So what possesses a company in the digital age to start writing to its customers the old way – by hand? Nostalgia for the written word? Pixelitus? Insanity? Let me try to explain.
Anyone who knows The Book of Everyone will know all our technical wizardry and creativity is focused on helping you create a more personal gift. The process is swift and hugely rewarding but it requires a little effort on your part.
Unfortunately, effort is not something today’s consumer embraces, making our job that bit harder. The meteoric rise of companies such as Amazon, where everything you need is a click away, have helped remove effort from every point in our lives.
We ask Alexa for today’s weather, we Uber our taxi, we swipe right for our next Tinder date. Today, there’s no need to do the grocery shopping, cook your dinner or even go to the office. You could live comfortably within the four walls of your home. But probably not happily.
These effort-saving innovations are wonderful until they remove the effort from human relations. Human relations are built on effort, from your first breath to your last, from the labour of birth to the caring for the sick or elderly. So when it comes gifts in the digital age, it’s not just the thought that counts. It’s also the effort you put in.
Twenty years ago, receiving a handwritten postcard was not uncommon. Today, it’s like a visit from the Queen. The idea that someone somewhere has chosen to put their mobile down, pick up a pen and write to you makes you pretty important to them. They then made the effort to hunt down a stamp and post that card.
In today’s increasingly effortless existence, this is positively Herculean. And being on the receiving end of that effort makes you feel unique and loved – two basic human necessities for happiness.
Practicing what we preach
So this year we decided to put in a little extra effort and thank our customers for their loyalty. Over the summer we hand-wrote over 2000 thank you postcards. It was a labour of love involving everyone in the company. There were plenty of grumbles at the sight of weekly quotas, and the return on investment was questioned more than once.
Nevertheless, for me there was something deeply satisfying about the process. I took delight in the rare sight of my own handwriting, the accidental smudges, crossing-outs and little human imperfections. I imagined the surprise and disbelief on the customer’s face when they received the card. I could see them holding it up to the light to check the ink was real and not printed. And I hoped the extra effort would rub off in some small way.
With all the daily challenges of building a successful company, it’s easy to lose perspective of your purpose. The Book of Everyone is about inspiring creativity and storytelling to help the world feel a little more human. It’s initiatives like this that keep our purpose very much alive.
Saying g’day to Australia and sharing even more Wise(ish) Words!
On another note, this year we learnt that wombat poo is cubic, Mark ‘Tubby’ Taylor is a cricketing legend and ‘budgie smugglers’ are a tight-fitting pair of male swimming shorts Yes, Australia now has its book and it’s a fair dinkum ripper of a gift! Check it out here.
As well as expanding into Australia, this year we’ve added 12 new books to our increasingly popular ‘Wise-ish Words’ range. You can now find incredibly helpful(ish) and customisable advice for New Parents, Graduates, long-suffering golfers, lovable grumps and just about everyone in between. If you’d like to get someone off to a flying start next year, check out Wise(ish) Words for 2019.
We are also very proud of our partnership with Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, one of the UK’s most cherished charities. The Book of Everyone donates £5 from every one of our new Wise(ish) Words for Dog Lovers or Wise(ish) Words for Cat Lovers books sold in the UK. Canine devotees and feline fans alike are sure to have a chuckle and feel a warm glow from the these books.
The end is not the end
The end of your book is no longer the end of your celebration. Customers, together with their friends and family can now upload free video messages to surprise the recipients of each book. It’s proving quite popular with 1000’s of videos uploaded to personalised video galleries each month.
It’s been a whirlwind of a year and aptly we bring it to a close with the brilliant 3-D skills of Diego Ghirado and his cheeky snowman. Here’s to a silent(ish) night and a very Happy Christmas to you all.
Finally, thank you to our amazing team here in Barcelona and to every customer who made the effort and gave someone one of our books.