Weekly Thoughts


Unicorn World

LEGEN-wait-for-it-DARY Wow

Years ago, we did a wonderful Ritz Carlton training that talked about the concept of “Legendary Wow Moments” in the customer experience.  After getting over our obligatory and somewhat immature Barney Stinson LEGEN-wait-for-it-DARY impressions out of the way, we found the concept to be great.  To summarize, Legendary Wow Moments are when Ritz “Ladies and Gentleman” are empowered to create experiences that surprise and delight customers.  The example given was of a child’s stuffy being left behind in a hotel room after a family vacation.  Before sending the stuffy back to the family, the staff took pictures of it doing various activities around the hotel (going to the spa, lounging by the pool, dining at the restaurant) and sent those pictures to the family so they could tell the child that their favorite stuffy just wanted a couple of extra days of vacation before going home.  Now that is a “wow” moment.  It engenders brand loyalty and is a story the family will tell others for years to come.  It’s a smart way to build relationships, and it’s organic—it is not something that can come down by decree.  When done properly, it’s very powerful. 

We recently had a “wow” experience.  Last year, we happened to be a judge for a local business plan competition, which had multiple divisions: K-8, High School, College, and Open.  Since we have young kids, we asked our then six-year-old if she wanted to participate in the competition.  She said yes, so we printed out the business plan template, went through the questions with her, and helped her put her responses into the template.  We refrained from providing any guidance so as to ensure that the application was a true reflection of her imagination.

Her idea was “Unicorn World”, a multi-location, unicorn-themed place that is a combination of a trampoline park, an arcade, and an amusement park (the pièce de résistance was a zipline between two huge sparkly unicorns).  There would be a pizza and ice cream restaurant and a sizeable gift shop.  There would be one race car-themed playroom for “little brothers”.  The stated value proposition was “because Disney World is really far away” and “if kids like it then moms will love it because they need something to do with their kids”.  Fair enough. 

Sadly, the judges were not dazzled by the prospect of a “glow-in-the-dark sparkle room,” and the Unicorn World application did not even make it to the second round of the business plan competition.  There was some disappointment, but alas, life goes on, and for the time being, that was the end of our Unicorn World adventure…. until, earlier this year, when we were traveling for work and happened to be served an ad for… Unicorn World!  As it turns out, this was already a real business that travels throughout the United States putting together unicorn-themed play areas and amusements.  We were so excited we immediately sent a somewhat haphazard email to their info@ email address to share the failed business plan backstory.  We were particularly thankful for the opportunity to show our daughter that her ideas are valid, and not to listen to naysayers who don’t immediately share her (unicorn-themed) vision. 

The story could have ended there. However, somewhat amazingly, the owners of Unicorn World wrote back, and, inspired by the story, asked our daughter to be CEO-for-a-day of Unicorn World at their Atlanta show.  They flew her down to Atlanta, staged Unicorn themed clothes and decor in her hotel room, organized a limo to pick her up from the hotel to take her to “work”, and curated an age-appropriate schedule and responsibilities for both the show and pre-show set-up day.  Absolutely incredible. 

The Unicorn World experience is the epitome of a legendary wow moment and a great inspiration to be generous in mind and spirit both personally and professionally.  The owners of Unicorn World didn’t even have to respond to our outreach email.  Instead, they curated an incredibly thoughtful, potentially life-changing experience for a seven-year-old child.  It’s a wonderful reminder that when an opportunity arises to create a “wow” moment, we want to be the type of ladies and gentlemen who take it without hesitation.

Have a great week,

Your Chenmark Team

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