Triodos Bank on growth – forget the numbers

Triodos have nailed the tone of this film, their mission is to make money work for positive social, environmental and cultural change and this couldn’t come across more. It’s not just about investing in the development of more products, more buildings, more companies for shareholder value but investing in smarter solutions that help create efficiency or social impact.

They call their approach old fashioned in their mission, it seems a pretty innovative financial approach to me.

United breaks guitars: a brand not being #kindaware

A musician named Dave Carroll had difficulty with United Airlines in 2009. They damaged his treasured $3500 Taylor guitar during a flight, very annoying. How did they damage it? The United baggage handlers were literally throwing his guitar around.

Dave Carroll spent 9 months trying to get United to pay for damages to fix his guitar, caused by their extreme negligence, seemed only fair. United refused though and Dave let them know he was left with no choice other than to create a music video exposing their lack of cooperation. The manager’s response “Good luck with that one, pal,” so he posted a retaliatory video on You Tube, which has since received over 12 million hits!

United Airlines obviously then contacted the musician and attempted settlement in exchange for pulling the video. Dave’s response “Good luck with that one, pal.” Doh.

Taylor Guitars sent Dave not 1 but 2 new custom guitars in appreciation for the product recognition from the video, which has led to a sharp increase in orders. United didn’t fully appreciate that Dave Carroll was a travelling musician with opinions plus access to creative people, who would all volunteer to help him with his protest song.

It’s interesting to see the new ventures Dave Carroll has since invested in, with Resolution1 and Grapevine cloud based solutions, to help companies manage customer complaints better and be more #kindaware

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.