It is often said that prevention is the best cure. But if you are in the prevention business, it can be a pretty thankless task.
Every day, millions of productive hours are devoted to stopping bad things from happening – and most of us are completely oblivious.
Few people think to thank their taxi driver when they are not late for a flight; their accountant when they do not receive a large tax bill; or their digital agency when their website is not hacked.
You can move mountains for your clients, but if they are unaware just how hard mountains are to move, then you will probably not receive a handwritten thank you note for your efforts.
One way businesses can mitigate against this is to give their customers a glimpse behind the scenes so they can see just how much work goes into the service they deliver.
Shining a light on previously hidden processes can also help differentiate a business from its competitors.
This is why restaurants often display the origin of the ingredients they use, and how they were sourced.
It creates a story for their customers to share, and helps justify a higher price.
And it turns out that many customers like to know how things work.
Understanding the logistical genius that enables a parcel firm to fulfil an overnight delivery can make customers feel happy to pay a premium.
Though, as the comedian Louis CK recalled, during an talkshow appearance a few years ago, this feeling may not last very long, and new brand stories will always be needed.
“I was on an airplane and there was high-speed internet on the airplane. That’s the newest thing that I know exists. And I’m sitting on the plane and they go, open up your laptop, you can go on the internet.
“And it’s fast, and I’m watching YouTube clips. It’s amazing. I’m on an airplane! And then it breaks down. And they apologise, the internet’s not working. And the guy next to me goes, ‘This is bull.’
“I mean, how quickly does the world owe him something that he knew existed only 10 seconds ago?”
By Guy Cookson, Partner at Hotfoot Design