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Newsletter #852: The "Make Them Smile" 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.]

It’s more fun to talk about and support a company that makes you smile. No matter what industry you’re in or what you sell, you can do this. A few ideas you could try:

1. Celebrate your fanatics
2. Help them take out frustrations
3. Install a slide
4. Check it out: Cute and tiny animals

1. Celebrate your fanatics

The enthusiasm of your biggest fans can be contagious. It’s fun to be part of a group that’s passionate about something. Groupon is great at encouraging this loyalty. They once had a fan live off Groupons, they post photos fans submit of themselves using their coupons, and they offer college scholarships for babies whose parents met while using a Groupon. Their latest is a hotline for Groupon addicts. When you call, you get a recording with cheesy music and a woman offering encouraging words (and all in Groupon’s classic humor and tone). It ends with, “You are perfect, don’t ever change.”

The lesson: Keep feeding your fans the goofy, funny, and entertaining stuff that gets them excited, smiling, and telling everyone about you.

Learn more: Groupon

2. Help them take out frustrations

If you know of things that frustrate your fans — related to your business or not — could you help them out and cheer them up? That’s what Adidas is doing with the punching bags they installed in train stations in Shanghai, China. Anyone who’s running late, missed a train, or just generally stressed can take out their frustration on what Adidas is calling the first advertisements in history that you can kick and punch. More than ads, they’re something commuters will seek out, talk about, and have fun with.

The lesson: Look for the low-hanging fruit of things that annoy, frustrate, and upset your customers — and do your part to make it more fun.

Learn more: PSFK

3. Install a slide

Get fans and customers smiling by adding fun, playful stuff to their shopping experience. It’s hard for anyone to stay upset on a swing, a hammock, or something like the “transfer accelerator” at the Netherlands’ Overvecht Subway Station. It’s a fancy name for a simple slide — something design firm HIK Ontwerpers installed to help travelers have a little fun and to avoid congestion on the nearby steps. More than just a silly feature, it’s part of a large-scale project to create moments of playfulness in the run-down neighborhood.

The lesson: Creating memorable, fun experiences for your customers doesn’t have to be complicated. Think about getting them smiling with the music you play, the layout of your store, or the way you answer your phone.

Learn more: Iconoculture

4. Check it out: Cute and tiny animals

Here’s something that’s hard not to smile at: hundreds of cute, tiny animals.

Check it out: Cute n Tiny

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