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Newsletter #1046: The “Hitting Close to Home” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

How well do you know your customers? Do you know what they cook in their kitchens? If they run a small business out of their homes? Do you know if they’re lonely? These three companies made it their business to get inside the homes of their customers, understand them more deeply, and find a way to help.

Here’s how they did it:

1. Help them advertise their business
2. Connect them with other people
3. Recreate their experience
4. Check it out: Winning Solitaire

1. Help them advertise their business

In rural Costa Rica, telecommunications company Claro is helping families generate income by painting signs onto satellite dishes for the products sold out of that customer’s home. Turns out that a lot of rural Costa Rican housewives do some kind of business out of their homes, and many of them also have satellite TV. So in place of Claro’s logo, they painted satellite dishes to advertise salons, tamales, ice cream, sewing services, and other businesses. That way, their customers’ products and services are more visible to neighbors and other people passing by.

The lesson: Who’s going to notice a company logo on a satellite dish? By giving up their ad space to their customers, Claro made a much more remarkable story.

Learn more: Springwise

2. Connect them with other people

Vodafone in Romania partnered with two widowed grandmothers to create a cooking show in which they invite hungry nearby students to their homes for lunch each Sunday on Facebook. They called the campaign “Sunday Grannies,” and it took off, earning the two grandmothers fame as cooking show stars. Even better, after Vodafone opened up the experiment to other seniors looking for some company, it tripled the adoption of social media for Romanians over 65, according to McCann.

The lesson: Vodafone saw the needs of two completely different customer demographics and found a way to help them help each other. That’s two audiences with built in networks of friends, peers, and colleagues to help spread the word even further.

Learn more: Creativity

3. Recreate their experience

Kraft recognizes that their customers aren’t working with fully stocked gourmet kitchens to get dinner on the table for their families — so their food testers aren’t either. Each of Kraft’s test kitchens have the stuff you’d find in the average family kitchen. To try out new recipes and products, their kitchens aren’t tricked out with the newest appliances or tools. Instead, they use small gas or electric stoves, microwaves at varying wattages, and household mixing bowls and utensils.

The lesson: It’s not always about surveys and focus groups. Even the biggest corporations look for unique ways to put themselves in their customers’ shoes.

Learn more: Ad Age

4. Check it out: Winning Solitaire

Everyone knows the best part of playing Solitaire is the graphic that plays when you win. Well, artist Mr. Doob created this Javascript effect to help us get to the good part.

Check it out: Winning Solitaire

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