Having the Big Bucks Does Not Mean You Will Win – Why Personality and People will Win

It is called The Residence.  For eight hours you get a living room, shower, private bathroom, a double bed with a flat panel screen, and your own butler.  The price?  $20,000.

On Etihad Airlines, the flight from London to Abu Dhabi can be taken in the nose of a new A380 with your own Residence experience . . . all contained in 125 square feet.

Before their first flight, the first month is already sold out.

Does that kind of high end experience qualify as charismatic?  Not necessarily.  The butler/chef might be able to cook.  But when their ability to interview their special passengers and then cook to each individual guests interests; that smacks of charisma.

The Giant Eagle grocery chain has been opening 99,000 square foot stores under the Market District moniker.  These giant retail stores boast all the normal departments but injected with high octane pizzazz and flair.  How many grocery stores have Friday Night Wine/Cheese tastings for couples?  Who would pay to go on a date to the grocery store?  At Market District you do.

“Do you think this store is charismatic?” I ask a shopper.

“I don””t think so, not yet.   Because charisma is not about splash . . . it is about connecting.  I think their people still need to develop skills there.”

Business charisma is not something you can buy.  Having the resources to teach employees skills in warmth, personality and listening clearly helps.   But thinking a pretty package alone will do the trick is utter blindness.

Although there are products that probably charismatic: the iPhone, Victoria””s Secret next special something . . . most of the time charisma is formed by individual employees who build a personal relationship with the customer.  Disney knew that rides could be found anywhere, but personalities were unique.

In southern California the Cerritos Public Library is off the charts beautiful.  But it is “JT” who brings it to the heart of the patrons.  He is one of many Cerritos employees who connect in a very personal way, with the needs of their patrons.  The Chihuly Glass sculptures, the full sized Tyrannosaurus skeleton in the children””s department, or the building enchased in temperature reactive titanium that changes the color of the building during the day . . . . those are all “wowser”.  But JT is that personality that brings the magic of the library to life.

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