Marketing And Brownouts

One of the first lessons I ever received when I started in the advertising business as an intern was the importance of setting expectations.

The notion of not promising something I, as a member of a much larger team, simply could not promise was–and still is–incredibly important.

It helps personnel set priorities throughout busy days. It provides for some semblance of control and order where there all too often simply is none. And it helps set the stage for perceptions of success.

Every now and again it’s nice to be on the receiving end of expectation-setting.

Last night the power transformer in the alley across the street blew up. Literally.

There was a booming sound. Smoke. And then the silence that accompanies a lack of any appliance motors, fans, etc.

What with the excessive heat advisory, the loss of air conditioning wasn’t good. Toss in the presentation deadline I was facing and the heavy study schedules Catherine needed to keep, and the loss of wifi didn’t make things any better.

When Catherine called Xcel Energy to inquire about repair timing, they told her we’d be without power until 6:00. THE FOLLOWING EVENING!

It wouldn’t have been right to complain about the situation, especially since there are always families who struggle through summer without A/C or other amenities. Just last week there was news coverage of those still suffering from the tornado that ripped through North Minneapolis this spring.

Here’s where that internship lesson came in to play: the power came back on around 4:00 THIS MORNING.

I have no idea whether the transformer fix was easier to do than originally anticipated. Or whether the repair crew had a whole new replacement that just happened to be stored in their truck.

But the fact remains that the transformer is working and we have electricity again. HOURS before we were told we’d get it back.

That makes me a happy Xcel customer.


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