12 Top Examples of B2B Purple Goldfish

Almost every time I give a keynote or workshop on the Purple Goldfish, I’m asked a variation of the following question,

“I’m in a B2B company, how can I use this as a strategy?”

I share that although B2B Purple Goldfish examples weren’t as common in the original research project, the concept is still as relevant. I usually ask, “Is it easier to do the little extra when you have one hundred customers or 10,000?”

I’ve scanned the 1,001 + purple goldfish we’ve collected and highlighted a dozen of noteworthy examples in this slideshare:


The first six fall into the Value Category. Value represents the what and where of customer experience:

#1. Throw-ins – little extras that are included with your product or service. They help you stand out in a “sea of sameness.”

Example: Cartridge World – shared by EJ Kritz, “To begin, we’re in the business of refilling and remanufacturing printer cartridges. We offer a free delivery service to our business customers during which time plenty of things can happen opening the door for added value. For example, if we’re delivering a cartridge for a laser printer but the businesses fax machine is on the fritz, it’s only natural and fitting that we’ll do anything we can to help get their fax back up and running. Similarly, many of our franchises keep a “toner vac” in their delivery vehicle. This vacuum is specially designed to handle the fine particles in toner. It’s a HUGE benefit to our customers (as silly and small as it sounds) to bring in the toner vac for a complimentary cleaning of their laser printer before we put in their new cartridge. This service is the printer equivalent of getting a free car wash each time you get a tank of gas… it doesn’t help your car run better but it sure does make you feel good. The last example is something almost universal regardless of which Cartridge World franchise you visit. It’s quite simple actually. Each and every business delivery comes complete with a Tootsie Pop. _You see, purchasing our product is all about saving money. However, typically the person saving the money (the business owner) is not the same person taking the delivery (the office manager). This little token makes everyone smile in the middle of a busy day! In fact, many of our owners could even tell you the favorite flavor of pop for each of their top customers. Simple, and yes, sweet.”

#2. In the Bag / Out of the Box – little unexpected things that are added as a surprise.

Example: Peter Millar – Free FedEx ground shipping with your order. Plus, according to article by Ron Green Jr. at the Charlotte ObserverThey remember the mints. When boxes of golf shirts and shorts and other high-end menswear are shipped from the Peter Millar office and warehouse, the packing list includes mints. When customers unpack their orders, they are struck by three things: The quality of what they’ve ordered; each item comes out of the box in the order it’s listed on the packing sheet; and, mints are included for the pleasure of it. It’s a little thing but this year when a few boxes arrived short of mints (they ran out briefly), phone calls started coming.

#3. Sampling  – give your customer an additional taste by offering a free “little extra” on the house.

Example: Conference Call Unlimited – Shared by Paul Chaney. The company went above and beyond by acknowledging my business by giving me a handcrafted chocolate bowl for the holidays. The next year they gave a donation to a school who was affected by Katrina in my name. One year during Thanksgiving the company gave everyone (customers and non customers) one hour of free conference call with up to 50 family members.”

#4. First & Last Impressions – you have two chances to make an impression. When your customer comes through the door and right before they walk out, hang up or log off. These “little extras” make you memorable and talkable.

Example: Image Brew – Lauren Sujkowski this story via Twitter: “Like that @ImageBrew stays on brand and gives clients their own beer.”

#5. Guarantees  – giving your customers that “little extra” pledge that you’ll stand behind your product or service.

Example: FedEx – FedEx has the purple promise. The Purple Promise is the heart of the FedEx can-do spirit. It honors and rewards our shared commitment to customers and to each other when team members deliver. It is a guarantee from every employee to make every FedEx experience outstanding.

#6. Pay it Forward – give a “little extra” back to the community.

Example: Insighting Ideas – Submitted by Wayne Cerullo of Insighting Ideas. We seek to support business that has a beneficial impact on society. Micro-finance of third-world entrepreneurs is an excellent way to do this. We have a policy of making a $100 donation to a micro-finance group for each project we complete in the name of our client. But rather than allocate the funds ourselves, we bring this point alive by involving the client in the process. We leave the choice of making the online selection which specific individual they want to equip up to them.”


The second group of six fall into the maintenance category. Maintenance represents the how and when of customer experience.

#7. Follow-up  – make the “little extra” follow up or say thanks to your customer.

Example: Wufoo –Taken from Gary Vaynerchuk’s book, “Thank You Economy.“ The online HTML form developer sends handwritten thank you notes, sometimes crafted out of construction paper and decorated with stickers.

#8. Added Service – the “little extra” that’s an added unexpected service.

Example: Disney – Taken from the blog of Chris Brogan. “Custom is everything. Look at these flowers. The Disney Imagineers made them for the Hanes event. They’re made out of socks. First, it’s cool because they look like flowers. Second, it looks like a fun craft you could do with kids. Third, it’s something that didn’t have to be there. And yet, because it was, the dinner looked custom to the rest of the Hanes Comfort Crew and me. Disney SAW us. They knew we were there.”

