“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close, in fact, that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.”
Steve Jobs, Founder of Apple
What you’re about to read features 23 world-class entrepreneurs.
At least 4 of them are billionaires.
At least 8 of them are NY Times Bestselling authors.
Collectively, they have over 23 million Twitter followers.
And they inspired the brand new video you’ll watch at the end of this post.
They can suck.
Or they can inspire.
Regardless, they exist. Internally and externally.
A CEO Wonders What’s Possible
Recently, after a client meeting, the subject of expectations came up in a heated discussion.
This discussion was with the CEO.
He was questioning his expectations of his employees to embody the brand we were perfecting. He was questioning the ability of his employees to see (on their own) what worked and what didn’t and, lastly, he wanted to know, would they demand more of themselves to be of better service to one another as well as to customers?
So, I started to look into this topic of exceeding expectations.
Simplicity Kicks Complexity’s Ass
Earlier this year, I released a video that I’d written, narrated and directed. It was on branding. Much to everyone’s surprise, it went viral.
After the viral success of the video What is Branding (nearing a quarter of a million views worldwide after several months), I decided to tackle this subject of Exceeding Expectations.
Why? Because the What is Branding video was in response to the 6,000+ results found on Amazon after I’d searched for books on branding. Over 6000 books on that one topic!
I’d also noticed exceeding expectations was the focus of numerous articles that had appeared in INC, Forbes, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine as well as numerous business blogs, authoritative journals and books.
Plus every entrepreneur knows that managing expectations is a vital skill that impacts brands: reputation, customer service, employee performance and every other aspect of personal and corporate interaction and achievement, each and every day.
To tackle this, I did three things:
- I compiled a remarkable collection of exclusive quotes from colleagues and mentors (appearing in this post for the very first time),
- I curated other quotes from people I didn’t have immediate access to from the Internet, and
- I wrote, directed and narrated a brand new animated video as a follow-up to the What is Branding video. It’s entitled: Exceeding Expectations: What Smart Brands Know shown at the end of this post. (Since this article was first published, there is another video we released that you must see)
(Here’s what I expect of you: Immerse yourself in these amazing quotes. Then immediately watch the stunning 2.5 minute video at the end of this post. It’s selling nothing other than your own conviction to yourself to excel.)
23 Top Influencers on Exceeding Expectations
In total, I collected 23 outstanding insights from amazing people who actually get things done and who routinely exceed expectations.
As I dug deeper into this topic, I felt I had to be able to answer:
- Why do certain companies excel?
- How do some organizations anticipate our needs before we do?
- How do some leaders sense that next step we will need and want which makes us feel welcome and valuable?
So I looked at which companies had reputations for being able to anticipate needs and then exceed those expectations:
- It’s what makes Apple products break records and set new standards.
- And what makes Nordstroms’ service the gold standard.
- And what makes Under Armour the sports company to watch.
- And Netflix, the channel of the new “binge-watching” generation.
Something Very Unexpected Happened
Looking at the wide range of personalities involved in these insights, I realized the remarkable and influential people I was collecting quotes from would likely never meet one another. Their circles just didn’t overlap.
Yes, I wanted to include some insights from some brilliant minds on exceeding expectations.
And yes, I had access to some very smart people in the world of business, branding, writing, entertainment and innovating.
What I didn’t anticipate was this common thread that linked everyone of these extremely diverse personalities, unifying each of them with one overriding purpose: helping others by demanding more of themselves and those around them.
It’s a Who’s Who of Amazing Minds
A number of these quotes are exclusives from people who I am honored to be able to personally reach out to. These are (in alphabetical order):
- Cheryl Burgess, Author of The Social Employee: How Great Companies Make Social Media Work, an Amazon Best Seller, hailed by Tom Peters as his No. 1 favorite social business book
- Grant Cardone, Entrepreneur, sales expert and NY Times Best-selling author of “The 10X Rule”
- Eliot Cunningham, Senior Digital Marketing Manager at PeopleBrowsr
- Derek De Vette, PR Accelerator working with Harley Davidson and the Foo Fighters, Veteran’s Ride USA, Ann Archer & Artists for Human Rights
- Mark Fidelman, CEO of Evolve! Digital Marketing Agency and Forbes Columnist
- Jeff Goins, Writer. Idea Guy. Difference-Maker. Author of The Art of Work
- Daymond John, noted Shark Tank investor, fashion and brand mogul, CEO of FUBU
- Justin Matthew, Founder IBoom Media, KRED Influencer Worldwide 2015, Top Digital Marketer 100 Power List (This guy is amazing)
- Danny Meyer, CEO, Union Square Hospitality Group, author of NY Times Bestseller “Setting the Table”
- Peter Ruppe, Nike alum; SVP Footwear, UnderArmour
- Lauren Selman, Producer, TEDx Speaker, Mighty Millennial, Philanthropist and
- Oliver Shokouh, Founder, the Harley-Davidson Love Ride, the longest running, single-day motorcycle fundraising event in the world raising over $24 million for children and veteran’s charities.
