Tweet Some Love, Gain Some Respect

We all have them in our lives. A babysitter that’s always available when you really need a night out. A loyal friend who’s willing to interrupt her day to hear your latest crisis over coffee. A lifelong customer who loves your business’ story. A super fan who engages with and shares your content more than you do. People who just make your world turn a little easier. Now there’s a cool, new way to thank them.

Starbucks continues to embrace the digital realm and social media by partnering with Twitter to introduce tweet-a-coffee. After quickly connecting your Starbucks and Twitter accounts, you can easily send your loyal friend, awesome customer or super fan a $5 eGift card. Seriously, it’s that easy.

As a business owner, I immediately thought of some priceless opportunities for brands. Giveways? You no longer need to retrieve a winner’s physical address to mail swag, just a Twitter handle. Thanking loyal fans (and customers)? It’s easy on your end but is appreciated by the recipient. Your fans and customers will enjoy being publicly recognized for their loyalty, contribution to your digital marketing efforts and fabulous ideas. In turn, your business receives positive PR and the warm, fuzzy feeling associated with being good corporate citizens. And don’t forget about acknowledging employees!

I had to try this new service, so I tweeted a coffee to one of Clearly Conveyed Communications‘s super fans, Lance Wyllie. Lance is always willing to engage in thoughtful conversation, add insightful comments to discussions (on the blog and Twitter) and is so generous with sharing others’ information.

The process couldn’t have been easier. After quickly connecting my Starbucks and Twitter accounts, I sent a personalized message to @tweetacoffee to @LanceWyllie (as seen above). Starbucks’ @Tweetacoffee account immediately tweeted Lance a clickable link to redeem his eGift card (which can be scanned from your smartphone or printed out). On the back end, Starbucks sent me a receipt confirming my purchase and separately emailed me when Lance viewed the gift. A seamless process.

It’s always exciting when a new tool becomes available to add to your marketing mix. Just remember: tweet some love, gain some respect.

How can you or your business utilize tweet-a-coffee?

Who would you tweet-a-coffee to?

Tweets from my (@jaimeshine) Twitter feed
Tweet-a-Coffee video courtesy of Starbucks

An espresso addict (and Starbucks fan),
Jaime

p.s. As an espresso addict, it’s hard for me to fathom people who don’t drink espresso or coffee. Rest assured, Starbucks offers tea, fruit juices, water, fresh bakery items, delicious breakfast sandwiches and oatmeal, among other favorites, for all of you non-coffee folks out there. 

p.s.s. To help spread the word, Starbucks is giving a $5 eGift card to the first 100,000 people who participate in the tweet-a-coffee program before 11/06/13 and fund the purchase with a Visa card. Full details here.

Coffee lover or not, connect with me… 
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Gray Area: Do Ethics Still Have a Place in Business?

I’m a racing fan (OK, a sports fan in general) so I was following the race last Saturday night at Richmond International Speedway, which was the final race of the ‘regular season’ in NASCAR. As usual, there were a few drivers and teams who were on the bubble of making it into The Chase, NASCAR’s playoffs. If you haven’t heard, Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) was levied penalties and a record fine by NASCAR’s governing body for manipulating the end of the race so its driver could make The Chase.

What does this have to do with business, you ask? If you’re not a fan, you may not know that NASCAR is big business. Companies spend millions of dollars sponsoring drivers, teams and races trying to garner the celebrated loyalty of NASCAR fans. Those fans purchase over $2 billion dollars in licensed merchandise annually and are three times as likely to try to purchase products and services from their favorite drivers’ sponsors.^ They’re a loyal bunch, and loyalty pays.

NASCAR

NASCAR is big business — which can push ethics to the back burner.

Besides, it’s not just the big business of sports where ethics seem to have disappeared. I recently came across a great read, Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight, in which M.E. Thomas (a pseudonym) states that sociopaths often excel in business due to some of their common traits: excessive self-esteem, lack of empathy, superficial charm and intelligence, excessive risk-taking, pathological lying and lack of remorse.

We climb the corporate ladder faster than the rest, and appear to have limitless self-confidence. Who are we? We are highly successful, non-criminal sociopaths and we comprise 4% of the American population (that’s 1 in 25 people).  –M.E. Thomas

Wow. Think about that for a moment. Sociopaths, who are often characterized as lacking the ability to feel or sympathize with others, often win in the boardroom due to their character traits.

