Internal marketing communication tool: Random acts of kindness

Whilst many companies focus on consumer marketing communication they often forget about the importance of internal marketing communication.  By adapting one of the popular consumer marketing strategies, identified as Random Acts of Kindness (R.A.K.), to your internal marketing communication strategy, companies can not only turn their customers, but also their employees into raving fans.

To demonstrate the use of R.A.K. as an internal marketing communication tool, consider the following scenario.

It is Monday morning.  The weekend was a blast and you feel tired and rundown.  Before you get out of bed you update your Facebook status: “Awesome weekend! No energy on this Monday morning.”

Several hours later, after being stuck in traffic for what felt like an eternity, you walk into the office and on your desk, is two energy drinks with a note that reads: “Morning!  I am happy that you had a great weekend.  Here is a little something to help you and a colleague through the day.  Have a good one!  [your boss’ name].”

Thinking that you simply must tell your friends about this, you update your Facebook status: “Surprise! Had an energy drink from my boss on my desk when I arrived at the office!”

After you switch on your computer, you call your colleague whom you shared your splendid weekend with:  “Hey!  Guess what?  I’ve got something for you. Meet me outside for a quick chat before we start our day.”

As you hand the extra energy drink to your colleague and tell them about the surprise that awaited you on your desk, the two of you talk about the pleasant start to your work week.  Your colleague Tweets about the wonder of the morning and whistles cheerfully on the way back to their desk.

According to trendwatching.com, one of the world’s leading trend firms who sends out its free, monthly Trend Briefings to more than 160,000 subscribers worldwide, R.A.K. will always be gratefully received by consumers (employees) who are used to distant, inflexible and self-serving companies.  The company, by utilising R.A.K. as part of its internal marketing communication, simply shows that it cares.

There is nothing an employee wants more than to know that he or she belongs in a company, that someone cares, that they are not just a number.

There are three drivers behind R.A.K.:

  • Human touch – Consumers (employees) want to see the human side of companies.
  • Putting it out there – Audiences disclosing more information about their personal lives and moods through Facebook, Twitter, etc. making R.A.K. more relevant.
  • Pass it on – Consumers (employees) will share their experience with others online as well as offline.

Management always say that they wish for their employees to live the company’s vision and mission.  They want to make their employees ambassadors for their brand.  “When used correctly, R.A.K. can achieve exactly that,” says Reinier Evers, founder of trendwatching.com.  His tips for getting R.A.K. right are:

  1. Be genuine. A.K. should demonstrate your company’s attitude and not be a temporary, welcome exception to it.
  2. Be personal, but not too personal. A.K. should be aimed at your employees’ individual circumstances or needs without making them feel that the company is stalking them.
  3. Be compassionate, not crass. A.K. is exactly that, acts of kindness and should not become self-serving, internal marketing stunts.
  4. Make it shareable. Give your employees reason to share their experience with friends and family.
  5. Be generous. It is better to be generous to a few people than kind-of-nice to lots of people.
  6. Have meaning and purpose. Encourage employees to engage in their own R.A.K. and reward them publicly.
  7. Get real. Do you want to really surprise your staff?  Then deliver R.A.K. right to them.
  8. Don’t intrude, or be pushy. This isn’t about the company, but about your employees.
  9. Don’t make R.A.K. too frequent. Employees shouldn’t feel upset if they don’t get a R.A.K.

Another goal that frequently appears at the top of a company’s list, especially those that belong to international networks, are to be the most famous office within its network.  What better way to become the most famous office than by using R.A.K. as an internal marketing communication tool to create raving fans out of your employees who will talk to their colleagues at other offices across the world?

Furthermore, management continues to say that they want to attract the best talent and then retain that talent.  R.A.K. can help your company to achieve this goal by spreading the word that it is a genuinely caring company that adds human touch to its interaction with employees.  Happy employees who feel cared for, are not likely to dream about greener grass on the other side of the fence.  As a bonus, they are sure to recommend working at your company to their friends in the industry.

R.A.K. can even help your company achieve its business priorities because happy employees are more likely to work smarter.  This will lead to increased productivity levels which in turn will lead to happy customers.  Eventually it will lead to an increase in the bottom line which will ultimately lead to happy shareholders.

In utilising R.A.K. companies will not only be able to live its vision and mission, but also achieve its business as well as reputational priorities.

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