gave him a tip for his efforts, we could’ve just as easily accepted his kindness without providing any reimbursement. This guy just cared that we had a problem and went out of his way to address it. We never got his name, but we will remember that he was a Hilton employee, which makes a bigger, better brand impression on us than a banner ad ever could.

*Editor’s Note: we were not staying in Hilton brand hotel. This guy was probably on his break and definitely wasn’t obligated to help us in any way, which makes what he did awesome.