The best social media campaigns in communities and social networks often arise out of Rituals (Christmas, Football Grand Finals) or Rites of Passage (Weddings, Births). Random Acts of Kindness taps into both, and as November 13th to 20th is World Kindness Week I expect to see social media campaigns based around Random Acts of Kindness, so thought I would highlight a few. Twelve actually.
Public Relations often meant running events, building relations, giving goody bags to key influencers e.g. Journalists and editors, lobby groups and so on. Public(s) relations today means managing relationships with the public who are now media companies themselves. Rather than deal with everyone ie. 1 billion people on Facebook, it’s usually easier to influence through tastemakers hence inviting bloggers on press junkets and Twitterati to launch parties. However random acts of kindness tends to ignore the influencer/klout list and create taste makers by working with Vox Pop. The man or woman on the street. Literally. Random Acts of Kindness make big brands feel personal in a way that only my cafe usually does. e.g. my barista knows how I like my coffee and feeds me a cookie even when he knows I’m on a diet. Bless.
I’m a bit cynical about this but companies are (maybe) finally acting as community members rather than external commercial clients. What do I mean by that? Random acts of kindness for no other reason than paying it forward. Oh and because clients now have a megaphone and can report it back to the community as brand goodwill. Excellent idea and really as far as telling Brand Stories concerned, winning hearts and minds easier than bought media. Everyone loves a goodwill story. Just don’t be too polished… it looks so fake.
That’s what’s really striking about the Panera Bread story — not that Suzanne Fortier went out of her way to do something nice for a sick grandmother, but that her simple gesture attracted such global attention and acclaim.
So by all means, encourage your people to embrace technology, get great at business analytics, and otherwise ramp up the efficiency of everything they do. But just make sure all their efficiency doesn’t come at the expense of their humanity. Small gestures can send big signals about who we are, what we care about, and why people should want to affiliate with us. It’s harder (and more important) to be kind than clever.
KLM are doing random thingies too
This would be called stalking if I did it…
Of course using social media to expose random acts of marketing kindness is not new: here’s a list
- Sweetgreen restaurant in Washington leaves gift cards in random places
- @EdgeShaveZone on Twitter send goodies to twits that complain randomly on twitter e.g. a guy that ran out of cereal. (mashable) They also did amusing trolling (sending messages to those that were “so irritated” such as funny ecards
- Biotherm beauty gave out beauty products to those tweeting about being tired.
- Interflora sent flowers to people having a bad day
- Random Breakfast van for Wheat Thins
- Xmas Eve gifts on luggage belt at Spanair
- I’m not convinced of the value of this one – bringing the sun to the Arctic by Tropicana
- Any restaurant or cafe that sings happy birthday when it’s your birthday. Facebook dobs you in BTW.
- ING Direct gave free pizzas for random orders at Crust Pizza pizzeria.
- Kleenex Israel gave out goody baskets to sick friends on facebook.
- Kotex Israel ditto for Pinterest users (BRW)
Do you know of any random acts of kindness from companies? Are you cynical or supportive? Do you think companys might make a rod for their own back if they do nice things?
DISCLAIMER: Qantas once met my flight with a big bag of licorice allsorts cos I sorta complained about the lack of sweeties in their Qantas Lounge. I was on a sugar high for weeks. Their fault.
HAT TIP: Thanks to Maryann Separovic who asked the question “Hi Guys, do you know of any local brands doing random acts of kindness like this example?” and link to Harvard Business Review, which made me go hunting. She is Girlbug on Tumblr and Twitter
What do you intend to do for World Kindness Week? Besides troll celebrities I mean…?