Obviously not all successful business people are sociopaths; some are genuinely good-hearted, ethical people. But are they a dying breed?

Does today’s 24/7 instant gratification culture that we live in cater itself to those with a ‘do-it-at-all-costs’ mentality? With a demand for instant results and real-time information, does the end always justify the means? Is there a long term view any more in the business world? Or has the need for short term success obliterated it?

Please chime in –> Do ethics still have a place in business? Would love to hear your thoughts!

^NASCAR fan statistics courtesy of HLG Licensing
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons via a Creative Commons license
Quote from Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight, by M.E. Thomas

Cheers,
Jaime

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Is Your Business Like Cheers?

Recently I’ve watched a few episodes of the classic show, Cheers (thank you, Netflix!), and remembered why I always enjoyed hanging out with the gang at the friendly bar in Boston. The show’s tagline, Where Everybody Knows Your Name, says it all.

Cheers logo

Cheers — Where Everybody Knows Your Name

The characters came across as regular people who you would love to discuss current events with over a beer (and by current events, I mean last night’s game or Sam’s love life). They made everybody feel welcome, whether you were a local or out of towner passing through. (OK, unless you were a rowdy New York fan.)

The point is, people wanted to come there because they felt welcome and accepted. I’m sure there were other bars they could have ventured to (even Norm), but Cheers is where they chose to spend their time — and money.

Does your business leave customers and prospects with a warm feeling? Do you have regulars (repeat customers) that you know inside and out and always try to add a little extra touch for?

Do it amazing, says Sir Richard

What’s the most amazing way to treat your customers, especially regulars?

I was always amazed when the general manager at the Panera Bread near my former company’s office would already be making my order when I got to the counter — whether it was a caramel latte in the morning or a cup of creamy broccoli cheddar soup (and possibly another latte if I needed a boost) for lunch. She always left me with a smile on my face. True story: I met some former colleagues there for lunch a year after I left the company to start my business and had not returned to this location. As I was ordering, the general manager walked up, greeted me by name and asked how I was doing.

Why did I choose to return there time after time? There were other places I could get espresso or soup, but I felt a connection to the company and this location — all because a general manager provided excellent service and remembered my name.

I see the same type of service (and smiles) at my local Starbucks and enjoy the atmosphere at a local coffee shop that’s really established itself as a part of the community.

rafting the Green Valley Ranch in Las Vegas

Yes, I have an espresso problem. I even take it rafting.

Are you noticing a theme? I tend to give my business to companies that provide excellent service, make me smile and remember my name. Are you nodding in agreement (or just nodding off)? Notice that I didn’t say anything about the cheapest price. Yes, I want to see value for my dollar, but that doesn’t translate to cheap. And I’ll take a wonderful experience over cheap any day.

So how can your business be that place where Everybody Knows Your Name?

  1. Establish a ‘frequent shopper’ program. If that’s not exactly applicable, reward repeat customers in other ways. At CCC, we discount our services on program business (i.e. repeat business/multiple services purchased together).
  2. Say thank you — on each order, payment, quote/opportunity, referral, helpful advice, etc. A Starbucks or iTunes card is an appreciated token of appreciation for referrals or loyal customers as is your expertise. We’ve been known to help out a loyal customer with his LinkedIn profile or offer complimentary suggestions on improving a fellow company’s online marketing efforts. But trust me, even saying the words thank you is noticed — and appreciated — in today’s rushed and flustered world.
  3. Communicate clearly. So much of our communication is digital today; emailing, texting, tweeting or messaging is convenient. At CCC, we like to communicate how our customers prefer, whether that’s Skype, Facebook or a good old-fashioned phone call. Also, make sure you’re on the same page about a project, including any applicable deadlines. Nothing’s messier than miscommunication; it causes stress all around, puts people in bad positions and costs both parties time and money.

Check out: Seth Godin on Miscommunication

What did I miss?

How do you make your loyal customers feel special?

Put a smile on everyone’s face?

Photos courtesy of Brad via Sitcoms Online and Richard Branson’s blog

Cheers (or a toast),
Jaime

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