I created Your People LLC in 2007 as an innovative way to help others build their businesses. My premise was, and it remains, that if you create genuine relationships between a company and its clients, you will generate loyalty, satisfaction and in the process, a burgeoning community.
And what does that do for business? Ideally, it builds the bottom line. Because everyone knows that when you feel a fondness and an allegiance for a person or place, you return there again and again.
I read in the Winter 2010 Michigan Alumnus magazine about Welcome Wednesdays at the Alumni Center in Ann Arbor. Last fall, the University of Michigan Alumni Association started offering free bagels and coffee, Wi-Fi and big flatscreen TVs on Wednesdays starting at 8:30 a.m.
At first, 135 people showed up. Now, more than 2,000 turn up for the casual cafe gathering spot. They’re fed, they’re kept warm, they’re greeted with a friendly grin and a sincere hello – and they create a connection with this place.
Well, the Alumni Association is sure hoping that turns into a lifelong relationship.
Any relationship takes time and effort to build, and nothing good happens overnight. I cringe when a client says, “What results can you guarantee?” Because really, the answer is, “None.”
I can get them out there and I can create exposure in all sorts of mediums. Given enough time, I can build a buzz around their brand. If need be, my team can create the brand they need to make a mark.
Guarantees? There are none, you know. Life is a marathon, not a race. You need endurance to make it to the finish line. And if free bagels, coffee and Wi-Fi don’t do the trick to expand the alumni reach for the University of Michigan, then they’ll try something else. They won’t fall to pieces.
But imagine the possibilities: boy meets girl on a Welcome Wednesday, they fall in love, get married 10 years later and have a lifelong fondness for the Alumni Center in Ann Arbor. Maybe that’s where they host the wedding. Maybe they bring their kids there 20 years later.
Maybe best friends meet there. Maybe two students link up and find they have compatible skills and talents, form a business and take it to Fortune 500. You never know where an idea will lead.
And if you don’t try it, it’ll go nowhere.