During turbulent economic times, generosity is the keyword of branding, according to Trendwatching.com. Dubbed “Generation G” people nowadays are disgusted with greed, as that is what put us in this economical mess, and are embracing the “G” of generosity.
Businesses cannot afford to ignore this “G” trend in 2009. Of course, generosity has always been good for branding – you give to customers and they’ll be happy to tell their friends and family about you. Word-of-mouth marketing is key in any economy, but especially one in which marketing budgets are strapped.
Being generous doesn’t mean only giving stuff away; you just need to be kinder and more caring towards your customers. Here are 6 ways you can put the “G” in your branding this year.
1. Show you care about your customers.
Throwing in a small item at checkout or sending customers birthday cards with coupons in them (or even better: send them a “half-birthday card” 6 months before their birthday when they don’t expect it!) are great ways to increase customer loyalty.
Give to charities and good causes. If you don’t have the resources to do so, look for a partner to co-donate with. This is a great way to build business connections as well as to do something good for the community. Be sure to play up your co-donation or donation in your advertising materials where appropriate. Place a link to the charity on your Web site so customers know you’re affiliated with the charity.
3. Help the environment.
Going green is a great way to show how generous you are – to your customers and to the Earth. Instead of just limiting your damage to the Earth, think about how you can boost the environment. You could plant trees for every purchase of a certain product or buy carbon offsets, for example.
4. Give away stuff.
Remember, I said generosity doesn’t only mean giving stuff away. It’s still something that should be done if you’re trying to be a “generous” brand. The good news is that you don’t have to give away something uber expensive or top-of-the-line – just a token item will do because it’s the thought that counts.
A buy one, get one free sale could be just the ticket to show you care and that you know people are in a financial pinch. If Kia can give away a car for free, you can surely give away some inexpensive product, right?
5. Give your top, or returning, customers some perks.
Giving a selection of your best customers perks makes them feel special, and it also keeps them coming into your store. Offer simple things like reserved parking or special store hours – these perks don’t cost you much, but your customers will appreciate them. You can also offer something as simple as a newsletter or brochure coupon to those who will sign up for your mailing list.
6. Ease up on policies.
By improving your customer experience with extended return policies, you’ll give customers a feel-good emotion about your brand, even if they don’t take advantage of your generous return policy.
If you run a hotel, don’t charge an extra night for a late check-in. That policy isn’t set in stone. Policies that are in place to make an extra profit should be lifted during this recession period.
If you’re afraid of not being able to turn back once the economy has recovered, just claim these policies as “recession policies.” No one will argue with that!