Why can’t we just “unthink” a little

Yesterday I found myself in a hurry to grab some lunch before a marathon webex meeting. I figured I grab something quick, inhale my sandwich and run to the conference room. I unexpectedly ran into some colleagues from another floor and had a brief conversation in the lunch line. Idle chatter by most respects, until we got to where we pay for our food.

Before I continue the story I need to provide a brief explanation of our Deli. This is a family run business that must be doing okay because they have expanded in the nearly four years I have been in this building. They are modest but serve good breakfast and lunch options at a decent price. They are also know for their snacks. They have frozen yogurt that many around the building crave daily. They also use the power of baking cookies to lure unsuspecting midday snackers.

Back to the story. As we approached the cash register my colleague asks if I’m getting a cookie. The deli cleverly offers cookies as part of the special instead of a bag of chips and many do this. I say, “No. I never get the cookies. In fact I’ve never had one.” This is the part that gets me in trouble. The deli owner has seen me for 4 years and is stunned that I have never had a cookie. He opens the lid and orders me to grab the last cookie off the cookie sheet. Before I can pay he tells me to take a bite. You might be thinking this is a brilliant move on his part. It was! They are darn good cookies. I see why people gush over these things.

This example is similar to how we can engage customers online in Social Media. He wasn’t thinking about the PR angle, he didn’t run through a cost/benefit analysis or a A/B test. He simply overheard a conversation and was so sure of the product he offered to let me try a warm, delicious cookie on the house. This brings me to my headline. I understand the value of analysis, trends and communications that are “on message”. I had a call earlier that morning that was hotly debated about where Social Media fit in the discussion. My interaction with the deli owner was a refreshing example of being social that big corporations stand to do a little more. Can we just “unthink” a little?

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