Every day, the Doubletree By Hilton hotel chain distributes 75,000 freshly baked chocolate chip cookies to its guests for free. Something which guests look forward to now.
One of the most effective ways for brands to connect with customers is by making a single person feel special. Providing a unique experience for a single customer reduces costs while also promoting a company’s generosity and charm.
These kinds of activities are usually for a short time. As a result, usually, this strategy can only be used once. After a successful surprise campaign, social media conversation will increase, which is positive in the short term. Scaling up or down is the big question here.
Instead of relying on a single customer’s goodwill, use a simple but consistent action to set your business apart. As long as your customers are talking about it, it doesn’t matter what you say.
The goal of using stimuli is to improve the consistency and persuasiveness of communication. Using these cues, word-of-mouth becomes purposeful and forceful rather than circumstantial and unknowable.
So, how can you put into action such a potent approach that is also so simple? As a starting point, below is a possible list of things to check.
1. Tell a story that will stick in the minds of your target audience.
Your business/ brand’s operation should be built on a strong hook. If you work in the hospitality sector, a simple gesture like this can go a long way toward making guests feel at home. All guests at The Serai receive either a cold coffee or a warm cappuccino both as a reflection of their rich history (Coffee Day) and also a warm welcome. This is what customers talk about with each other. In fact, some guests would openly ask for a cup of hot or iced coffee when they were at the resort.
2. Don’t attempt to be like anyone else.
Figure out what sets you apart. A differentiator must be exceptional in a literal sense—an effective hook encourages customers to remark on it. As the last step, ensure that the hook is under your brand’s positioning, as the two are inseparable. Customer trust in the product is also required, thus it must be reasonable.
Jet Airways used to give tamarind candy to all their guests. For a very long time. These candies were associated with Jet and passengers used to scoop handfuls of them when the air hostesses brought them.
3. Reproducible and simple-to-implement stories are preferred.
Don’t create hooks/stories that can’t be simply retold. The most difficult part of creating a hook is figuring out all of the subtleties that go into it. Find out how to incorporate hooks into your operational design.
4. Expand on the plot. Build on it
Word-of-mouth marketing relies on a pleasant consumer experience, which should be obvious. As a result of the social media megaphone, customers can now easily share their experiences with the globe. When customers have a bad experience, word-of-mouth marketing has no chance of succeeding.
Zappos deliberately put customer experience over advertising from the outset, which is a good example. As a result of customer loyalty and word-of-mouth advertising, the company has grown to be a multibillion-dollar enterprise. Do what Zappos does and borrow money from your advertising budget when you don’t have the money to improve customer service.
Social media may be flooded for a while after a successful surprise and pleasure stunt, but wise marketers know they must scale this strategy in the long run.
When DoubleTree was starting, it’s unlikely that the company’s marketing strategy was based on chocolate chip cookies alone. However, history shows us otherwise.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, Hilton’s decided to offer the recipe for the DoubleTree hotel’s world-famous chocolate chip cookie. Hilton’s decision to do so is an interesting one.
For those who were stranded at home, Hilton shared this once-secret recipe. As a result, a frenzy of DoubleTree fans and home bakers embarked on a quest to recapture a taste of their recent travels.
Due to increased engagement and mentions from both current customers and interested followers of the brand’s recipe page on social media, the earned media was a huge success for the company/ brand. Many people took to social media to post messages and images of the cookies, and the brand was mentioned hundreds of times. It was also taken up by travel bloggers and forums and their followers were able to discuss the recipe