Rolling out the red carpet

There is a very real reason why I call myself the chief experience officer (CEO) at RedBalloon.

It is not because RedBalloon sells experiences. I call myself that because it stems from my belief that how people experience an organisation is an opportunity to either make or break a brand promise.

We have always liked to stand out at RedBalloon – which is why we have had so many versions of the website and also why we have chosen our workplace so carefully.

I recently received this overview from one of our visitors to RedBalloon House…. People arrive right into our organisation and they know – “that we are up to something”.

“I was pretty impressed. I walked into this converted church on Harris St with a red door and a red carpet and the first thing that I noticed was the open plan office and the group of people – no walls hiding people – IT here, help desk there – CEO sitting amongst it all. We walked up stair to the second floor – similar layout. I was struck by this element of vibrancy and youth…… We sat down in the kitchen – not a meeting room and I was told about the business; started by a woman six years ago now with 40 staff and a turnover of $20 million now – that’s pretty impressive – and the dog running around – I thought that was pretty cool. It was a totally different model to where I used to work – and I like that.”    Roland Persson.

I visit many clients, in many locations with varying office styles. The point is those who really allow you into their world are the ones that you warm too the most, because quite simply you get to know them.

After all, people love to see how other people “live” or work. Allowing people to experience your organisation can really help build amazing customer relationships. (And thanks to Roland for letting us know what he thought).


Meanwhile in Victoria…

I was just driving into the office and I heard on the radio news that the Salvation Army has asked people to stop donating “stuff” to those effected by the bushfire. They simply have too much.

You can hear that Australia has opened its collective storage spaces and had a massive spring clean – and anything half way decent has found itself on its way to Victoria.
We contacted our Victorian suppliers last week – some of which may have been effected with the fires. All are intact. We then contacted a much wider group to see what they wanted from us most in way of support. The over whelming response… “just keep sending us customers”.
In the last 10 days or so (and with the heat wave before that) business has slowed to a trickle for many businesses in Victoria – not just in the bushfire affected areas.
The best thing we can all do at the moment to help Victoria is to keep doing business – keep consuming, keep having coffees and keep doing activities. There might be smoke in the sky, and the scenery not so great – but it is all part of the experience.
The Red Cross continues to raise the much needed cash. But what we will do in addition is to keep delivering as much business to our 300 suppliers in Victoria that we can. Continuing to do business is a great way to help.


Naomi is the 2008 National Telstra Women’s Business Award winner for Innovation. Naomi was also a finalist for the Australian HR Awards and a finalist for the BRW Most Admired Business Owner Award in 2008. Also in 2008 RedBalloon achieved a 97% Hewitt employee engagement score.

One of Australia’s outstanding female entrepreneurs, Naomi regularly entertains as a professional speaker inspiring middle to high-level leaders on employer branding, engagement and reward and recognition. Naomi writes a blog and has written a book sharing the lessons from her first five years. click here .

To read more Naomi Simson blogs,



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