THE GOLDEN EGG
For those who don’t know me well, I am a big believer in success mentors. There are several that I follow and one of my favorites is John Assaraf. If you aren’t familiar with him, do yourself a favor and look him up. I’ve taken many of his courses and programs and follow him daily through various channels. Recently, he posted a concept that I’d like to share with you:
They laugh at me because I am different; I laugh at them because they’re all the same.
This immediately struck me as so totally relevant to our industry today and it has been on my mind ever since. Our company is working at the heart of the burgeoning tenant engagement phenomena and we see it all. Mostly what we see are properties looking side to side at the competition to figure out what their neighbors are doing. Then they model their own engagement after everyone else. Pretty soon, you can’t tell one building’s tenant engagement from the next. When you look the same as everyone else, you’ve negated the very advantage that a robust tenant engagement program is meant to provide you.
The knowledge of what the competition is doing can be useful in the right way. It is actually a measure of what not to do. In the quest for the best tenant engagement, the key is not to look like everyone else. The key is to set yourself apart and to create something that is totally unique to your building. After all, your tenants see themselves as unique individuals and they want to be recognized as such and to work in an environment that reflects that. They want to be treated to events that highlight their particular interests and reflect upon the culture of their distinctive property. Doing the same thing as the building next door only means they could go next door and get the very same thing, maybe even for lower rent. And it doesn’t help your tenants retain employees either. When they can’t offer their employees something special, those employees might leave and go work for the company down the street. Their building gives out coffee every Friday too, so what’s the difference?
When you look to create tenant engagement in your own portfolio, also be wary of the “one size fits all” approach. Not every program is a fit for every building. A property that has lawyers and engineers as its primary tenants won’t be able to participate in an afternoon happy hour, but a building full of creatives will love it. If the cookie cutter approach is what you’re taking, then you risk alienating some tenants and the program you’re investing in will be far too benign to have any real impact. Think first about what your programs say to your tenants about who you are and what your culture is. If your program isn’t rooted in the answer to those questions, then you’re missing the point. What you are trying to do is cement loyalty by creating a feeling that resonates with customers so they know they are where they belong. They don’t belong at the building down the street, even if they do give away free coffee every week.
So the next time you’re tempted to copy an engagement event you’ve seen your neighbor doing, stop yourself and think instead of how you can become the Golden Egg. You’ll be the one to have the last laugh.