Michael Amar is co-founder & CEO of Ifeelgoods.
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It has happened to the best of us. You wake up on Sunday morning, ready to roll over and fall back asleep, when you realize... it's Mother's Day.
In a hurry, you rush out to the closest convenient store. And the first gift that grabs your attention is a random mug saying “I <heart> Mom”. You get it anyway.
And you're right to do so. Showing up empty handed is not an option. Because Mother's Day is much less about the gift than showing appreciation. And this is something that retailers need to do, too.
All year long, customers show loyalty and a certain form of commitment to brands by buying products and services. They nurture your business. Still, do we have a Customer's Day to reward this loyalty? Do we even bother to reward these many markers of attention? Not always ,or not at all. But, let's imagine what the equivalent of Mother's Day for your loyal customer would look like. How might we design a reward that has the impact of a good Mother's Day gift for our customers?
Because as any child or spouse knows from having been on the giving end of Mother's Day: the size of the gift matters less than the gesture. Even if you have to run down to the store get a lousy “I love Mom” mug, it's always better than skipping the gift altogether. Even if she thinks it's a made-up, phony or too-commercial holiday, she'll appreciate any sign of affection from her loved ones. Among her favorite gifts, there still is breakfast in bed (even if the kid made a mess in the kitchen), handcrafted art pieces and personalized jewelry, a spa day or a fancy pair of shoes.
Retailers and marketers should think the same way about rewarding their loyal customers. What do these Mother's Day gifts all have in common? They have meaning. They say something about our love for our mothers and spouses, how we see them, how much we care for them. They also say that we notice and we try to put ourselves in her shoes, at least once a year.
So, what does this mean for brands? Replace “mother” by “my customer.” What would the “breakfast in bed” experience of your loyal customer be like? What can you do to express your gratitude in a way that would trigger the same kind of appreciation mothers all over the world feel for any sign of affection from those she nurtures? It can be as simple as offering a virtual iTunes gift card to a customer who usually buys from an iPhone. It's a small effort for a big impact.
Today's growing appetite that consumers show for emotion-oriented experiences gives brands a unique opportunity to redesign the relationships with their customers. Because of this, more than ever, brands have to be more generous with their communication. And show this generosity by starting with the simplest gesture: the gift.
We are expected to give gifts on Mother's Day. Still, a lot of delight comes from the surprise of bringing your mother's favorite flowers and choice of pancakes at breakfast, from showing that you noticed that this year a spa treat would be more welcome than a new gadget.
In the same fashion, you can please and enchant your customer by showing you care enough to know what he/she might like and need at a given moment. The token of appreciation can be small, as long as the meaning is big.