This article on ‘keeping it local’ was written by Lightfoot and first published in Grow Exeter magazine. Grow Exeter a fantastic publication reporting relentlessly positive news in our hometown of Exeter.
Another way to look at it is that we spend approximately 7.5 hours a day sat next to our colleagues. That’s quite the thought, isn’t it? You probably speak to Claire from accounts more than your own mother, much to both of their disappointment. So, it’s these relationships that should make the day go by a little more easily. Whether it’s your dream job or you’re just getting through the 9 to 5, it helps to like the people you surround yourself with and it matters, even more, to be genuine.
A business isn’t the office furniture or headed notepaper, it’s the people inside the company. How they engage with their customers and the way in which the products or services are delivered. People connect through shared experiences and brands are no different. That’s why the core of a business is its personality.
To give you a bit of back story, the average worker in the United Kingdom, according to YouGov, will spend approximately a third of their life at their workplace, a slightly depressing thought. So, it helps that most of us (62%) like or love our jobs. That’s great for them, but why are the remaining 48% dissatisfied? Many of us already know, that it has a lot to do with the people we come across day in, day out.
Two companies may offer exactly the same product or very similar services but for some reason you just like one better than the other. You immediately hit it off with them as they evoke feelings of familiarity, comfort or awe. It’s the same reason you may always buy a particular brand of cereal, even though the cheaper option offered by the supermarket is just as good – this is why a business needs a personality.
From our perspective, it stops the relationship with customers being purely transactional, it is memorable and should give the customer a reason for coming back for more. As a business begins to grow, the development of its personality should happen naturally as it learns more about its customers, the market it sits in and the type of people it employs. If the people in your team are friendly then there’s a good chance they are responsible for the friendly appearance of your business.
When shopping, you’re not necessarily looking for a personality match, you probably don’t even know what you are specifically looking for. Often people will choose traits they want to embody for themselves. Think of Red Bull, not all of us are into crazy extreme sports but people choose Red Bull over other energy drinks because they want to feel young, sporty and energetic. Eco energy drinks have been hitting the supermarket shelves in recent years, they still contain that all-important pick-me-up but do so using natural ingredients and more sustainable packaging. Same drink, for different people with different personalities.
So, let’s talk business. Precisely, your business.
You spend loads of time there; you need to be comfortable and you need to be yourself because deep down we’re all a little weird. We’re talking beyond wearing brightly coloured socks underneath bland suits or a picture from your trip to Iceland with your friends. We need to throw open the door to a little authenticity to promote the kind of thinking that only comes with creativity and expression.
Here at Lightfoot, we know we are weird and we celebrate it. Not only has our office got quirky wallpaper, living walls and flamingos dotted about but we also celebrate the personalities within our team. It’s the reason we were all comfortable to get a bit carried away with costumes and apple bobbing at Halloween, we raced into work one morning to hunt for treats left by the Easter bunny and laughed at the senior management team who had a meeting whilst dressed as Where’s Wally. You can still be productive without being sat in a grey office feeling sad. It has been proven by the Social Market Foundation that happy people are at least 20% more productive!
This craziness is reflected by our customer support team who in one instance went beyond first-name basis and famously know one of our clients by their nickname “Pork Chop”. Being able to have a chat and a giggle with our customers lets them know that they’re being heard. It allows Lightfoot to go beyond a copy and paste relationship so we can enjoy ourselves and try and be the highlight of our customers day. The “Lightfoot brand” is its people, no matter the product.