As Random Acts of Kindness week was earlier this month, it got me thinking: is this culture of kindness something that could cross over to how brands behave?
Are they already doing business by doing good? Social media makes it possible for brands to do ‘random’ nice things for customers (or fans or followers).
Is this self-serving? Or is it genuinely the start of something great?
How it started
In 2010, Interflora launched a Twitter campaign to cheer people up who were having a bad day, by sending them a surprise bunch of flowers.
Then airline KLM started surprising customers at check-in with personalised gifts back in 2011 (something it still does today).
The brand uses Twitter and Foursquare to find people who are flying with KLM, and checks their social profiles to get an idea about what they might like. A great example was a passenger going on a hiking trip to Rome who was given a watch that tracked walking speed and distance covered.
The soft drinks giant has promoted ‘happiness’ as a brand value for a few years, and is finding creative ways to associate the brand with happiness.
In 2011, as part of a Happiness is Home Project, the brand selected several overseas Filipino workers who hadn’t been home for years, and gave them a free trip home for Christmas.
Of course, this was part of a marketing campaign: those selected were picked up by branded vans, filmed on their journeys and during the emotional reunion, and finally pictured enjoying a large welcome home family meal, with (naturally) bottles of Coke being poured for all.
This makes it less of a ‘random’ act of kindness, as the planning must have been phenomenal, but it’s still a lovely idea.
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