Nice Brands Don’t Finish Last

March 9, 2011

While common wisdom says that “nice guys finish last,” this is not necessarily true in the branding arena, according to new analysis from In particular, says “random acts of kindness,” rather than distributing free samples or providing specific rewards for actions such as posting a positive social network review, can pay big dividends for brand marketers.

Random Acts of Kindness Spur Positive Reactions says that consumers long used to distant, inflexible and self-serving corporations will gratefully receive any random act of kindness performed by a brand. Increasingly open communication between consumers and brands, especially online, make performing random acts of kindness easier than ever before.

Specific examples include activities such as identifying Twitter users who appear to need cheering up (rather than ones who are promoting a particular brand) and providing them with a free gift or service. identifies three major drivers for the random acts of kindness trend: the human touch, “putting it out there,” and passing it on. Following are brief overviews of each driver.

The Human Touch Appeals to Gen G advises there is new generation of consumers it calls Generation G (for “generosity”) who seek brands that are socially, ethically and environmentally responsible. Generation G is disgusted with traditional business priorities and practices and prefers to enjoyably interact with businesses that show compassion, personality and humanity.

Consumers Are Putting It Out There

More people are now publicly and knowingly disclosing more personal information than ever before via social networks and blogs about their daily lives, their moods or their whereabouts. All this personal information increasingly enables brands to actually know what’s happening in consumers’ lives.

In fact, it’s never been easier for brands to listen and react to potential customers’ needs or desires in innovative or even personalized ways. As much of this happens in real time, brands can increasingly engage with consumers right at their moment of need, making random acts of kindness more relevant, and therefore better received.

Passing It On Via the Web

A random acts of kindness strategy can now be cost-efficiently applied by all brands, because rather than having to call, text or even see people personally, social networks’ streams allow users to easily broadcast information to a wide range of people without interrupting or intruding. The explosion in both the volume and reach of connections creates huge opportunities for brands that create interesting, meaningful, funny, uplifting moments that people love to share.

Social Media Creates Brand Advocates

In another example of reaching out to consumers online, retailers can use social media to turn consumers who have had a negative experience with their brand into brand advocates, according to a new report from RightNow and Harris Interactive. Data from “The Retail Consumer Report” indicates 68% of US consumers who posted a complaint or negative review of a holiday shopping experience during the 2010 holiday season were contacted by the retailer. Two-thirds (67%) of them wound up taking an action that would be considered positive for the brand.


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