The balance of quotes are simply from great people who live to help, advancing culture in some way, and who bring value to whatever they come in contact with. I went online and searched for and chose people who are all living, active and influential in today’s culture and business activities:
- Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s SVP of Retail
- Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com
- Richard Branson, Virgin
- Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and Shark Tank investor
- Jason Fried, Founder & CEO at Basecamp and author of NY Times Bestseller REWORK
- Seth Godin, NY Times Best-selling author
- Ashton Kutcher, Actor, Investor, Humanitarian
- Elon Musk of Tesla
- Howard Schultz, CEO Starbucks
- Simon Sinek, NY Times Best-selling author, and (last but certainly not least)
- Gary Vaynerchuk, Businessman, Investor, Author. NY Jets fan. CEO of @vaynermedia. Host of #AskGaryVee show.
Exceeding Expectations: In Their Own Words
(That Secret Ingredient Between OK and Awesome)
“…if the end result is that someone, somewhere winds up believing they can do something out of the ordinary, well, then you’ve really made it.”*
“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”*
“The key is to set realistic customer expectations, and then not to just meet them, but to exceed them — preferably in unexpected and helpful ways.”*
“Smart brands have always been about enhancing the customer experience. Now they need to leverage the employee experience (EX), illuminating both the brand and the employee. This creates a win/win for both the brand and the employee.”
“The goal should be to SHOCK, not just simply exceed expectations. Leave copying, competing and comparing to others — Shock Expectations and gain immediate altitude above the rest.”
“It is so much easier to be nice, to be respectful, to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and try to understand how you might help them before they ask for help, than it is to try to mend a broken customer relationship.”*
“It’s every business’s job to exceed the expectations of their clients in this progressively competitive and globalized environment. Like a soldier earning a purple heart, every brand must go above and beyond the call of duty in order to rise to the top of any market.”
Derek De Vette:
“Only the belligerently original rise to the top. Microsoft and Apple began with PCs. One is struggling for relevance; the other became the predominant source of music, photos and communication on earth. No one saw this coming—except for Steve Jobs who was famous for having a sixth sense for knowing what to say ‘No’ to and never losing sight of the user experience.”
“In order to exceed your customers’ expectations, you must first understand those expectations. The next step is to exceed them – no excuses.”
“Plus, if you’re a copycat, you can never keep up. You’re always in a passive position. You never lead; you always follow. You give birth to something that’s already behind the times‚ just a knockoff, an inferior version of the original. That’s no way to live.”*
“Traditional corporations, particularly large-scale service and manufacturing businesses are organized for efficiency. Or consistency. But not joy. Joy comes from surprise and connection and humanity and transparency and new…If you fear special requests, if you staff with cogs, if you have to put it all in a manual, then the chances of amazing someone are really quite low.”*
“Don’t just do what you love. Chase what makes you curious. Fascination leads to growth. And when you grow, you do interesting and attractive work, work that’s worth noticing.”
“Merely ‘meeting expectation’ isn’t a business that’s built on being proactive. Instead, that’s a business that’s reactive which just won’t cut it in today’s market place. To succeed in business, I learned early on, you have to anticipate what your customers really need. And to do that, you’ve got to be observant, very observant and connect the dots that others miss.”
“The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart. And being thoughtful and being generous. Everything else is crap. I promise you. It’s just crap that people try to sell to you to make you feel like less. So don’t buy it. Be smart. Be thoughtful and be generous.”*
“Never stop challenging yourself, compete only with goals you set. Comparing yourself to anyone else is disrespectful to your own abilities. Believe in domination through innovation. Question everything; do not take it as fact. Always work as if people more talented and smarter than you were trying to take your job tomorrow.”
“In the end, what’s most meaningful is creating positive, uplifting outcomes for human experiences and human relationships. Business, like life, is all about how you make people feel. It’s that simple, and it’s that hard.”
“I’d like to get into the habit of exceeding expectations.”*
“To exceed expectations, you want to deliver the unexpected. This is a mindset. It is centered on knowing and caring enough to observe, discover and unlock value hidden inside the acts of life.”
“Our mission statement about treating people with respect and dignity is not just words but a creed we live by every day. You can’t expect your employees to exceed the expectations of your customers if you don’t exceed the employees’ expectations of management.”*
“If they asked about my career, I’d say, ‘What I want to be hasn’t been created yet.’ We live in a world where we create our reality, our jobs, our relationships. We each have the power to create our lives. Approach every conversation or experience as an opportunity to learn and to teach and you will exceed all your expectations.”
“Harley-Davidson doesn’t sell motorcycles. We sell a lifestyle; camaraderie; brotherhood on two wheels. All made in the USA.”
“Service is not doing what is required of us. Service is doing more than is required of us.”*
“You need to spend all of your time and energy on creating something that actually brings value to the people you’re asking for money!”
The Video That Sparked This Flame
Become Less Impressed. Become More Involved.
I want you to be an outrageous success.
I want you to have a brand that allows you to make a remarkable contribution to how the world works. Or plays.
I know of no faster way to achieve that than by helping others. Using you passion and talents and skills.
In ways they don’t expect.
In ways they don’t anticipate.
In ways that are so far beyond what anyone considers “normal.”
Some may say, this isn’t branding. “What’s Brier talking about now?”
No, it’s not directly about about branding.
It’s about life.
Of which branding is one small part.
Want to know how to do it correctly? Read (and watch the new video in) this vitally important post.