John Lewis Christmas adverts have become such a hit that the 2012 commercial had its own trailer on Channel 4 before it was first aired. Wow – an advert for an advert – that's something!
I like the ad even though it's a bit schmaltzy. And its popularity highlights that, even in the hard-bitten 21st century when cynicism so often seems to rule, at heart we're a tender lot.
So, as well as reminding you to pop to John Lewis to stock up on Christmas gifts this year, the advert also reminds business leaders that people:
- Still connect at an emotional level despite living in a high-tech world
- Believe that going many extra miles is worth it, if you're doing so for something or someone that matters to you
- Want to feel they care for others – and that they are cared for
- Will buy into a little bit of magic
Strategic plans, budgets and targets may focus minds, but they don't win hearts and souls. If your communication focuses only on the 'hard stuff' of business, you'll never get the most from your people.
Making time to listen, getting to know what matters to them, engaging with them as human beings – not just human resources – will inspire them to go beyond the basics. It's genuine personal connection that will ensure they scale mountains and weather the storms for you.
And you never know, they might bring you a pair of red gloves and a woolly scarf from John Lewis into the bargain!
What do you think? Are the John Lewis ads just overly-sentimental? Or do they actually connect with most of us on some emotional level – even if we don't like to admit it?! Leave us a comment below or tweet us @CommsMasters.