It’s the Not-So-Important Things that Matter Most

It’s no secret that I am a big fan of Simple bank. Earlier this year I shared my own story as the recipient of outstanding customer service and the magic that happens when brands give their people permission to be awesome. As it turns out, it wasn’t the only one. In fact, nearly 600 other people received handwritten notes…from their bank. And 499 people received day-brightening gifs…from their bank.

You might be thinking, “Yeah, but my brand isn’t a scrappy, schema-smashing startup rocking the boat of a traditionally blah industry.” In response, I pose a very simple question: Why not?

Last year Simple saw 480% customer growth. Would YOU like to experience 480% customer growth? I’m certain I know the answer to that question. As I see it, that kind of growth tells us two things:

1) Simple is doing something different and better. They’re dangling a carrot unique enough to entice people to leave the comfort of the banks they’ve known in exchange for a gif-sending, handwritten note-writing, consumer-focused, love-filled, oh-yeah-we’re-also-a-great-bank experience.

2) Simple is doing something that is getting people talking and sharing about their brand. Most people don’t bank shop for fun on the weekends. People are learning about this new and different bank because the people they know are sharing their stories as customers of a remarkable brand.

Whether or not you’re ready to open your mind to the powerful potential of doing things differently, I think we can all still learn a thing or two from Simple.

I received Simple’s annual report in my email just after the first of the year. While it was no surprise to discover that they even annual report in a different (and better!) way, it was still a delight to click through it. And it raises some important questions we should all be asking ourselves as marketers and brand leaders.


Amongst the traditional numbers and data you’d expect to find in a bank’s annual report, Simple nestled in some extra nuggets. And while they refer to these nuggets as the “not-so-important” numbers, I’m inclined to wonder if these might be the most important numbers of all. These are the numbers which, rather than telling us what the brand  does, tell us who the brand is at the core. These are the numbers that make their customers feel like they’re part of the brand story. These are the numbers that inspire people to want to be a part of that thing they have going on.

simple gifs


Is fun an important part of your brand culture and an essential part of your connection with your customers? Are you encouraging your people to surprise and delight?

simple notes


Are you taking time to really connect with your customers? Are you giving your people permission to be themselves, create a moment and be awesome? Are you treating people like a transaction or like a valued part of your circle of friends?


Are you listening to your customers? Are you taking note of the things they say and share? Are you paying attention to the things they love and the things they struggle with? Are you just reacting or are you really paying attention and making them feel heard?

simple people 


Are you taking time to celebrate who you are as a team? Are you letting that celebration carry on beyond your office walls by sharing the story of you with the outside world?


Are you taking time out for you? Are you rewarding your people? Are you supporting the kinds of things that create an internal culture of happiness and a team of passionate people who want to share the remarkable with every one of your customers?

simple people


Do you foster a sincere attitude of gratitude that touches each person on your team? Do you conduct business in a way that leaves everyone smiling in your brand family photo at the end of the day…or year?

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