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What I Learned This Week: Good Deeds Plant Seeds

02/03/2014 12:53 EST | Updated 04/05/2014 05:59 EDT

I don't wanna sound all tree-huggy, but this week's lesson is a simple one of business that has more to do with green thumbs than it does with red ink or blue-chip stocks.

In a nutshell:

Good Deeds Plant Seeds

And now here's the story behind it.

A couple of weeks ago, I hustled eight people from assorted Just For Laughs sectors over to Toronto for an intense meeting with a major agency about their even more major client. Our eight were met by their eight, filling just about every seat at the agency's massive boardroom table.

On the table -- figuratively, not literally -- was a prolific, multi-year, multi-project transaction...a wide-reaching one that could easily top seven figures. This deal was a big one; not just for us, but also for them. Because of this, our pitch was a strange combination of ballsy bravura and delicately walking on eggshells.

After about an hour of discussing and describing the various properties available, we touched upon JFL42, our Toronto-based, tech-savvy event that appeals to a much younger and hipper demographic target than our Montreal behemoth. At that point, a woman, who had been silent since her initial, round-the-table intro, spoke up. She was one of the agency's key media strategists

"I want to talk about the social media of that event," she said.

Gulp! Social media, while important everywhere these days, is paramount at JFL42, because at its core is a community that we build via a web and mobile app. A complaint about it now, here, could scuttle the entire process.

"Sure," I said, hoping for the best. "How was it?"

Only a couple of seconds passed...but it seemed like an eternity until she said:

"It was incredible. I went to shows just about every night, to the point of complaining on Twitter that you guys were making me so tired that I was going to get into trouble by coming in late work!"

Phew! But as I said, I was hoping for the best...and it was yet to come. She continued:

"What was really impressive is what you did."

"What do you mean?"I asked. I had no idea where she was going with this.

"You guys actually wrote me a note, like in school, giving me permission to come in late! I showed it around to EVERYONE!"

Said note, a physical piece of letterhead "signed" by the event itself, came from Nam Nguyen, who oversaw our web strategy for the event, and more notably, from Sasha Minoli, who was responsible for our day-to-day social media and who actually wrote it. (That's a picture of it at the bottom.)

So here's the point -- Sasha could've simply replied via a Tweet. She could've amped it up with a Facebook post as well. For most companies, that would've been way more than enough. But instead, she chose to go the extra mile and have some fun with someone who was obviously a very loyal and committed customer.

The letter took her all of 90 seconds to write. A little seed planted.

But four months later, in the context of solidifying a reputation during magna-deal discussions, it had grown into a Sequoia tree.

As it stands, we have since moved ahead nicely with the agency and the client. And while I won't know where the deal will ultimately end up for a few weeks, I have a feeling that Sasha's good deed will have played an important role in getting us to a solid "Yes." I shudder to think what could've happened had it been handled in a less impressive manner.

What this all goes to show you is that "Ya never know." Ya never know who you're dealing with, and Ya never know what it all can mean to you in the future. (Which is why, whenever I come across someone who says, "I met you before," I immediately ask "Was I polite?")

Think about Sasha's letter next time you're faced with the option of doing nothing, doing something...or doing something great.

Ya never know...your good deed can plant the seed of life.

Or death!

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