Posts Tagged ‘Customer Relations’

Pike's Place Fish Market in Seattle

While in Seattle I had a chance to watch and see what makes Pike’s Place Fish Market different from the other markets within Pike’s Place. Be original.

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting a city that has been on my “To Visit” list for quite some time. That city was sunny Seattle. I had the pleasure of speaking at the Marketing Association of Credit Unions (MAC) annual conference on Social Media Monitoring (my slides can be found below, if you care to look).

One spot I knew I had to stop while there was Pike’s Place Fish Market. While working for Washington Mutual, I was exposed to one of the many corporate training videos that deals with this small fish market. In the mid to late 80’s, Pike’s PLace Fish Market was in trouble. It was on the brink of bankruptcy but the owner and employees knew they had something special. It was then that they decided to become world-famous. That is no small feat. How could a little fish stand in a city known for seafood become world-famous, let alone a tourist destination?

Be Original

Much like Steve Jobs and Apple, this little fish stand decided that they wanted to be different. The staff decided to bring some personality to the stand. What started as an idea to save the company became a new way to look at business. It wasn’t about the fish or how fresh it was, it was about the experience. It started with throwing the fish from the display case to the packaging area when a customer placed an order and it grew into a show. The employees have fun with what they do. They enjoy their work. How many businesses can truly say that about their employees?

Being different from the other 3 or 4 fish stand in the Pike’s Place Market, and the city of Seattle in general, saved this little stand from bankruptcy. It has inspired many managers to work in a completely different way than they previously thought. It has inspired many employees to bring something extra to work and really learn to enjoy what they do. Check out this clip from one of the motivational videos about this stand and you will see what makes them stand out.

If your business is struggling, what can you do to save it? How can you think differently about what you offer? Much like the fish market, they realized that fish could be a secondary product and getting people to the stand needed to be the first priority. This turned the employees into entertainers. You may not be able to entertain your customers, but you surely can be original in how you do your business.


It has definitely been a while since I have updated my blog. With that I bring you a longer than normal post!

There is no better spot to witness the armchair quarterback in business than on social media. Currently you have many “experts” willing to give their advice to companies that have stumbled in their efforts, and we all fall in this category. Yes I am including myself in this. I find myself being a little too cynical of what is going on.

Of course with national flubs like Lowe’s, GoDaddy, Ocean Marketing, and countless others have experienced lately it is no wonder we all decide to hang out on the sidelines and declare “what we would have done.”

As many have pointed out, it is very beneficial to have a disaster recovery plan in place. It is also important to have someone knowledgable in place to handle the backlash. The thing that each of these companies have forgotten to do is to remember what they stand for. Lowe’s is a company that stood for the American Dream, home ownership. It wasn’t solely the Christian or Jewish Dream. It was about the diversity that we have in America but we all want the same thing. We want a place of our own. Lowe’s is able to help people make their house a home but the company forgot its primary purpose.

GoDaddy is in the same boat. It thrives off of people being able to do what they want online without fear of most repercussion and the legislation that GoDaddy helped create by sponsoring it went against the values of its customers. Ocean Marketing was a service company. It provided a service and if part of that includes customer service, which apparently it did, you must remain professional with the customer at all times. The customer does not care whether or not you have had a bad day or week. They write your paycheck and need to be treated like that.

There are many examples of companies “doing it wrong” but if you look hard enough there are many more of those that do it right. You must understand what you stand for before making any decisions and then decide if your next campaign falls within those standards. Make sure you stick to your guns and follow through. Be strong and do not second guess your ideas if they truly go along with your brand.

What companies do you see that stick to their brand, no matter what?