October 1, 2008

Getting the mix just right...

So it's been a tad quite here recently.  One of the reasons was that my Mum was over from England for a visit - her first in 4 years.  She dutifully brought gifts for everyone, but the one thing I asked for her to bring was a Pork Pie.  Odd request maybe, but it's been 6 years today since I lived in the UK and I could get them anytime.

pork pie packagingYou may also thinks its an odd thing to write about here.  Well I suppose the Pork Pie (though excellent) isn't the thing I wanted to write about.  It's how the manufacturer's talk to their customers.

Take the packing.  Usually ignored as we've skimmed the "instructions" for eating & storage a thousand times, but with this brand you should pay a little attention.  They obviously have a sense of humour with tid-bits such as:
Where to put this pie (apart from your stomach!) Fridge, good. Airing cupboard bad.

You can also contact their horrified customer service if your pie is in less than great shape.

The company that makes these particular pies are Pork Farms and you can see the humour continue as they took part in the 2007 UK Comedy Awards. They have TV ads that carry this through as well.  I decided to be cheeky and email them, letting them know how much I missed their products and if there was anywhere in the USA I could get them.

I expected an automated response, but was surprised I got an email from a real person the next day, asking for my physical address.

A week later I signed for a registered letter from the UK.  From Pork Farms.  In it was a nice note explaining why they couldn't ship stuff to the USA but that were happy that I liked the product.  Also money-off coupons I could use for my next trip over to the UK.

Gary Vaynerchuck is always saying that part of his success is answering every email.  This communication and connection helps to build his brand.  Pork Farms found their voice, through humour, which goes from packaging, advertising and the promotion of the company.  They responded not only electronically but physically, sending something to me - someone who can't buy their products, is an ocean away, and is essentially a non-customer.

This is the kind of connection that most companies miss as they think an automated email is good enough.  Next step for Pork Farms would be to start reaching out into the social web. And shipping to the USA of course.

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