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Newsletter #1004: The “Stuff You’re Not Using” 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.]

There’s a lot going on behind the scenes before you flick on the open sign and after your customers leave. With a little creativity and hospitality, a few companies have taken advantage of these opportunities to earn word of mouth, connect with their customers, and do something for the environment.

Here are three examples to inspire you:

1. Before the curtain opens
2. After the doors are closed
3. On the sidelines
4. Check it out: Listen to Wikipedia

1. Before the curtain opens

It can be hard to sustain excitement (and word of mouth) about an event from the time a customer buys the ticket to the day of the actual production. But people who bought tickets to The Joffrey Premier of Chris Wheeldon’s Swan Lake were given a link to watch live streams of the ballet company’s rehearsals on YouTube months before the performance. They also got access to interviews with the choreographer and artistic director.

The lesson: When people buy tickets to an event, you have a limited window for word of mouth to get them excited and talking to their friends about joining them. Give them more tools to share their excitement leading up to the event.

Learn more: Vertical Response

2. After the doors are closed

IKEA and Airbnb hosted a sleepover in an IKEA showroom in Sydney, Australia. Why this is a win-win: Both companies have something to prove, and the other can help them do it in a remarkable way. IKEA wants you to feel at home with their unique furniture, and Airbnb wants you to feel at home in someone else’s home. By using an IKEA store after-hours to accomplish both of those goals, they’re creating a unique partnership and word of mouth story.

The lesson: Let others help you make the most of what you have. In this example, IKEA had an empty store that Airbnb helped make remarkable with their booking systems.

Learn more: VentureBeat

3. On the sidelines

The Circuit of the Americas — host to races like F1 and Moto GP, the X Games, and other big events — is on 890 acres. That’s a lot of wide-open, unused space, even with millions of race fans or concert-goers in the stands. That’s why COTA is also home to five million bees. The 50 hives that live on-site are are often transplants from properties where they were unwanted, and sometimes small batches of their honey are given away to fans.

The lesson: With a startling decline in bees in recent years, this is not only a great use of the Circuit of the America’s space in between races, but also a great service to the environment.

Learn more: Texas Wine Lover

4. Check it out: Listen to Wikipedia

Millions of people make updates to Wikipedia, broadening our collective knowledge every day. This site not only tracks those changes in real time, but makes music out of it. Each update is accented by a string pluck or a bell sound. The pitch and length of the note correspond to the person or bot making the change and the size of the edit.

Learn more: Listen to Wikipedia

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  1. Newsletter #1014: The "Partners" Issue | Andy Sernovitz | Damn, I Wish I'd Thought of That! - November 13, 2014

    […] lesson: Every business has something they’re not using. Look around, what leftover space or unused asset could you […]

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