Give Your Brand Away

We all love something for free, but valuing the return on a giveaway is not always the easiest metric to measure.  For many marketers and business owners, the value proposition for free giveaways is hard to justify the investment.  Bur who doesn’t want a free iPad, t-shirt or promotional item?

If you want to build a loyal following of brand advocates, freebies can be an enduring and affordable way to create and keep brand loyalty.

Everyone loves a freebie, which is why giving products away is an excellent tactic for anyone in marketing who wants to create brand advocates. Whether you want to improve the number of online conversations about your brand, or reduce customer complaints, a free product is a great place to start.  So where do you start?  How far do you go?  What can you ask for in return?

Seek out bloggers

Pepsi wanted to raise awareness of its updated logo, so the brand  turned to bloggers to help spread the word. Rather than taking the typical path of sending out press released, Pepsi assembled it’s history of logo iterations since it’s beginning – and sent one can with each logo type to bloggers.  Soon after, the bloggers received another set of Pepsi cans with the new logo.

Photo courtesy Adrants.com

Not only did this help bloggers understand the development of the new logo, it also helped them to appreciate Pepsi’s long history in the market place.

The result?  Bloggers enthusiastically endorsed the change, having experienced it personally – and spread the word creating a viral message that Pepsi could leverage for its release for months.  Win.

What can you do to follow the Pepsi model of success?  Research bloggers already in sharing information in your brand category – no matter what it is.  Start at  Google Blog Search to find them, and send them samples of your products or services for them to review.  Simple.

Engage community voices

There’s no question that social media has changed the landscape of finding your community voice.  Twitter is filled with conversations in your specific industry, which enable you to build connections between your brand and your customers.

Give  Follower Wonk  a try to Twitter profiles for keywords specific to you, and in turn, connect to people who are truly passionate about your brand niche.

Reward loyalty

Like many American markets, free clubcards have become the staple of brand loyalty rewards.  From grocery stores to restaurants, providing an incentive for return customer’s loyalty is one of the strongest ways you can build an army of brand fanatics. Even if you don’t have an existing loyalty program now, you can find a forum of conversations just right for you on Board Tracker.

Free works

Walk down the aisle at any farmer’s market, and you’ll be offered a wide variety of fresh fruits or vegetables to sample.  By the end of that walk, if the samples are good, you’ll likely buy more than you ever anticipated at the start – and for good reason.  Free sells.

Even if your product or service is fairly expensive to give away, you can leverage your brand via the web in competition to get it for free.  Giving away your brand is a great way to build lasting loyalty, reach bloggers and reward loyal customers.  At the end of the day, isn’t that what we all really want?

What are some of the best free giveaway campaigns you’ve ever seen?  What brands are you loyal to because they offer free samples?

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