Home > Uncategorized > Random Acts of Kindness (R.A.K.)

Random Acts of Kindness (R.A.K.)

Random acts of kindness (R.A.K.). When was the last time you were the receiver of one? According to an article from TrendWatching, companies are making large efforts to reach out to their target audiences through R.A.K. First off, the article describes R.A.K as the following:

RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS | For consumers long used to (and annoyed by) distant, inflexible and self-serving corporations, any acts of kindness by brands will be gratefully received. For brands, increasingly open communications both with and between consumers (especially online), means that it’s never been easier to surprise and delight audiences with R.A.K.: whether sending gifts, responding to publicly expressed moods or just showing that they care*.

The article makes it very clear that R.A.K. is not about rewarding customers for posting nice messages about the company or buying products. R.A.K. truly is about randomly showing customers that the company is thinking about them and wants to make their day a little bit brighter. R.A.K. are relatively easy and cheap to execute and will help companies be viewed as personable and caring in the minds of their target audiences.

There are three main factors driving the success of R.A.K. The first is ‘Human Touch’; meaning customers are fed up with large corporations that are only out for themselves. They expect companies to be socially, ethically, and environmentally responsible. To prove this point the article stated, “71% of people ‘make it a point to buy brands from companies whose values are similar to my own.’ (Source: Young & Rubicam, August 2010.)” R.A.K. express to consumers that companies have human emotions and personalities.

The second factor driving success: social media is making it increasingly easier for companies to engage in R.A.K. People are willingly sharing tons of personal information about their whereabouts, moods, likes and dislikes. With 91 million tweets being published by Twitter daily, companies can easily find customers who need and will appreciate their R.A.K. The real time information being shared through these applications allow companies to tailor R.A.K. to each customer, making the R.A.K better received.

A great example of R.A.K. is when Proctor & Gamble-owned Secret deodorant saw a customer post on their Facebook wall that she couldn’t buy Secret in Spain. Although the company couldn’t mail her the products due to custom regulations, an employee who was traveling to Italy took some with her and personally mailed the package to the customer once abroad. The customer was delighted and immediately showed her appreciation on Secrets’ Facebook wall.

This is also an example of the third factor of success. Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites allow for customers to spread their R.A.K. experience, creating even more positive impact for the company. Many companies can video tape their recipients’ reactions to their R.A.K. and post them on YouTube for others to watch. Spanish travel agency Atrapalo did this when they helped Lucas Jatobá thank the city of Barcelona for the great time he had living there for three years. Jatobá  did this by attaching theatre tickets to balloons and released them over the city. The video of the event was taped and has now been watched over 350,000 times.

R.A.K. doesn’t have to be as extravagant as flying to Italy to deliver Secret deodorant. Sweetgreen, a restaurant chain in Washington, sends out employees to perform R.A.K. for their customers. These acts have included covering people’s bike seats when it’s raining and leaving gift certificates on peoples’ car windshields that received parking tickets.

R.A.K. seems to be a great way for companies to create brand loyal customers. The acts of kindness form a bond or relationship between the customer and company. Think about it, how much more likely would you be to go back to a restaurant that noticed you had a parking ticket and tried to dissipate that annoyance by leaving you something nice? I know I’d be a fan for life and would definitely spread the word to all my friends and family.

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