No Exceptions.

Blog by Clint Elkins, VP of Sales, SB Value

In my last column I wrote about the importance of thinking outside the box and creating new ways to increase your bottom line. Of course, that is business 101 and always will be, but it isn’t always the most personal aspect of your career. 

 A movie based on a true story that teaches us about branding and business.

A movie based on a true story that teaches us about branding and business.

Your brand is your brand, period. One of my all time favorite movies is American Gangster. If you haven’t seen it, it is solely based on business and building a brand. Denzel Washington delivers a great line, “No exceptions.” ‘No exceptions’ sums up his character and his business in just two short words but they are the core of what he stands for.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to attend a catering workshop held at Lon Lane’s Inspired Occasions in Kansas City, MO. I had spoken to Lon a few times leading up to the event and it was obvious that the workshop was going to be spectacular, even before I laid eyes on his facility. All it took was listening to him share his thoughts and visions of the event to know his brand was ‘regal’. 

 Amir, a team member that embodies Lon’s brand.

Amir, a team member that embodies Lon’s brand.

I arrived a day early and was able to spend some time with Lon. As we toured Kansas City and sampled all the famous BBQ places, I almost felt like a reporter in a way. One thing about me is I love to learn and anyone that has ever spent any time around Lon, knows he is a wealth of knowledge on about any subject. So, as I asked question after question about his business it was very clear that he sticks to his brand and his brand is his business. 

The next day at the workshop I need to run a quick errand. There was a market a few blocks away and I needed to run down to pick up something for a friend. I asked a young man who worked at Lon’s for walking directions to the store. Even though the market was only a few blocks away he insisted on driving me there so I didn’t have to waste any more time that I needed to. Once we arrived he joined me inside to grab the things I needed. While standing line to pay, a young mother with a small child in her buggy dropped a few things. This young man not only picked up her things and handed them to her, he thanked her for doing it.

On the drive back I asked him questions about how long he had worked for Lon, where he was from, just generic questions. It was immediately obvious how much pride he took in working there. He knew how important representing that company was because he wasn’t going to let Lon or his brand down. 

 Lon Lane and son, Stewart, research and development chef

Lon Lane and son, Stewart, research and development chef

Lon’s signature was on everything, all the way down to how his staff treated people at the local grocery store. Not for a second do I think Lon trained this young man to treat people like he did. He found employment with Lon because of how he treats people, it’s his brand.

Sticking to your core business values no matter what is your brand. If a bride insists on something your catering company doesn’t want to do, don’t bend if it isn’t in your best interests.  Stick to your guns, we all live in a world where news travels faster than it ever has and with the Yelps and Facebook’s of the world it makes it a lot easier to spread something negative than something positive.

Clint Elkins, VP of Sales - SB Value

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