What does it mean to be a beloved brand, and why is it important? What is it that makes some brands almost iconic in your eyes and earns your undivided loyalty?For quite some time I’ve been thinking about this question and working with my management team, and our franchisees, at Edible Arrangements to define what makes some brands beloved, and determine how we can help make Edible Arrangements obtain this lofty status.

To me, a beloved brand is not simply a brand you love. It’s much more than that. It’s an experience you want to have over and over again because of how special that brand makes you feel. It’s the little extra things that brand does every single time you visit their store or make a purchase. You leave feeling ‘I am special’ and at that moment in time you are convinced you are the only person that matters to that brand. The service you get screams that they want you, they need you and cannot survive without you. That to me is what makes a brand beloved.

One of my favorite brands, and one I always use as an example, is Nordstrom’s. Nordstrom’s is renowned for their service, and has become a beloved brand by many, especially by me. Why? No matter when I go, I am always inspired by what they say and their attention to detail. I’m always greeted by my first name, they always know what I like and what looks best on me, they always make suggestions and they are not just after my money. Anthony, if you read this, you are the best my friend! No matter what I always feel amazing when I leave. I always feel better than when I came in. They have my loyalty –they earned and deserved my loyalty.

That is the kind of experience our franchisees are trying to create at Edible Arrangements. We want our customers to feel amazing when they leave, to feel special and appreciated. How? By always going above and beyond and focusing on the little things, one customer at a time. Things such as always offering a customer a sampling of our dipped fruit when they walk into a store; greeting customers by name; truly listening to customers and making suggestions based on that conversation; ensuring all deliveries are made with a smile; carrying an arrangement to a customer’s car when needed; and simply sharing in someone’s joy. Those are just a few ways Edible Arrangements is striving to earn your loyalty.

A great example of two Edible Arrangements franchisees who are inspiring their customers and making them feel special is Lisa Odai and Retha Parsley, multi-unit owners in the Atlanta, Georgia and Indianapolis, Indiana area respectively. Lisa, who opened one of Edible Arrangements first stores in the nation in Atlanta, GA in 2002, and will be opening her third store in Atlanta (her other store is in Decatur) by the end of the year, and Retha, who opened her first store in Fishers, IN in 2006 and two more stores in Indianapolis shortly thereafter, understands people and service. What has made them so successful is their devotion and passion for their customers, and the shared experiences and memories they create every day between Edible Arrangements and their customers. We are so proud of them, and hundreds of other Edible Arrangements franchisees, who work hard to make our customers feel special.

Edible Arrangements franchisee Retha Parsley helps customer Adrienne Harlow

Are we there yet –is Edible Arrangements a beloved brand? No –not yet! I wish it was as simple as snapping your fingers or flipping a switch to make a brand a beloved brand. But I can tell you that is our ultimate goal, as it should be for all of you who work for or own a company, and I feel we are moving in the right direction. At Edible Arrangements we will continue to innovate and refine to earn our customers’ business, to earn their loyalty, and we will only be able to do that by always going above and beyond and making customers feel special, wanted, needed, and showing that our survival depends on them. It does!

Is there a brand you find beloved? If so, I would love to hear what that brand is and what makes them beloved. The more we share our stories that more we can learn on making our employers, or if you are a business owner, your company, a beloved brand. It’s all about earning customers’ loyalty, a loyalty that will last for years and one customers feel comfortable sharing with dozens of their friends, as that is the ultimate testament of someone’s loyalty

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