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Newsletter: #976: The “Go Outside” 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 easy to get caught up in viral videos and social media campaigns when you’re imagining how to get your customers’ attention. But remember, some of the best conversation starters are out there in the real world.

Here are three examples that will inspire you to get outside:

1. Make waiting fun
2. Take advantage of graffiti
3. Open doors
4. Check it out: The virtual LEGO builder

1. Make waiting fun

StreetPong

Photo thanks to StreetPong.info.

At this traffic light in Germany, instead of just watching for the crossing signal, pedestrians can play StreetPong (a variation on Pong) with the person across the street. When it’s OK to walk, the game’s over. That makes waiting at the crosswalk fun. Plus, it creates an unusual bond between total strangers.

The lesson: No one likes to wait — whether it’s at a crosswalk, in a doctor’s office, or at a restaurant. Find ways to make it more fun, even if it means getting your customers to hang out with another customer they don’t know.

Learn more: StreetPong

2. Take advantage of graffiti

street bench vandalism

Photo thanks to Inman.

This one’s sort of tricky to turn around, but you see it all the time — defaced billboards, vandalized bench signs, whatever. While you might normally think of this stuff as a nuisance, sometimes it can inspire great ideas. For example, one realtor in Minneapolis decided to roll with the vandalism happening to his signs and create a contest out of it, asking people to “do your worst” to his advertisements around town and send him a photo.

The lesson: You can’t always help stuff like graffiti on your signs, but sometimes, with a little sense of humor, you can turn something negative into a word of mouth opportunity.

Learn more: Inman

3. Open doors

Hyatt polite gestures

Photo thanks to Hyatt.

For one hour, Hyatt got their employees in ten different cities to do nothing but open doors for people at restaurants, pubs, shops, and offices across town. That’s a much more powerful message about kindness and service than any billboard could portray.

The lesson: You don’t have to make it complicated. Sometimes showing off your customer service just means doing something nice for people.

Learn more: YouTube

4. Check it out: The virtual LEGO builder

Build with Chrome

Photo thanks to Build with Chrome.

Google Chrome and LEGO have created a virtual game that lets you build something with LEGOs on top of a location in Google Maps.

Check it out: Build with Chrome

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