The December “Plus 1” Challenge

Every day from now until Christmas, post a genuine compliment to one large brand’s and one small brand’s Google+, Twitter, or Facebook page.

The Plus 1 Challenge

Take the “Plus 1” Challenge!

I’m a small business owner and a lover of small business and entrepreneurship. But I am not a fan of envy-driven activism or divisive campaigning. I’m weary of marketing that presents our buying choices as false dichotomies for the sake of sensationalizing purchases I make for myself and my family. If I choose to buy a product at a small shop or at a giant chain discount store, that’s my choice. And if my choice is a chain store on Monday, that doesn’t mean I won’t shop at the small shop on Thursday… unless I believe I’m being insulted or guilted for making my own buying decisions.

My purchase of a replacement ink cartridge, or a candle, or a picture frame at a big shop is not “buying a vacation home for a rich CEO.” It is meeting my needs as a consumer. A business is not automatically good or worthy of support because it is small, nor is it automatically evil or profiteering because it is part of a large corporation.

Large or small, it is the brand’s job to deliver an outstanding experience to me. It is their job to establish the context they’d like me to use in judging their performance. If they don’t want to be judged on price like a discount chain, fine. Tell me how you want to be evaluated, but you don’t have to malign another brand or entire sector of businesses to do it. That is a cop out.

[su_pullquote]Every day from now until Christmas, I dare you to share a genuine compliment about a small brand AND a large brand that are delivering great experiences to you and your family.[/su_pullquote]Bigger businesses and brands are operated by people who also have families, piano lessons, church obligations, aging parents, and so on. They have bills to pay, they love their kids, and they want the same things we all want. Employees and managers and yes, even leaders and executives of large businesses do not automatically deserve to be mocked, derided, or blamed for the ills of society because a few CEOs, bank presidents or board chairmen get in the news for bad decisions or despicable behavior. Those kinds of stories make headlines, of course, but there are plenty of examples of bad eggs in all kinds of businesses. Fortunately, there are also plenty of great examples of good, solid human beings making good decisions every day, in businesses small and large.

So here’s the challenge.

Every day from now until Christmas, I dare you to share a genuine compliment about a small brand AND a large brand that are delivering great experiences to you and your family. Even if they have been mocked in the news. Even if your political preferences don’t align with that organization’s leadership. Even if they have dropped the ball before but did something right for you this year.

I dare you to give them a “plus one” public pat on the back. You know you benefit from the work they do. You use their products and services in your home, office, church, car, or clubhouse all the time. You like their sandwiches. You drive their cars. You use their bank cards. You buy their gasoline.

I love being a small businessman and an entrepreneur. I love a thriving business environment at all levels and magnitudes, from the at-home start up to the giant corporation. And I want them all to be even more successful.