Like the first bite of a fresh Georgia peach, sweetness is back by popular demand.
According to a recent article from the Harvard Business Review entitled, “The Decline of Snark and the Return of Sweetness,” the author writes that sweetness “expresses an openness to the world, a wish to be useful, an innocence and a goodness.” He goes on to claim that brands must ride this wave of cultural sweetness.
As PR professionals and counselors, we know this to be true. It is our job to ensure our clients and their brands leave their customers with nothing less than a sweet taste.
So how, you might ask, can PR professionals infuse sweetness into our campaigns and strategies? The ingredient is simple…add one cup S.U.G.A.R.
In a time when customers have heightened awareness of savvy marketers’ access to personal data — everything from their name and birthday to their most recent purchase and favorite nail polish color — it has become inherently harder to make a customer feel truly special.
A direct mail postcard with “Dear [INSERT CUSTOMER’S FIRST NAME HERE],” will no longer suffice. The need for personalized communications 2.0 is upon us. With the living-out-loud social platforms, there are ample opportunities to use customers’ personal data in a mutually beneficial way. Take last year’s Kotex Pinterest campaign as an example.
Whether it is a free concert for your biggest fans or a personal behind-the-scenes invitation to the unveiling of the latest product from your company, it is important to give your customers a unique and exclusive experience. It sets your brand apart from the rest and not only rewards your greatest customers for their loyalty, but also allows them to engage with your brand on an up-close and more personal level.
Corporate Social Responsibility (or CSR for short) has been on a steady rise for the past five decades. From printing companies developing environmentally-friendly practices to agribusinesses funding programs to feed the world, social responsibility has become nearly ingrained in modern companies’ DNA. In fact, entire companies like TOMS Shoes and Warby Parker are founded on a one-for-one philanthropic model. The expectation has been set; today customers are looking for genuine generosity beyond traditional CSR structures.
This may come in the form of a baker who donates his leftover bread loaves to the local shelter at the end of each day, or a software company donating a number of last year’s software packages to local non-profits. It’s generosity for the greater good and not necessarily the visible good.
The dictionary defines authenticity as “undisputed credibility,” a quality of “being believable or trustworthy.” It is important for a company to communicate consistently and openly, and with as much transparency as possible. Because when a customer believes in your brand and trusts it, they will be your unwavering champions.
Every company knows you can’t beat the cost of word-of-mouth marketing; the key is giving them something positive to talk about — to be remarkable. When you communicate in a way that makes someone feel something, be it an emotional moment or a burst of laughter, that person is more likely to pass that communication along to friends and peers, or at least tell them about it. Be different, be real, be remarkable.
When you create a Special and Unique experience for your customers, coupled with your Generosity and overall Authenticity as a brand, they will talk about you in Remarkable new ways.
So, remember next time your planning your communications to add one cup S.U.G.A.R. and keep it sweet.