Who says you can’t deliver a product or service from the heart no matter who you are, where you work or who you work for? Building a brand with heart starts one person, one day at a time. Meet this TSA (Transportation Safety Administration) worker. I met him passing through security on my way to give a speech on branding in London, England last month. There I was, standing in a long line, the lone American in a sea of foreign exchange students from Korea, parents and children from the countries of Europe, Asia and Africa and business people from South America, Australia and everywhere else in the world. My ears were filled with a collage of languages, few of them English.
As I got closer to the check point, I heard laughter mixed with the foreign words. Continual laughter. Did I miss out on some joke that everyone else understood and I didn’t? Then I looked to my left, and there stood a man with a smile from ear to ear and a knack for making people laugh checking passports and boarding passes. Had my hands not been clutching my iPhone and carry-on bag, I would have rubbed my eyes in disbelief. Is this possible? A TSA representative performing his job flawlessly, and being human at the same time? Who is this guy?
When it came my turn, I just had to ask, “How do you keep such an amazing attitude working in the midst of all these lines?”
He answered, “I’m a faithful man, and I believe that when you do good for others it comes back to you. Most people are pretty tired of lines and even angry by the time they get to me. I don’t want to add to that. I want to make them happy, so that’s what I do.”
His smile was electric, his eyes caring, his scanning of my documents precise. I told him what I thought, “You know, you are the best ambassador for the United States that I’ve ever seen. These travelers from other countries will never forget how you made them smile and laugh. They are leaving America with a wonderful last impression. Thank you for doing that.”
With my passport and boarding pass cleared, I bid him goodbye and thought how lucky the TSA is to have an employee like this man, who has found a higher purpose in his job and lives it every day. How lucky I was to encounter him.
I always talk about “moments,” those little instances of time that are surprising and unforgettable. The language of the heart. I expected my pre-flight “moment” to be when I finally got to relax in the British Airways lounge with a warm cup of coffee. Who would have ever thought my moment would be while passing through security? After that experience, the lounge and the coffee didn’t even come close. Infusing heart in a brand happens one on one. It happens heart to heart and it can happen anywhere.
What is branding? Heart & Mind® Branding.