We live in a world where entire groups of people are suddenly classified, by some, as the enemy, or personas non grata, but if we can get over political classifications we realize that everyone is our customer at some level. The real question is, will they buy our goods and services?
For brand builders there is only one way to look at others, regardless of race, religion, or national origin, and that is as prospects. Everyone is a potential customer. If not for your products, for your customer’s products, if not for their products, for your customer’s customer’s products and so on. In other words, we are all economically interdependent. Marginalizing groups of potential customers is just, well, bad business.
This holiday season let’s recommit to an age old refrain, “Good Will to All!” Only this time let’s put some economic teeth into it. After all, self-preservation and self-betterment seem to be at the top of everyone’s list. What better way to achieve those primary goals than to wish the same for others, especially when you depend upon them for your own?
Today, and for the foreseeable future, we are in a period of great instability and political upheaval in various parts of the world. Families seeking that same self-preservation and betterment that you and I are seeking are coming here for survival and opportunity. They will get jobs, buy products and services, and add to our economy – which will enrich us all! Our duty is not to marginalize them, but to welcome them as new tax payers, new customers and new contributors to our very standard of living. Where will the next great innovator come from? Will the next Steve Jobs be the son of Syrian immigrants?
Most of us are the sons and daughters of immigrants. In fact, the vast majority of Americans is made up of immigrants. This resulting melting pot has produced the greatest economy of all time. So it’s obviously working. Immigration is the engine that drives ingenuity, employment, and a higher standard of living for everyone. Why stop now for fear of the very elements these immigrants are running away from. They not only disapprove of those elements, they are voting with their feet. Let’s welcome these new employees, customers, and innovators!
When we think about it, many of the refugees seeking immigration are doing so because of our own spending patterns. Consider the consequences of the concentrated wealth we created in undemocratic regimes every time we filled up at the pump. And now we have a national interest in those countries to protect our fuel supplies. And then we arm the regimes that promise stability by whatever means. Don’t we have an obligation to at least receive the victims of our own spending patterns?
We think we do. We also think they will be a big benefit to us in the long run. So let’s not look at them and other marginalized groups as strangers. Let’s reject rhetoric based on fear and at least think about our own businesses which can only improve with more customers!
Let the spirit of truly enlightened self-interest, which welcomes new immigrant customers, prevail this holiday season and throughout the year!
Happy Holidays Everybody!
Who Are We.
Having built and sold a bestselling national brand, we appreciate the value of brands and everything it takes to make them successful. Companies are valued by their brand equity. Achieving and maximizing brand equity requires tremendous respect for all your customers, from your wholesaler to your end user.
Starting in our laundry room with no money and no knowledge of the industry, we built the famous Barefoot Wine brand. We learned a lot they don’t teach in school and much of it the hard way. Although our success was in consumer products, our real world experience will be helpful to anyone looking for information and advice about brands.
We have written the New York Times Bestselling Business Book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand, which chronicles the history of the famous brand from its inception through its acquisition. Our book is now required reading in schools of entrepreneurship across the country. We hope this book will provide inspiration and encouragement for all those contemplating starting a brand or wanting to improve their existing brand.
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey
-Barefoot Wine Founders