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Be Kind!

Put "Random Acts of Kindness" on your brand strategy's radar screen for the next little while. Why?

From the the folks at Trendwatching.com,
"R.A.K. appeal to the vast (and ever-growing) number of consumers who make up GENERATION G (that’s G for Generosity not Greed). Disgusted with big, arrogant, sloppy and out of touch institutions, fed-up consumers around the world increasingly expect businesses to be socially, ethically and environmentally responsible:
  • 71% of people “make it a point to buy brands from companies whose values are similar to my own.” (Source: Young & Rubicam, August 2010.)
  • In 2006, ‘strong financial performance’ was the third most important factor for US consumers in determining corporate reputation. By 2010, financial returns had fallen to the bottom of Edelman’s rankings, while ‘transparent and honest practices’ and ‘company I can trust’ were the two most important. (Source: Edelman Trust Barometer, 2010.) 
  • 87% of UK consumers expect companies to consider societal interests equal to business interests, while 78% of Indian, 77% of Chinese and 80% of Brazilian consumers prefer brands that support good causes. (Source: Edelman, November 2010.)
"The link with R.A.K.? Members of GENERATION G are also left cold by old-school business priorities and formalities. With sharing, creating, discussing and collaborating for many becoming a way of life (both on and offline), people want and expect interactions to be genuine and enjoyable. And yes, that includes interactions with brands.

"Meaning R.A.K. (reaches) out to those consumers craving ‘human’ brands who show not generosity, but acts of compassion, humanity, or even just some personality."
Two other important factors: More people are publicly and knowingly disclosing more personal information than ever before: about their daily lives, their moods or their whereabouts.  As this information multiplies, brands now have unparalleled opportunities to actually know what's happening in consumers' lives (the good and the bad.)

And, with the connected nature of our lives, the recipients of R.A.K will share their experiences with ever-wider audiences.

Most difficult for health care brands is the required shift in attitudes - from big, remote and stodgy to 'kind.'  So many of our beliefs are frozen in time, a time when health care was kind by definition and revered by tradition.  We're wrong on both counts and our customers know it.  Time for a whack on the head.  Kindly, of course.

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