Gorman, who runs a boutique creative-brand agency, offers a refreshing return to business basics, when competition was a novel concept and businesses actually put the customer first.
Not that Gorman is trotting out old business saws in a fuddy-duddy way; his style is energetic, and his delivery is keen and clean. He is not about to forsake branding, but he will tell you to forget the fancy dancing, the retro music and the airy cleverness. His emphasis is on delivering satisfaction to the customers--consistently–-with the ultimate goal of making them friends for the long term. Granted, it's not a revolutionary concept, but in the Age of Hype, it's certainly salubrious. Profits cannot be a guiding principle; business owners must understand the values, tastes and preferences of their audience, and then create a brand that becomes "the story that people will tell when asked to recommend your product or service to someone else"–-and one that exceeds expectations. In other words, create an identity and be all you say you are. Tag lines, logos, websites–-these are all brand articulations, and though Gorman acknowledges their importance, they are not value articulations and they can't carry the product if the consumer's experience isn't pleasurable and enthusiastic. Gorman even goes a step further: The product must be a delight. (He includes many amusing anecdotes, but the best involves him tipping a saxophone-playing spaceman in the subway.) Gorman also offers intelligent advice about making oneself attractive to prospects, about clarity of message, about elegance and about the importance of word-of-mouth for verifying quality (with a nod to George Silverman)–-though it would have been helpful to get a few examples of controlling and sequencing word-of-mouth marketing.
For Gorman, creating customers is an act of cultivating delight–-a motto that most businesses would do well to follow.