This post by Lewis Green on his Lead with Your Heart Blog really got me thinking: Putting People First is Good Business.
In the article, Lewis talks about how important it is to give, both in life and in business. He says: "Sharing ourselves and what we know is the best way to build a trusting relationship, and it doesn't hurt profits."
That's a philosophy I think most bloggers and others who dabble in social marketing believe in. We understand the importance of contributing to the community, and we enjoy the benefits (new friends, great information, business contacts) we reap as a result of that contribution. Well, I was interested to see that this 'Give and You Shall Receive' mentality is also working in advertising and business in general.
Check out this article from USA Today: Winning ads really work for consumers.
The article provides a review of winning advertising campaigns from the ad industry's annual competition, the Cannes Lions festival in France. Interestingly, the winning campaigns all shared a common theme. They offer a real, tangible benefit to the consumer, with absolutely no strings attached. From the article:
"Now some advertisers are trying to create ads that offer consumers something useful with the brand message — something they'll seek out — instead of trying to bombard them with ads they can't escape."This is a concept that certainly isn't new (although it kinda feels that way). Let's review a few of the winners as the best illustration of this concept.
Uniqlo's "Uniqlock": Japan's Uniqlo, a global retailer with a flagship store in New York, won the top award for new idea with a downloadable digital clock with video of dancers in Uniqlo clothes. It can be used as a PC screensaver or a mobile screen, or embedded in a Facebook page. The clock, which has sleep and alarm modes, has been downloaded by 32,000 people in 85 countries.
Reebok: The social-networking site goruneasy.com lets runners log their runs, chat, post pictures and find running routes in new cities.Axe: The men's personal care brand offers a mobile application on its Japanese website to put on phones sexy images, ring tones and an "alarm girl" who messages at times set by the user. The messages get racier with each use.
All of these winners understand that if they provide their customers with something that the customer finds valuable, they'll win, too. In these examples, the company had to go on a limb and invest in development of some pretty cool giveaways, on the simple hope that by bringing value to their customers, they'd benefit in the end. Their gamble is that they'd gain new customers and increase loyalty from existing customers. Clearly the gamble paid off.
This concept is something that all businesses can apply. Think about what you can offer to your customers and prospects that will be valuable to them. Make it good. Make the giveaway fun, and interactive if you can. The better it is, the more your customers (and prospects) will talk about you. Heck, they may even share it with their boss, or even better, with their spouse!