This series brings to you the most thought-provoking excerpts from my chat sessions with visionary personalities, as recorded for the Slingshot Living radio show. The conversations reveal valuable wisdom, playful anecdotes and useful advice on how to continuously overstep perceived boundaries for success in your business and your personal life.
This segment features an excerpt from my inspirational chat with Chip Conley, best-selling author and Joie de Vivre founder.
Gabor: Good companies and leaders create infatuations. They get so close to their customers as well as their employees that there is a very strong emotional connection. Is this something you consciously create at Joie de Vivre?
Chip: Yes. One of the things we did in the early days—24 years ago when I started the company—is we used magazine publishing as an organizing principle for how we created the concepts of each of our hotels. We’ve created over 50 boutique hotels over the last quarter of a century and each one has their own name and personality. The reason we used magazines is because magazines are very niche-oriented and lifestyle-oriented—just like a great boutique hotel. So the first hotel—which was sort or a rock-n-roll hotel—was based upon Rolling Stone magazine and we came up with five adjectives that define Rolling Stone which were funky, irreverent, adventurous, cool and young-at-heart and everything we did from the decor of the hotel to the style and services to the kind of staff we hired came back to those five adjectives. But the magic actually what we found with time was that the people who fell in love with the hotel and would go out and become our evangelists and tell the world about us were people who would use those five adjectives to describe themselves. So it’s almost like the product—the hotel—was a mirror for the customer or their aspirations for how they saw themselves. And I call this identity refreshment. That we’re not just in the business of giving people a room to stay in overnight that we are actually creating an identity refreshment where guests when they check-in to that hotel and think of themselves as funky and irreverent—and that’s a small fraction of the population, but for that small fraction—those people when they check out three days later feeling even more funky and irreverent had more than just a lodging experience they had an identity refreshment. And that’s part of the reason why we are a USD 250m a year company and we spend less than USD 50k total a year on traditional advertising.
I invite you to listen to the entire chat with Chip, and my co-host Jesse Dylan, here.