Gracious Brands Win

My Gramma B used to always say, “Half with the head, half with the heart.” A nugget of advice intended for her five beloved grandsons about finding a partner—but I think it’s pretty sage advice for business too. Especially when it comes to gratitude.

Gratitude is not only smart business, but done right, it has the power to nourish everyone it touches, sending out ripples of possibility in all of our lives. It’s the foundation for sustainable relationships—which should be the ultimate goal when it comes to building great brands.

How often have you truly felt a sense of gratitude from a brand you’ve patronized?

Whether it’s an online purchase of a new shirt, a trip to the grocery store, or even the real estate agent who just made 6% commission by representing both sides in the transfer of a home. It doesn’t take much heart to set up an automated thank you email. It may be the rational thing to do, but does it really speak to gratitude?

The danger in this automated world we live in is that we drift further from human emotions and more toward managing analytics calculated to increase return business. What we really need is to get people to fall in love with us.

How do you express sincere gratitude?

In his book, explores the value of being a giver and expressing gratitude. One of the uncommon thoughts he leaves us with is: “By shifting ever so slightly in the giver direction, we might find our waking hours marked by greater success, richer meaning, and more lasting impact.” I love that.


Let’s all take a giant, heart-pounding leap toward giving. Then bask in the sizzling light of gratitude for our own lives and for those of the people around us!


People, whether investors, suppliers, employees, retail partners or consumers, all crave connections that feel truly human. Yes, they want the rational stuff, but they also want to feel good. Think about showing gratitude for the people willing to invest their money to fuel your journey. Or for the suppliers who truly make your offering better and bolder. What about all of those employees who have chosen to contribute their passion and skills to deliver on your vision every day? And don’t forget the consumers who make the choice again and again to spend their money on what you’re offering instead of with competitors who want to tempt them.

I recently read an article in Forbes by Erika Andersen titled, “How Feeling Grateful Can Make You More Successful.” Interestingly, as I read it online there was a prAna ad on the page. I bought a pair of shorts from prAna on a trip to Boulder, CO a while back. After some time, my wife suggested I not wear them out in public anymore because they looked worn. I guess I hadn’t noticed that the charcoal grey had faded in the sun to the color of a really bad smog day. A friend suggested that I reach out to prAna. I was skeptical but I emailed customer service and got a quick, personal reply back from Diane saying to please pick a new pair of shorts and they would replace them. They showed their gratitude for my wearing their product and I was grateful in return. 

No matter a brand’s size, businesses should treat their patrons like kings and queens. Take the time to know their customers by name, learn their shopping preferences and become more than a means of a product or service. Most important of all, they should let their customers know how grateful they are to have them. 

All of the people in your brand community deserve gratitude. As do you. That’s the stuff of sustainable success. That’s the stuff of the great journeys that actually lead somewhere. And in each case, Gramma B’s advice “Half with the head, half with the heart” is a pretty good guiding light. Sure, it’s smart to offer people a great product, exceptional service and built-in efficiencies. But don’t forget the heart. They won’t.

Oh, and yes, I am truly grateful to you for reading this article.

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