Posted by: Jo Duxbury | 26 June 2009

Jellybeans and Tabasco

Your customers are potentially your best salespeople. If you want to get them talking positively about your brand, consider thoughtful, low-cost, high impact touches that will surprise and delight them.

Marshmallow fish in a 'treasure chest' at Joe FishPinelands in Cape Town is a sleepy suburb. People joke that if you move to Pinelands, you’ll never leave. It’s home to Old Mutual’s head office, schools named after colours, lots of families with 2.5 kids and a fair number of old age homes. It’s nice enough, but not the sort of place where you’d expect to be wowed by, well, anything.

Which is why Joe Fish is such a pleasant surprise. This little seafood restaurant on the edge of the suburb’s only notable shopping centre is not fancy, but it is a delight. Your chips arrive on your plate wrapped in a ‘newspaper’ cone – and when you ask for the bill, it’s delivered with marshmallow fish in a little tin ‘treasure’ chest. Quirky, memorable, fun – and the sort of thing you’d tell your friends about.

At Col’Cacchio pizzerias, customers get to take home miniature Tabasco bottles. Ideal, says now-loyal Col’Cacchio fan candieo via Twitter, who keeps hers on hand in case of ‘emergency oyster-eating’.

When you check your car in at the Long Beach Car Wash at the mall in Noordhoek, the staff record your cellphone number and hand you a voucher for a free coffee at Wimpy and a discount voucher for the mall’s Spur restaurant. When your car’s ready, they send you an SMS. How thoughtful! The cost to the car wash? Probably about 12c. The results? I’d guess high repeat business rates and customers who tell their friends about it.

In London in the mid 1990s, ordering stock images meant that the photolibraries would have to bike over the transparencies, which agencies would scan and return. One of the libraries used to send a small bag of sweets with each order. Guess who we bought images from most often? Yup, the photolibrary with the 10p jellybeans.

When you’re next considering how you can integrate online and social media with your traditional advertising and branding activity, take a step back and think about how you can add thoughtful little touches into your brand mix. Do it right and you’ll build amazing customer loyalty – and you might be surprised at the impact on your bottom line.

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