“I often say that if I had to choose between important general qualities and kindness, I believe I would choose kindness”
The 14th Dalai Lama
You could be forgiven for thinking it’s a big bad world out there – and of course in some respects it is, but encouraged by the wisdom of the Dalai Lama, I started to investigate the phenomenon that has become “Random Acts Of Kindness Week” (9th-15th Feb) and have to say, my faith in human nature has been restored…
I was more than a little heart-warmed by the sheer volume and variety of simple but effective acts of spontaneous thoughtfulness being played out day after day – and not just because someone has deemed we should only be kind on a particular week of the year.
So what exactly is a “random act of kindness”? (Or a #RAK as the twitterati would have it)
Wikipedia tells us:
“A random act of kindness is a selfless act performed by a person or people wishing either to assist or to cheer up an individual person or people”
Well we can all do with some cheer in the depths of winter and the great thing about RAK’s is they needn’t cost you anything (we’re talking generosity of spirit here) and one should expect nothing in return other than a smile – or maybe a hug ( so actually, on second thoughts, you’ll always get something in return).
On top of this, we have the delightful concept of “pay it forward” – you’re the beneficiary of a good deed, then you give something to someone else, rather than the original benefactor, so it becomes a continuum of good deeds – a “kindness chain” if you will.
So what have random acts of kindness got to do with marketing and how can they contribute to your brand?
Welcome to the wonderful world of “Generosity Marketing”…
Surprising your customers with a memorable experience when they’re least expecting it and leaving them feeling delighted and grateful can bring a whole new dimension to your marketing programme. Gratitude is a powerful and profitable emotion that often inspires recipients to not only pay it forward, but also to pay it back to the giving company, through advocacy and brand loyalty.
A quick google will give you scores of examples – here are some of my favourites, and if these don’t give you a warm fuzzy feeling about the brand and keep you coming back for more, then nothing will!
First up is Coca Cola – look how they decided to spread a little happiness
And what about the McDonalds recent Super Bowl promotion – who needs cash when you can pay with lovin’
And hats off to Airbnb for working to make the world a kinder, better connected place with the #OneLessStranger initiative – gifting 100,000 customers with $10 as part of a campaign in which it has been asking people to use the money in a “unique act of kindness”, with the aim of inspiring others to join in and ‘pay it forward’ and connect strangers.
Ultimately whether the benefit is on an individual level and instantaneous as with some of the examples above, or more wide reaching and longer term such as a charity partnership, incorporating kindness into your marketing strategy in a relevant and tangible way will bring its own rewards. Done well, it can create brand advocates, increase your customer loyalty, and enhance your team morale.
What’s not to like?
Here at Decide. we’ve recently been looking into best practice in Cause Related Marketing and how to add the “feel-good factor” to your brand for a win/win/win.
You can read more about it here
So pay someone a compliment, buy a stranger a coffee, purchase that product that contributes to a good cause…
Go on – make someone’s day.
Image If We All Do One Random Act of Kindness…, Flickr