It's been among the toughest of tough years. You've cut just about everything there is to cut. There a few weeks left to the year and you want to try for a special boost for your company, particularly retailers.
So, do you scrape a few more pennies off margin for one more last minute sale? How do you promote that sale. Even if you can afford to invest in advertising, where do you do it? Newspapers or radio? Don't be silly. Online banners? How have they worked for you so far this year? Think it will help if you shout louder at your customers than your competitor does? Do your customers respect your brand when it shouts at them?
In Twitterville, I introduced the concept of lethal generosity. I suggested that social media influence is based on a cult of generosity; that those who give the most to their online communities become the most influential and will indirectly realize the most benefit to the bottom line.
I talked about Jeremiah Owyang, back when he was at Hitachi Data Systems and he created the genetically named Data Storage wiki.Anyone, a customer, prospect, a competitor or a competitor's customer could join to discuss any topic related to data storage. If competitors joined in, they would be following Hitachi's lead. If they ignored the wiki, then they were ignoring important conversations between members of their community.
I also discussed what was then Molson Canada [now Molson Coors], which last Holiday Season salvaged all night public transportation for Toronto's New Year's Eve. They did it in the name of "responsible drinking."Then they invited LaBatts, their biggest Canadian competitor to join in the campaign. If LaBatts said know, then they might be seen as supporters of irresponsible drinking. If they said yes, they were following the Molson lead.
A third Twitterville example was Rubbermaid, which has used Twitter, blogging and YouTube to form a community of professional organizers, and then arranging for them to get discounts on Rubbermaid storage goods.
Each of these are examples of different forms of community generosity. Each is lethal to competitors because they need to either follow a rival's leadership or turn their backs on initiatives that benefit their community.
Each of these lethally generous examples cost very little and are long-remembered bu communities. They generate respect, influence and trust. Now when's the last time you saw an ad do that for your organization?
If you don't have time to be lethally generous for Christmas. Start thinking about Q1 next year.