What did I learn by examining 5,000 business case studies?

“Black Goldfish” is the culmination of all my work over the last decade. A journey that has included 12 coauthors and 16 Goldfish books.

Here are 10 takeaways from the upcoming book on 2.22.22:

1. There is one word that comes from New Orleans that epitomizes the need to exceed customer expectations. That word is lagniappe. It is a Creole word meaning “the gift” or “to give more.” It is a signature personal touch by the business that creates differentiation and promotes word of mouth.

2. In business, price is what you pay. And price is only relevant to the value received. Value is what you get. Maintenance represents the business processes you are subjected to. The effort you need to make during an experience. The combination of value and maintenance nets out to be about a feeling.

3. An engaged workforce is key. Because value is created in the last two feet of a transaction—the space between the employee and the customer. 

4. Not all of your customers and employees are created equal. Know your “vital few.”

5. Companies that have a strong, defined purpose find that it drives employee engagement, connects with customers, and fuels the bottom line. 

6. It’s easy to follow the crowd. It feels safe. But it’s not. Successful brands stick out. They are unusual. Don’t apologize for your flaws and don’t try to fix them. Instead, exploit your imperfections.

7. There is no black and white approach to leadership. There isn’t a clear-cut path to becoming a great leader. You have to use a variety of techniques to overcome challenges and get the most from five generations of employees.

8. Business is a game. And the key to winning in sales is managing relationships and minimizing pressure.

9. In the words of George Bernard Shaw, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Communication occurs when your audience can repeat your message in their language.

10. Your brand today is no longer what you tell people it is. It is the differentiated experience your employees deliver. It is what you stand for and how your customers feel. And most importantly, your brand is what your customers and employees tell others about their experience. All else is derivative of this and only this.

To quote Alecia Beth Moore (aka P!NK), “That’s all I know, that’s all I know so far.”

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Stan Phelps walks the walk. He stands out in the sea of sameness by modeling his own Differentiated Experience (DX) message: Differentiation isn’t just about what you say, it’s about what you do and, more importantly, how and why you do it. Stan leverages his unique collection of 5,000+ case studies on customer, employee, and brand experience to engage audiences with informative learning-based experiences. He believes purposeful DX wins the hearts of employees and customers, and differentiation ultimately boosts loyalty, retention, referrals, and results.

Find Stan’s in-person and virtual keynotes, workshops, and Goldfish tank programs at StanPhelps.com.