#9. Convenience – what “little extra” can you add to make things easier for your customers.

Example: Salute – Shared by Peter Hurley, “Had lunch today at Salute in New York City (270 Madison Ave). Nice upscale restaurant that caters to a business crowd. Upon sitting at the table I noticed a purple goldfish. Each table came with a tiny notepad similar to those you would get at a conference or hotel. It was for notes if needed during lunch. The small pad was branded with Salute’s marks and contact info. A nice little keepsake compliments of the restaurant.”

#10. Waiting – all customers hate to wait. If it’s inevitable, how can you do a “little extra” to make it more bearable.

Example: UPS offers a tracking app.

#11. Special Needs – acknowledging that some customers have needs that require special attention.

Example: SNY – Shared by Mark Weinstein, “While working with one of our signature partners this year, we went above and beyond to aid them in delivering their targeted, time sensitive brand message to our viewers. In order to deliver the specific dates and information to fans watching their favorite team on TV, we produced weekly billboards, that included a live read by our on-air talent, driving viewers to the clients designated website. Was this in their deal points or their contract? No. We provided this strictly as added value and as a good way to show our partner that we cared as much about their initiatives and goals as they did by using some of our most valuable inventory as bonus to aid in their cause. We went above and beyond.”

#12. Handling Mistakes – admitting that your wrong and doing the “little extra” above & beyond to make it more than right.

There were no examples from the Purple Goldfish Project thatwere technically B2B. Here’s one of my favorite B2C examples from the book, Customer Love.  Example: Nurse Next Door – When this Canadian home health care service provider stumbles . . . they deliver a fresh baked apple pie and a note apologizing for poor customer service. Each year they spend about $1,500 on pies, but they estimate it saves about $100,000 in business going elsewhere. That sounds like pretty strong ROI as 65% of customers that take their business elsewhere do so because of poor customer service.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) –  here’s the a video by Image Brew about their company and the little extra they do for clients at the end of an engagement.

EXTRA, EXTRA March Newsletter – The Mardi Gras Edition


Greetings on Fat Tuesday. That’s the literal translation of “Mardi Gras.” Today caps the celebrations in New Orleans, the final day of revelry before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.
At midnight tonight the bars close and the police will clear out the French Quarter. Another year of Mardi Gras will be in the books.
The colors in my trilogy are a direct reference to the official colors of Mardi Gras. The three colors were selected in 1892. Purple  stands for justice, Green for faith, and Gold for power.


Disney offers its best customers a little extra magic

On designated days, one of the Walt Disney World theme parks opens an hour early and two hours later. These times are called Disney’s extra magic hours. The added golden goldfish is for Disney Resort guests only.

Extra Magic Hours with Disney Characters
Extra Magic Hours with Disney Characters

Here’s a park guest interacting with Disney characters during an extra magic hour >>>

These resort guests are Disney’s best customers. They spend all their time on the property. Not only do they spend considerably more, but they stay longer and come back more often. The extra magic hours is just one of a handful of extra Disney benefits of staying on property:

  1. Skip the hassle of baggage claim! Resort Guests enjoy complimentary transportation for them and their bags between Orlando International Airport and the Disney Resort hotels, then back again at the end of their vacation.
  2. Stay close to the action. Resort guests can leverage complimentary transportation like monorails, ferryboats and motorcoaches.  As well as complimentary Theme Park parking for guests who are driving.
  3. Many shopping purchases can be delivered straight to the guests Disney Resort hotel so that you don’t miss a minute of fun!
  4. Guests have the option of having meals and snacks included with their vacation package.
  5. A variety of hotel options with extras. Hotels where you can splash down a pool slide to hotels where you can watch a movie under the stars…even hotels with Disney Character Dining.

TAKEAWAY: Disney says these little extras help guests stay close to the “heart of the magic.” How can you create special touches like Disney does? How are you making the experience memorable for your best customers? What’s Your Golden Goldfish?


I’ll be making stops this month in Atlanta, Chicago and San Diego.
March 6 – NC State / Alpha Kappa Psi (Raleigh)
March 9 / 10 – MENG Board Meeting (Chicago)
March 12 – FENG (Raleigh)
March 18 to 20 – Next Gen CX Conference (San Diego)
March 19 – MENG San Diego Keynote (La Jolla)
March 27 – TECNA CEO Retreat (Durham)
One event I’m looking forward to is Next Gen Customer Experience in San Diego. Launched in 2011, Next Gen brings together senior level customer experience executives across all industries to discuss the latest CX strategies across all channels and touch points. I’ll be moderating a panel on NPS on 3/20 at the event.

B2B Examples

Without exception, every time I speak about the Purple Goldfish I’m asked, “So – what if I work in B2B. How does it translate?”
The same principles apply. Here is a slideshare with some of the best B2B examples:


Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Here’s a fun recap of the Oscars. Straight from the Triangle, it’s from the same folks who brought you “My Christmas Jammies“:

Oscars with the Holderness Family - #dayaftervideo
Oscars with the Holderness Family – #dayaftervideo