At FLIRT, we believe that embracing kindness is not only part of a healthy way of life but also a proven business strategy! When a brand, company or a person spontaneously expresses an act of kindness, it is remembered forever. When was the last time kindness randomly crossed your path? In the world of corporate communications, it’s as rare as seeing a Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat (113 left at last count). Even in the everyday ho-hum real world, kind acts are, unfortunately, a scarce experience.
I remember the day that I began to believe that random acts of kindness could play a strategic role in corporate communications strategies. On September 13, 2004, Oprah Winfrey gave everyone in her audience a Pontiac G6. Wow! Sadly, the “Prize Tax” ultimately cost the winners $7,000 per car. Oops! Even Oprah learned a lesson in kindness that day. However, in 2012 she redeemed herself and gave away 271 Volkswagen Beetles for FREE. In 2006, Oprah challenged her 300 member audience to “pay it forward” each using a $1,000 USD debit card and a camcorder to record the reactions of the strangers receiving the kindness.
So what wow have you shared with your audience lately?
Random acts of kindness do not rely on demographic research, target audience or strategic business insights. They impact everyone in your audience equally! So why not look for opportunities to engage your employees?
Random acts of kindness must reflect the personality of the individual, or in our instance the corporation that is delivering the act. If the act feels out of alignment or out of character, it can feel more shocking than entertaining. Mini Cooper is not General Motors and Starbucks is not Dunkin-Donuts – and neither pretend to be. Similarly, the event experience must not feel out of character for the brand. Marketing gurus often overlook timing and how a fresh creative idea executed in the wrong place, with the wrong tone of voice, at the wrong time is not worth the effort. Timing and fit is also key for kindness. Right time, right place, immeasurable impact!
Here is a simple random acts of kindness starter kit to help jump start your next corporate meeting, whether it’s in a hotel ballroom or a cubicle down the hall.
Random Acts of Kindness Starter Kit
- Timing – Even if every other component is perfect, your act will fall flat if it’s delivered at the wrong moment! Providing kindness when it is needed most is magical. Finding the friction in your audience’s day also helps identify when they will be most receptive and appreciative of a kind act. We all know the 2:30 feeling! However, keep in mind that too much, too soon and suddenly random and fresh may become predictable and stale.
- Comfort – On the road and away from home! Look for ways to make your audience more physically comfortable. Our audience is on the go and often away from the comforts and routine of home. Look for ways to add “creature comfort” with tokens of kindness such as chocolate chip cookies, umbrellas or rocking chairs in the lobby. Simple items that can make the experience feel comfortable and even cozy!
- Technology – Technology should add tranquility. Look for ways to remove technical glitches and frustration, from simple smartphone chargers in your room to a help desk. When technology doesn’t function, we don’t function, and frustration replaces fun! Also, look for simple ways to add apps that swoop in to save the day, those that create tranquility without adding to an already endless to-do list.
- Art for Art’s Sake – Art changes perception! A purely artistic experience helps elevate the mood and attitude, while enhancing visual perception. A museum-like atmosphere and live performances enhance the overall value of the experience. It creates a new level of sophistication! Taking work out of the equation and adding joy, inspiration and discovery can take a simple act and add an intangibly emotive element.
- Surprise – Remember to make it surprising, if the act is not a big surprise maybe the location or the experience is the surprise. Look for ways to mash up tactics, ideas, timing and location. Elevators are a prime example of a location where a small surprise often feels massive.