What if brands learned to say “Thank You”?

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Gifts are wonderful things. We love to give them, we love to receive them, and most importantly, gifts create a bond. Successful brands have always found ways to reward loyal and influential customers. Today, there is an even greater incentive for brands to reward their biggest influencers. Why? Because now, influencers have bigger clout than ever before, thanks to social media. A nice gift can go a long way.

Daisy Day: More than “pay with a tweet”

Marc Jacobs surprised New Yorkers last Friday with a pop-up store. These “guerilla” style concept stores are nothing new, however, this store was not only dedicated to Marc Jacob’s cult fragrance Daisy, but also the only currency accepted was social media. Customers were rewarded with vials of Daisy perfume, costume jewelry, and even a handbag (awarded to best Instagram photo) if they tweeted and used the hashtag #MJDaisychain while in the store.

The idea might seem gimmicky (we all remember the “pay with a tweet” operation, and its imitators), but it comes from a real insight: Daisy perfume has one of the most engaged Facebook followings. It makes sense then, to use social media currency to repay the dedicated fans that have praised Daisy on social networks. As Lori Singer, VP of global marketing for Coty Prestige told Mashable: “Over the years, the Daisy brand has built a considerable following in social media, and to us, the whole undertaking is a way to say a big thank you to the people who love Daisy and are constantly finding creative ways to show their affection for the brand.” This is smart gift giving that goes beyond a freebie bag at a fashion show.

The Philippines: a warm thank you

Last week I was standing in front of the iconic Parisian department store, Galeries Lafayette and I was surprised to see a billboard from the Philippines with “The Philippines Says Thank You” printed in large letters. I

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thought that this was an interesting way for the Philippines to not only recognize the funds that were raised following Typhoon Haiyan but also to graciously remind people who may have forgotten that even though the country is still recovering from this natural disaster it is ready to welcome visitors.

Indeed, the #PHthankyou campaign was rolled out last Saturday in prime advertising spots like London’s Picadilly Circus, and New York’s Times Square. The Philippines Department of Tourism admitted that the campaign was in large part “triggered by an overwhelming sense of appreciation, which has been strongly expressed in social media.” This campaign is not only a way for the Philippines to acknowledge the support they received, but it is a way to show the world that the country is recovering, and three months after the typhoon is a smart way to begin talking about what is still left to be done.

Air France: Gifts for a Song

When we talk about brand gifts, I don’t simply mean luxury products or splashy (and costly) thank-you notes. I think that Air France had an excellent and very simple gift idea with their “music in the sky” application. The application lets users turn their phone into a butterfly net that catches songs “placed” in the sky. Depending on the country you’re in, the available songs change. Frequent Air France travellers will not only have greater access to music, but will also get a chance to win airline tickets, concert seats, and other prizes. In an era where Richard Branson is disrupting the conventions of luxury air travel, Air France is very canny in giving a simple but easy-to-share gift of music.

Today, forces like Brian Solis’s UMOT, or “ultimate moment of truth”—where client satisfaction is the deciding factor for others in whether they want to consume a brand—makes savvy gift giving especially interesting for brands. Receiving a meaningful gift: be it a personalized note, added information, access, or even an object is something people want to share. Brands should never see gifts a merely a way to reward a customer, but rather as a means to continue engagement. As the renowned sociologist Marcel Mauss wrote: “Gifts are never completely separated from the men who exchange them.” Brands would do well to remember this.

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