I’m not a T-Mobile customer. In fact, I’ve been with AT&T Wireless for as long as I can remember. But, that is about to change and it isn’t due to poor service or an attempt to save money every month. It’s because of the company’s CEO, John Legere.
I’ve always noticed how active he was on social media, but I never had any personal interaction with him until a few weeks ago. I’m involved in a project that was soliciting T-Mobile to be the exclusive sponsor. I sent Legere a question in the form of a tweet, not expecting much. Within seconds I had a reply from him and a Direct Message conversation was initiated. I was impressed.
Not all CEOs operate on the same wavelength that Legere does, which is undoubtedly responsible for the company’s strong second quarter. Here are five lessons every entrepreneur can learn from Legere.
1. You have to eat, sleep and breathe your brand.
I can’t think of a time I’ve seen Legere wearing something that wasn’t branded with the T-Mobile logo or its magenta color. He loves the brand, believes in the brand and eats, sleeps and breathes T-Mobile.
While some of his actions can be controversial at times, his love for the brand is something that can’t be denied. T-Mobile has someone irreplaceable at its helm, responsible for taking the company to the top. If you take the same pride in your brand that Legere has for T-Mobile, you can’t lose.
2. Make yourself easily accessible.
Consumers aren’t going to connect with a politically correct robot CEO, and they surely aren’t going to follow them on social media. Legere has amassed quite the social following -- 2.8 million on Twitter, 43,000 on Facebook and 27,000 on Instagram.
He frequently responds to his following, as I experienced first-hand, and he isn’t afraid to engage in an occasional Twitter battle or drop an F-bomb. He doesn’t try to hide behind a corporate fabricated persona -- what you see is what you get. Consumers appreciate authenticity and T-Mobile benefits because of how its CEO presents himself.
3. Humble brags aren’t bad, if backed by facts.
Legere isn’t afraid to heckle T-Mobile’s rivals, most notably AT&T and Verizon, pointing out poor numbers, while praising his company when they crush goals and expectations. In a world where kids nowadays are under the impression that everyone deserves a participation trophy just for showing up, it’s refreshing to see someone that is ultra competitive and wants to win so bad.
Since Legere took on the CEO role in 2012, T-Mobile has doubled its customer base to 66 million. While it’s an incredible accomplishment, and one that I’m sure he is incredibly proud of, I am sure he is not satisfied and will continue to push the envelope until T-Mobile captures an even larger market share.
4. Humanize your brand to connect with consumers.
How many CEOs do you know that are highly engaged with their customers every Sunday afternoon? I’m willing to bet the number is very low. Legere hosts something he calls #SlowCookerSunday, where he prepares a new slow cooked meal every Sunday, engages with his social media followers and shares the recipe -- all via live Facebook video streaming.
It’s a concept so simple, yet brilliant at the same time. He’s in his kitchen, complete with a T-Mobile apron and connecting with T-Mobile’s customer base on a very personal level. Find a clever way to humanize your brand and watch how well you can connect with your customers -- in addition to attracting new ones.
5. Strive to make changes for your customers.
T-Mobile was the first U.S. wireless provider to ditch two-year contracts and reduce global roaming fees. This is something that Legere started three years ago and at the time T-Mobile was the only carrier offering a “no contract” cellular plan. Everyone else eventually rolled out the same option, but it was pioneered by Legere.
By offering something that would benefit their customers, T-Mobile was able to keep their current customers happy and also attract a large subscriber base away from the competition. Don’t be afraid to disrupt your industry -- bold changes that provide value will often be rewarded.