STOP PARTYING LIKE IT’S 1999
Personally, I am a child of the 80’s so I remember this time period rather fondly. When the song “1999” by Prince and the Revolution hit the airwaves, I was a tender age 12 and remember thinking how far away 1999 sounded. My friends and I used to listen to Prince sing about purple skies and judgement day, thinking that the year in question would never actually get here. And if it did, we would surely be flying Jetson’s cars and communicating telepathically and oh my gosh I’d be 28 years old. No. Way. Not. Possible.
Flash-forward through the years and 1999 seems like ages ago. And in fact, it was. For any of you who were working in commercial real estate at the time, you may feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up when I mention those three unassuming letterings: Y2K. Goodness, that happened in the dark ages, didn’t it? I think I still had a Nextel. Today we can all sit around the table reminiscing about the now seemingly silly things we did to prepare for the apocalypse that never was. Tap lights, glow sticks, stockpiling cans of Spam, and planning ahead for complete building shut-downs. Thank goodness that was a long time ago. I mean looking back, it all feels like another lifetime, doesn’t it? So let’s put our smartphones down, close our eyes, and play a mental game of #TBT picturing ourselves back then. Can you see it now, that pager on your belt loop? You needed to find a payphone half the time to answer it. You were twenty years earlier in your career, your email was on Hotmail, shows like Frasier and ER were in their heyday, the Food Network still aired actual cooking shows and no one had ever heard of Kim Kardashian. Ah yes, those were good times. But they feel a lot like ancient times too.
So now, with your feet planted firmly in 2018 and headed non-stop for 2019, take a look around your building. What has changed? Likely your wardrobe. Probably some (or most) of your tenant base. But maybe none of your tenant appreciation programs. In fact, if you are still referring to it as appreciation, you might be keeping one foot back in the dark ages. Prince had it right, “party over, oops, out of time.” The 1999 party is over. It’s time to refresh your tenant engagement and eliminate most, if not all, of the things that seemed like a good idea 20 years ago. Let’s leave Y2K, ER, and tenant candy programs lovingly in the past. And if Kim Kardashian will let us leave her there, we should do that too.
Instead, let’s pace forward and embrace new and modern tenant engagement the way the customer of today wants it to be. Collaborative, interactive, personal and with impact. Stop thinking that only mass events are good events and start thinking that intimate events are the best way to make truly lasting connections with customers. Stop thinking that hand-outs automatically create engagement, that engagement equals activity or that appreciation alone has a place in today’s synergetic work environments. And stop thinking that just because everyone else is doing it, it must be a good idea. A mentor of mine once said, “if you haven’t changed the way you think about something in the last five years, then you aren’t growing.” Let’s at least change the way we have looked at something for the last 20 years. Two thousand zero zero once felt like the distant future, but the past is in the past. Now it’s time to party like it’s 2019! And that means letting go of old standards and modernizing your approach to connect with the customer of today and not yesterday. Come with me. That Jetson’s car is waiting for us out there somewhere.