In life, random acts of kindness go a long way. Dedicating your time or money with no real incentive but that warm fuzzy feeling inside can portray your character better than anything else, and being on the receiving end of a random act of kindness can be empowering, emotional and humbling at the same time.
What is a random act of kindness?
Have you ever been unexpectedly helped by a stranger to carry your bags to the car? Or perhaps you’ve randomly received some flowers through the post when you were upset or ill? That’s a random act of kindness. This is a principle adopted by the business world in recent years, much like the example above from Interflora. It’s clear to see that when translated to business, how this can be a powerful tactic for brands.
The Huffington Post reports random acts of kindness as essential to our wellbeing, which many brands are keen to align with:
“They liberate us from self-obsession, selfishness, and isolation; they are the effect of an open and loving nature. True generosity is giving without expectation, with no need to be repaid in any form. This is the most powerful act of generosity, as it is unconditional, unattached, and free to land wherever it will. Whether we give to our family, friends, or to strangers, it is the same.”
What’s the motive?
Personal acts of kindness are without motive or expectation. For businesses, although random acts of kindness often have a secondary motive, they shouldn’t be overt about it. But they can have a message. A benefit beyond that of selflessness. They can increase brand awareness, business perceptions and promote good publicity. The difficulty for brands can be in trying to stay true to the real meaning of kindness as being much more altruistic than self-centred. If something is given away for free, generally businesses would want to expect some kind of return, yet random acts of kindness plays more towards brand values than immediate return on investment.
Interflora set out to generate word of mouth over social media that reinforced their brand values of exceeding expectations and delivering a personal service that instils happiness.
By identifying Twitter users having a bad day, Interflora offered to send out free flowers to cheer them up. Hundreds of people were shocked to be offered a free gift and the reactions were brilliant. This resulted in a reach of over 130,000 whilst their targeted approach to bloggers reached 615,000. Overall, Interflora received a huge amount of positive press and a total combined word of mouth reaching 1.75 million people! Not a bad return on investment, eh?
On the other hand, Starbucks put their own spin onto a random acts of kindness campaign. Smart marketing led them to launching the ‘tweet a coffee’ campaign which offered the consumer a chance to send a random act of kindness to their friend. Users could connect their Starbucks account to Twitter and mention a user who they wished to buy a coffee for. This gained Starbucks revenue of 180,000 dollars during the campaign, as well as all the good publicity!
By putting the infrastructure in place to allow others to perform random acts of kindness, Starbucks capitalised on others goodwill to turn a profit. While not strictly a random act of kindness on their part, they certainly made it easy for others to share a coffee (and earn some welcome profit too)! Very clever…
Using random acts of kindness in your business
With such a huge success detailed above, you’re probably wondering how you can utilise random acts of kindness for your business, and rightly so. First things first, it’s important to be customer-centric. Focus on the customer and not your own benefit – the good things such as press, reviews and overall coverage will form naturally if your offer is well thought out and specific to your audience. There is no point aimlessly giving something away – you must tailor your approach. Here are some tips for approaching random acts of kindness as a business tool:
- Know your audience
- Make your offering unique
- Be spontaneous in delivering it
- Focus on the audience and not your own benefits
- Be prepared to invest without guaranteed results
Random acts of kindness (or RAOK) for short, presents a massive opportunity for both personal and business growth. Taking the time out to help someone can not only improve your own well-being and promote happiness around you, but it can also reflect well on your business. It can help spread brand awareness, generate word of mouth advertising and cost effective, positive press! By being creative, you too can take advantage of this widely underestimated form of marketing.
How are we using random acts of kindness?
Don’t worry, we wouldn’t let you leave without showing some kindness ourselves! We do occasionally run random giveaways on our social media pages, so be sure to follow us on Twitter.
Although we can’t send all our readers flowers (although we’d love it if we could!), we’re happy to help your business flourish with a free 30 minute consultation for new customers. Take advantage and book your session now!