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Newsletter #794: The “Be a Hero” Issue

Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

You don’t have to wear spandex and a cape to be a hero (though I do). You can do it by going the extra mile, by being especially understanding, and by saving the day for a customer. How to do it:

1> When bad luck strikes
2> When you screw up
3> When they run out of beer
4> Check it out: The migration map

1> When bad luck strikes

When it’s not your fault — when there’s nothing you’re required to do — that’s when you’ve got the biggest opportunity to blow people’s minds. When volcanic ash grounded European flights, a few airlines handed out snacks and drinks — but British Airways put their passengers up in hotel rooms and gave them meal vouchers. In situations like this, it’s always the one brand that goes above and beyond that earns all the love.

The lesson: Heroic brands don’t care whose fault it is when things go wrong — they just step up and find a way to make things right.

Learn more: Ad Age

2> When you screw up

Even the best companies mess up once in a while. How you respond is what really matters. When Shrek-themed glasses from McDonald’s were found to have trace amounts of toxic paint, they offered to buy back the glasses from customers at above their original retail price. They didn’t blame the supplier, they didn’t argue that the toxicity levels were harmless, and they didn’t try to cover it up. They acted quickly and paid a premium to make sure nobody got hurt — they saved the day.

The lesson: No matter who you are or what industry you’re in, things will go wrong. So, how will you respond?

Learn more: Laura Ries

3> When they run out of beer

There are disasters, and then there’s your fridge failing during the World Cup and all of your beer getting warm. Dutch brewer Grolsch was ready to save the day — they set up a hotline and had loaner beer fridges available for any fan whose fridge broke down during the tournament. By preparing for the worst case scenario, Grolsch could quickly step in and help their fans avert a serious crisis.

The lesson: Being prepared makes it easier for you to do heroic things when your fans need you most.

Learn more: Springwise

4> Check it out: The migration map

More than 10 million Americans moved from one U.S. county to another in 2008 — and using this data from the IRS, Forbes’ interactive map offers an amazing look at how people are moving about the country.

Check it out: Forbes

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