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The Extra Mile

"That's 5208 feet. Yes, I go the extra mile."
                                                                   - John Dorian, from Scrubs

I was watching an episode of Scrubs today, and it revolved around 'going the extra mile'. John Dorian, the protagonist, tries to make his colleagues realize the importance of doing that little bit extra, even though it is not part of your job description, even though it is not expected from you. Of course, you don't have to go to the extreme that John Dorian does in this episode (he shaves his head to keep his cancer patient company during her chemo-therapy). All you need to do is take the initiative to make the customer experience better, not because it will improve your sales (it might), not because it will provide a lift to your brand image (it might), but because every customer deserves to be treated that way.

I came across two brands that went the extra mile, in very different ways.

Fab, that spends a good deal of energy on e-mail marketing, did something unthinkable for an e-mail marketer. They identified people on their e-mail list who had never opened a mail from them and sent them one final mail stating that they would no longer continue with the e-mails and reduce the disruption in their inbox. Ebay, are you listening? I get several mails (not just from ebay) everyday that I never open. I now have years of unread promotional mails in my inbox. Yet, they keep coming. Fab could have continued mailing people like me. There is always the odd chance that someone might open a mail and take action (read purchase) accounting for an additional sale. But, Fab went the extra mile in foregoing that opportunity. People might say, good riddance, and not give Fab another thought. But, they did it anyway.

The other brand is Havertys. What Havertys has done is nothing along the lines of Fab. Many might say that what they have done is just very good advertising. You can watch the ads aired over a year, here.

This is going the extra mile in advertising because they focus on what the customer wants - a story! Everywhere, be it in a job interview, or in a graduation speech, we are told to communicate in the form of a story. Because everybody loves stories. Advertisers have always tried to make a story for the 30-second spots. In fact, I have even seen incomplete Pepsi TVCs that end in a ' be continued'. But Havertys has approached this differently. They have a protagonist for their ads, and they have aired different ads over time that progresses with a story line. Right from the first date of the protagonist to her engagement. And the ads all have the same theme, so they resonate. They are elegant. And for the best part, being elegant and going the extra mile is the same thing.

Have you seen any brand go the extra mile?

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