I had no intention of going to Adam Purcell’s session at Podcamp. None. I didn’t know Adam (@PurcelliRaptor). I didn’t pay attention to what his talk was going to be about. I didn’t read his bio. Nothing. However, I went. Several friends were going to it and I decided to tag along. Adam’s session was titled, “Caring Counts: There’s No Crying In Social Media”. Honestly, I didn’t like the title. Mostly because I didn’t take the time to read the rest of the description and I thought it was going to be a session about how many whiny people there are on Twitter. I was, to put it mildly, wrong.

The session was actually focused on a campaign that Adam helped launch through the social media accounts associated with The Red Stag. The campaign was called #CaringCounts and it was about creating an atmosphere of caring within an industry that has often failed to understand the importance of true service; hospitality. Now you would imagine that an industry called “hospitality” would have a rough idea what service is all about however that’s often not the case. In the case of The Red Stag, I’ve never had a bad experience. They hosted the party for us the night before our wedding, six years ago, and it was good, bordering on great. But since then, Adam has worked hard at making sure that no experience borders on great unless it’s bordering between great and unbelievably amazing. How?
Well, the first thing that he did was talk to his staff about the idea of “above and beyond”. In his HILARIOUS talk, he says that the day after that talk he realized that his staff didn’t quite get what he was talking about. “You mean, be REALLY nice to customers? You mean, serve REALLY cold beer?” Adam’s response could best be summarized by Chris Rock; People always want credit for sh!t they’re SUPPOSED to do. You’re SUPPOSED to be really nice to customers. You’re SUPPOSED to serve really cold beer. No, what Adam was talking about was something he learned from marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk in his book, The Thank You Economy. What if you used social media, and your business as a whole, to thank people. What if instead of expecting big tips, you created overwhelmingly positive experiences? What would social media look like if, instead of selling, you gave? The answer is #CaringCounts.

Some of the examples that Adam gave were unbelievable. From dropping off chocolate milk to a follower to giving job interviews to people in need. From toques to Flames fans to accessible vans for those in need. The inspiration became contagious to a point where Adam’s staff began outdoing each other in the most over the top displays of “hospitality”. But Adam’s message isn’t just “be nicer than usual”. It’s also about delving deep into your interactions. If you want to impress a potential client or potential employer, so much of what you need to know is right in front of you. Everyone’s social media feed is full of the details that make interactions intensely personal. People put themselves out there, I think, with the hope that people will reach out and connect with them in regards to the things that they love. So do it. Find out what music they like. Find out what films they like. Find out what they like to eat. And then use it. Maybe you want to use it to influence them, to gain some sort of advantage, financially or otherwise. But maybe you want to use it to make them happy. 

You see, Adam’s message, in the end, isn’t about bottom lines and sales receipts. It’s about experiences that are memorable. It’s about a Macho Man Randy Savage toy at a conference. It’s about a bottle of champagne in a hotel room. It’s about cupcakes on your birthday. It’s about personalized notes. The message, which I was really happy to hear, was that there IS crying in social media. Because people cry. And social media is about people. So when we have the opportunity to make those tears of joy, why not do that? It might turn into a financial windfall or it might just make you somebody’s hero. It’s win win people. And because I know Adam is reading this, and I know that he’s a big softie, I know this will hit him in the feelings. Your dad raised a hell of a man and I’m sure you’re doing the same.

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