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Is Your Company Asleep in a Cave?

I recently returned from a ten day travelling and trekking trip in the mountains and deserts of Morocco.  After one particularly challenging trek up a steep gorge on the edge of the Sahara desert, we encountered a nomadic family who welcomed us into their encampment.  They invited us into their black muslin tent that was stretched over some rock outcroppings for sweet mint tea.  We ate a traditional dinner of chicken tagine in their camp and spent much time conversing with the elder of the family about nomadic life.

Later that night, I wandered into a cave that had been used to cook dinner and was immediately engulfed into a passionate discussion with the guide and the nomads as to what Morocco needed to do to rise above the status of a third world country. The prescriptions differed wildly, but consistently reflected the pride and passion for Morocco by two types of citizens who come from completely different ways of life.

Ultimately, I feel asleep in another cave covered in Moroccan carpets and lit by candles that were tucked into small crevices in the cave wall.

It was clearly the highlight of my trip because it gave me an immersive involvement with an indigenous way of life that I was able to experience in a very personal way.  For me, the experience satisfied a personal need to forge a deeper connection to native cultures around the world.

The company that guided the trip – Intrepid Travel – has earned my business for life, as they have consistently given me the same immersive indigenous experience during my other trips with them to Borneo and Tibet.

Intrepid Travel genuinely

  • knows their audience,
  • understands what they truly need, and
  • consistently gives it to them.

While one typically books specific trips, that is not what Intrepid sells. What they sell are “real life experiences – transcendent moments when you know you’re really alive and part of something amazing”.  It’s a value proposition that appeals very specifically to me as well as hundreds of thousands of other travellers from all demographic groups.

It’s not for everybody.  But then again, companies that truly understand their core value proposition are never for everybody – but they inspire their core, and secure intense loyalty from their customers.  No wonder Intrepid Travel has grown into a $400 million company in the last twenty years since they were founded.

Does your company truly know your audience, and have an intimate understanding of how your product delivers that very personal benefit that often transcends the product itself?  Intense customer loyalty is a gift in a recession, and this holiday season, it could be the best gift you give to your company.

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