You don’t trust me.
In fact, I don’t think you don’t trust anyone.
You’ve got my passport, my credit card, my home address – and yet you still don’t trust me.
Another day, another hotel room. And another clean shirt whose wrinkles and crumples rival those of a dinosaur’s scrotum. So we all know the trick: hang it up in the shower, and steam the creases out (the shirt, not the scrotum).
To do that, of course, you need a hanger.
And there’s the rub.
This hotel, like many others, clearly doesn’t trust me. If they did, they’d have supplied their wardrobe with hangers that I can actually use, as opposed to those infuriating ones that only work inside the wardrobe because all the ‘hook’ bits are permanently attached.
In case I steal them.
For the record, I’m not going to steal them. When I’m travelling I usually only just manage to get all my clothes in my suitcase, let alone some half-inched hangers as well. Anyway, I already have far too many hangers at home.
But even if I did steal them, I’d be nicking something that has a top value of, what, five quid? Stick it on the bill. Include it in the price. I don’t care. Because, within reason, a few extra quid on the bill isn’t a massive deal – but turning up at my client in a shirt that makes Yoda’s neck look like a baby’s bum really is.
Yes, I could probably get an iron from reception. Yes, I probably shouldn’t waste water simply steaming clothes. But that isn’t really the point. The point is that everywhere throughout the hotel room and its reception are those tedious little pop-up notes, telling me how much they ‘care’ about me, how ‘valued’ I am, and how ‘thinking about my every last wish’ is an integral part of their brand promise.
Brand is much like personality. What you say pales into insignificance when compared with what you actually do. Brand is not a load of mumbo-jumbo written down in a book that only the Visual Identity Nazis ever read. It is your behaviours and the way you treat people.
You can tell me all you like how ‘important’ I am to you. But if you won’t trust me with a 49p clothes hanger then, frankly, you don’t need to tell me.
Because I already know.
Nick Jefferson is a partner with advisory firm, Monticello LLP, and a curator of The Library of Progress.