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Newsletter: #980: The “Donations” 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.]

The best kind of marketing is the kind that does something great for the world. Whether you’re giving to a great cause or getting your customers in on it, donating stuff can help you earn more word of mouth.

Here are three ways you can do it:

1. Help your customers do something nice
2. Be ready to make altruistic decisions
3. Start conversations in your community
4. Check it out: Life-size blue whale

1. Help your customers do something nice

H&M clothing donation

Photo thanks to H&M.

For a bag of donated clothes, H&M gave their customers a discount on their stuff — no matter what kind of clothes they donated. It was an unbranded, charitable effort to get people to stop filling landfills with textiles. But what it really did was make shopping at H&M feel good.

The lesson: H&M made their customers feel like they did something good for society for doing something they probably would have done anyway at Goodwill or a consignment shop.

Learn more: Businessweek

2. Be ready to make altruistic decisions

As a sponsor for the Sochi Olympics, it was a huge letdown when Chobani’s shipment of Greek yogurt was suddenly blocked by the Russian government from the Olympic Village. But Chobani quickly turned the negative situation into something positive. They donated the thousands of blocked yogurt cups to food banks in New York and Newark.

The lesson: The only way Chobani turned this negative situation into positive word of mouth was by making a quick decision to do the right thing — while the yogurt and the conversations were still fresh.

Learn more: Dairy Reporter

3. Start conversations in your community

Neighborhood Exchange Box

Photo thanks to Springwise.

Neighborhood Exchange Boxes is a project starting up in Switzerland where people in a community can leave items or take some from drop-off boxes in public locations. People can donate whatever they want. Imagine the curiosity that could start in a community to look forward to and talk about what was left in the box every day. This isn’t about a marketing stunt — it’s about getting neighbors talking.

The lesson: It’s easy to get caught up in the conversations happening online, in social media, or on the news. But for most businesses, the ones that matter most are the conversations happening in their neighborhood. How are you contributing to those conversations?

Learn more: Springwise

4. Check it out: Life-size blue whale

life-size blue whale

Photo thanks to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation.

See what the largest animal in the world would look like in actual size on your screen thanks to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation. If you get attached, you can even adopt one of these big guys.

Check it out: Whale and Dolphin Conservation

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