How Panera got it so right – 650k Likes by simply showing a little compassion

This is a brilliant blog post by Bill Taylor about the importance of humanity in business. It’s also a great story about someone who went the extra mile below…

Brandon Cook, from New Hampshire, was visiting his grandmother in hospital. She unfortunately was dying of cancer and complained to her grandson that she desperately wanted a bowl of soup (but the hospital’s soup was inedible). Her favourite soup was clam chowder from Panera Bread but it’s only sold on a Friday.

Brandon called the nearby Panera and talked to store manager, Suzanne Fortier. Sue made clam chowder especially for Brandon’s grandmother (even though it wasn’t a Friday) and she included a box of cookies as a special gift.

Brandon told the story on his Facebook page and then Brandon’s mother, Gail Cook, retold the story on Panera’s fan page. Gail’s post generated over 650 000 “likes” and more than 22,000 comments on Panera’s Facebook page. Panera got something that no amount of traditional advertising can buy and that they certainly wouldn’t have planned to get — a genuine sense of affiliation and appreciation from customers and potential customers.

And for Brandon’s family and grandmother such a compassionate action will stay with them forever. When my grand dad died he had some amazing last meals, which no doubt sends them off in a happy place.

Small acts of kindness can make a big difference.

Collaboration between generations – is it important?

How many elderly people do you know, other than in your family? I have to say 0, which is pretty awful but probably quite common living in london.

Global Net 21 report the following which is a nice sum up: ‘Society’s elders are being left behind the advancing technology that the younger generation is fully embracing. Equally, younger people are missing out on vital wisdom won from hard lessons learnt by their elders. Can the younger generation upgrade the older one? Can the older generation help younger people tap into wisdom appropriate for their era?’

Empowering change through collaboration 

I’m going to attend their online seminar tomorrow night investigating this and the experts look interesting. If you’d like to join it’s at 7.30. Collaboration between generations is surely the essence of society?

Collaboration is a hot topic for this year’s Social Media Week, so keep an eye out during 24-28th September. 90% of events are free, all you have to do is register and select the events you’d like to attend, from August 28th.

#TheBigPamper for elderly people

Spots of TimeOn May 5th I went to West Ham with my good friend Sarah. Where is West Ham I hear you say? We arrived and met Alice from Spots of Time and about 10 other volunteers. We got taxis to the care home and when we arrived the room was quite full already with elderly people, care home workers and volunteers. It was bloody hot too and I’d worn a nice warm winter jumper.

To be honest I was really nervous. I was scared in case the elderly people didn’t want to talk to me. Nails Inc. had kindly donated some nail varnish and volunteers were painting nails. My friend Sarah had bought her mum’s dog, Pedro! What the hell was I going to do.

Painted nailsThen I remembered I’d bought some After Eights for them. I started walking around the room offering them. One gentleman was French speaking and I realised afterwards he couldn’t understand what I was saying. I also quickly learnt that you just need to start by asking their name and introducing yourself! Basics Emily.

Pedro the dogThe highlight of the day was communicating with a lady who couldn’t talk. She was hunched over in her chair alone. I was determined to not leave her out so asked if she wanted to see the dog. She winked. Pedro came over and behaved beautifully. He definitely knew the role he was playing that day. I asked if she wanted to feed Pedro and she winked again, with a third & forth wink for after eights.

It just shows that everyone deserves a little bit of time. Even one hour is precious and lifted the room. Each person has a ‘voice’ to be heard, sometimes you have to ‘listen’ that bit harder.

It would be so amazing if schools factored volunteering into the curriculum, so it became the cultural norm.

Get involved? Big Pamper Day 5th May

Spots of TimeI often think I could be doing more with my time, something nice for someone else.

Big Pamper Day, run by Spots of Time, is this Saturday 5th May. It’s a great campaign to help us get there, as it’s often knowing where to start (without feeling silly or out-of-place).

They’re a social enterprise, aiming to make it easier for us to put our spare time to good use. Phew.

They’ve launched an exciting initiative called ‘Home is Where the Heart is’ to help elderly people connect with Londoners. Such a lovely idea and something I’ve wanted to do for ages.

If you want to get involved you can sign up here.