Giving: being so strategically smart with your brand never felt so good.
We all know how to use one of the most potent branding strategies available today. In fact, we have an understanding of it that reaches back decades. And while this strategy is deeply embedded in who we are, we continually see sophisticated organizations push it aside to chase the latest shiny object to try and win prospects.
So what is this magical strategy that seems to be hiding in plain sight? Giving.
Back to kindergarten
Our understanding of the virtue of giving stretches back to our kindergarten days. As fairly new human beings, we learned how sharing with others created an environment for equitable gain. Okay, we may not have discussed 'equitable gain' with our fellow 5-year-olds while sitting cross-legged on the floor. But we did learn that, by sharing, it made for a happier day. And when we shared, others were more likely to share with us. Genius!
Fast forward to today. This strategy not only still works, but it's also one the most powerful ways to build affinity with whoever we hope to engage.
What giving gives us
Giving rewards us in numerous ways. Here are just a few:
Giving invites someone into an engagement - hitting someone with the hard sell right from the get-go hardly ever works. Even if we do get someone to become a customer, they will tend to be guarded and defensive (expecting the next hard sell.)
Giving creates reciprocity - our recipient will be more likely to reciprocate with their attention when it comes time for us to share our offer with them.
Giving builds affinity - our recipient will be more likely to be loyal to a partner that shares so willingly.
Giving encourages advocacy - our recipient will be more likely to tell others about our generosity, generating the most valuable kind of promotion - word of mouth.
We all have something to give
Every organization has something of value to give to its prospects. Maybe it's our knowledge. Maybe it's our advice.
It would be easy to act miserly with these assets, guarding them closely and demanding compensation. It's easy to see why. We have worked hard to amass this knowledge and insight. In many cases, it's deeply connected to our offering. But smart organizations are realizing that it is unparalleled in its ability to win the hearts and minds of prospects. It is why content marketing has become such a valuable tool in today's world.
If there is anything that should encourage us to consider giving as a strategy, it's that it draws from one of the most ancient axioms - the Golden Rule.
We need to ask how we would want to be treated. How would we feel if somebody gave generously to us? Then think about how we would feel afterward. Would we want to reciprocate in some way?
If we choose to give to others, just think what they will choose to give back to us.
Being so strategically smart never felt so good.