PR is a two way street. Do something good or bad, somewhere, someone will be able to comment and link back to your brand online, creating a genuine impression and recommendation. It is now up to the audience to control the message, whether it is good or bad.
Random acts of kindness (or rather non-random, highly planned and strategically aligned acts of kindness) are popping up all over the globe as a way for companies to generate goodwill and publicity.
Through the use of social media, random acts of kindness can have international exposure. Interflora were one of the first to use generosity as a commodity. In 2010 they scanned twitter for users who looked like they were having a bad day. They contacted the bad day people directly to get their address, than sent them a bouquet of flowers. Nice.
This campaign was publicised worldwide. What a brilliant investment for the brand and a perfect product association. Generally people give flowers as presents, as an act of kindness. This is what we call perfect synergy with the brand.
Kindness on a global scale
There are of course many others that have successfully run random acts of kindness campaigns, notably Coca-Cola with the their ‘Happiness is home’ project. This was a more obvious marketing ploy, but given the amount of coordination involved to pull it off, it qualifies as a generous random act of kindness.
The brand selected Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) who had not been home for a long time and gave them a free trip back to the Philippines for Christmas. The recipients were filmed being picked up in a branded Coca-Cola van, united with their family and then indulging in a Christmas lunch with lots of bottles of coke on hand.
To date, the YouTube video has been viewed over 1.6 million times. This puts it firmly in the successful camp.
Kindness on a smaller scale
These two examples are from multi-national brands, with large social media following and big budgets for PR stunts. But as one Aussie company has shown us, anyone can do it.
In Australia, Vinomofo are “bringing good wine and good people together” with their Friday Vinobomb. According to their website:
“On the last Friday of each month, we wear our Vinomofo tees, fill up the petrol tank and make space in the car boot for Vinobomb, our random acts of kindness project. It’s a special initiative we started last year that shines the light on inspiring individuals who are creating positive change or experiencing personal hardship, and recognising organisations that are leading the pack when it comes to addressing key social issues that we support within their local and wider community, in areas of animal rescue, anti-bullying, homelessness, domestic violence and more.”
In their fifth year, Vinomofo now employ 100 people, and have just secured significant funding for expansion. And they have managed to do this whilst shouting worthy people a drink.
What goes around comes around
Perhaps it is worth considering a strategic random act of kindness as a part of your marketing planning. In a world under pressure, your act of kindness can make a difference and earn you some good will and positive exposure in the process.
By Amanda Lacey